Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Oscar Predictions: Best Actress in a Leading Role

This year, Oscar nominations will be announced on Tuesday, January 24th. I’ll be offering detailed predictions in most of the major categories, saving some of the biggest categories for last.

Last year’s nominees: Cate Blanchett, Brie Larson, Jennifer Lawrence, Charlotte Rampling, Saoirse Ronan

This year’s locks: Natalie Portman, Emma Stone

Very likely: Amy Adams

Possible: Isabelle Huppert, Annette Bening, Meryl Streep, Ruth Negga, Emily Blunt

Unlikely: Taraji P. Henson, Jessica Chastain

The rundown: In the past few years, there have been contenders that weren’t nominated up until Oscar time and then took the places of other actresses who were up for both Globes and SAGs. This year, it’s enormously competitive, with at least six and maybe even eight actresses vying for just five slots. Natalie Portman (Jackie) and Emma Stone (La La Land) are the only real sure things, though Amy Adams (Arrival) is looking pretty good too even if I didn’t expect her to do as well at first. Isabelle Huppert (Elle) gets a big boost from her Golden Globe win, not that it affects how people voted but it shows how beloved she is, and she could easily follow in the footsteps of Charlotte Rampling and Emmanuelle Riva to earn a nomination. Annette Bening (20th Century Women) missed out with SAG but is so revered that I think she’ll make the cut, but she’ll have to knock out probably the most beloved actress working right now, Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins), which is no easy feat. A while ago, Ruth Negga (Loving) was a solid bet for a nomination, but now I’m not so sure about her chances given the stiff competition. Emily Blunt (The Girl on the Train) showed up really late to the awards race with a SAG nomination, and I don’t think that’s enough to get her onto the Oscar list. I’ll admit that I haven’t seen the performance yet, and I also missed Jessica Chastain (Miss Sloane), though she and her film have also barely shown up this awards season. Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures) might ride a wave of enthusiasm for her film to a nomination, but I don’t think there’s space for her.

One possible crazy scenario: She would totally deserve it, but no one seems to be talking about Sasha Lane (American Honey) anymore. If only.

Forecasted winner: After she lost the Golden Globe, it’s hard to know, but I suspect Natalie Portman will still prevail.

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