Friday, February 8, 2019

Oscar Winner Predictions: Best Actress in a Leading Role

The competition: Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Glenn Close (The Wife), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Lady Gaga (A Star is Born), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

Previous winners: Frances McDormand, Emma Stone, Brie Larson, Julianne Moore, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep
My winner: Announcing shortly after the Oscars!
The facts: Aparicio joins a small list of actresses who have received an Oscar nomination for their debut film performances. Only the likes of Barbra Streisand and Julie Andrews managed to win. She is also contending for a foreign-language performance, which last led to victory for Marion Cotillard in “La Vie en Rose” in 2007. Close has six previous nominations, five in the 1980s and one in 2011 for “Albert Nobbs.” Gaga was nominated for writing a song for “The Hunting Ground” in 2016 and also contends for the very popular song “Shallow” from her film this year. McCarthy was nominated in 2011 for “Bridesmaids.” This is Colman’s first nomination. Unlike the Best Actor category, this award more frequently goes to actresses who aren’t stars of Best Picture nominees, like Julianne Moore in 2014 and Cate Blanchett in 2013. Close won the Globe and the SAG, and tied with Gaga for the Critics’ Choice Award. Colman won the comedy Globe.

Who should win: This is actually a very solid list, and I wouldn’t find any of them undeserving. McCarthy made an impressive transition to drama with this role, remaining funny and still believable. Aparicio was formidable in her film debut. Close was a tour de force who completely sold her character. Gaga embodied her ingénue’s wondrous worldview. Colman is my favorite, however, leaning into the hilarity of her manipulated monarch.
Who will win: McCarthy is really the only one without a shot. Colman might have been most poised for an upset before Aparicio joined the race without participating in most of the precursors. They’re the stars of the most-nominated films this year and will clearly have fans, and might have been able to benefit from a vote-split had Gaga fared better earlier this awards season. The fact remains that Close still hasn’t won an Oscar, and I think voters will reward her for an incredible career.

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