Monday, April 5, 2021

Oscar Winner Predictions: Best Actress in a Leading Role

The competition: Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday), Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman), Frances McDormand (Nomadland), Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman)

Previous winners: Renee Zellweger, Olivia Colman, Frances McDormand, Emma Stone, Brie Larson, Julianne Moore, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence
My winner: Coming soon!
The facts: McDormand has won this award twice, in 2017 for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and in 1996 for “Fargo.” She has three additional previous nominations, all in the supporting category, for “North Country,” “Almost Famous,” and “Mississippi Burning.” She is also nominated as a producer on her film this year. Davis won an Oscar in 2016 for “Fences” and was nominated before that for “The Help” and “Doubt.” Mulligan has contended once before, for “An Education” in 2009. This is the first nomination for both Day and Kirby. Only McDormand and Mulligan’s films are nominated for Best Picture.

This may well be the most interesting and unpredictable category of the year. Day won the Golden Globe, beating the other four nominees, but wasn’t even nominated by SAG. Mulligan won the Critics Choice prize, and Davis triumphed at SAG. Only McDormand and Kirby are nominated at BAFTA, which hands out its awards this weekend. I can’t find another historical instance of such discord between groups. When Sharon Stone and Isabelle Huppert won Globes and then weren’t nominated by SAG, they ended up losing the Oscar. This category is anyone’s guess!

Who should win: Mulligan
Who will win: I would be genuinely shocked if it was Kirby given the lack of other support for her film, but any of the other four could easily win. Though I’d love to see Mulligan, I think Day is going to win this.

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