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2018 Oscar Predictions: BEST ACTRESS (September)

What a difference a month can make. Telluride and Venice saw the premieres of a large swath of as-of-yet unseen Best Actress contenders and the reviews are in: Sally Hawkins is a major player in a film, The Shape of Water, that has blown up everywhere. Her stock is on the rise, so much so that she replaces Oscar winner Kate Winslet (Wonder Wheel) for the #2 spot (up from #7 last month) to land right behind the queen of the Oscars herself, Meryl Streep (The Post). That’s no small feat for the one-time Supporting Actress Oscar nominee (for Blue Jasmine) and in a role of quiet and reserve. So often Best Actress is full of the traditional ‘plate-smashing’ and ‘scenery-chewing’ we’ve come to expect so a performance like this makes a mark.

Telluride saw the rise and fall of two contenders: Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird (trailer) and Annette Bening in Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (trailer). For Ronan, she rises from a #11 debut last month to top 5. The two-time Oscar nominee, in writer/actress Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, received some of the best, if not the best, reviews of the festival. She may be young but she could be in a play for a win. That means Annette Bening heads downward. To be clear, she actually rises in placement from last month (from #7 to #6) but reviews for the film and even for her performance were not as great as they could have been. Some were strong and laud her, others question her screen time (something that kept coming up with 20th Century Women last year). For me, I’m sticking with the four-time Oscar nominee for now. Sony Classics picked up the film for a reason, Bening is Hollywood royalty and they will position her as such.

Frances McDormand hit Venice with middle fingers blazing and reviews to match. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was described as a darkly funny counterpart to last year’s Manchester by the Sea and McDormand’s performance received some of the best notices of the festival.

READ: 4 Reasons Why Frances McDormand Can (and Should) Earn an Oscar nomination for THREE BILLBOARDS

Emma Stone, the current reigning Best Actress, found major raves for Battle of the Sexes. Many thought going in the film and her performance would be slight but actuals ended up being quite different. Many reviews found Stone’s performance better than her Oscar winning one and found the 1970s era true story very relevant to our current political turmoil. This could speak volumes to the Academy and an afterglow nomination would make perfect sense for Stone.

Someone that didn’t fare too well, this time from Venice, is Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence in mother! Not surprisingly, the reviews for the Darren Aronofsky horror/thriller were mixed. Some championed the film’s audacity and bravery while others think the gore and depravity will turn off too many Academy voters. Lawrence, who was already falling, goes from #6 to #9 this month.

READ: With mother!, is Jennifer Lawrence in or out of the Best Actress race?

An even bigger tumble comes from Oscar winner Judi Dench in Victoria and Abdul. Her film also premiered at Venice to middling reviews. Although Dench herself was saved from any truly bad reviews, the feeling of ‘been there, done that’ for actress playing yet another queen might spell disaster for her. But then, Focus Features is very good at this game and Dench has been able to circumvent modest reviews to earn nominations before.

Even more red near the bottom of the list coming from Sony Classics’ other Best Actress hopeful Daniela Vega (A Fantastic Woman) and Claire Foy in Breathe. Foy takes the biggest dive going from #4 last month (and the sole first-timer) down to #10. At this rate, and with this list, it seems less and less likely that the final Best Actress lineup will include a first-time nominee.

Here are the 2018 Oscar predictions for Best Actress for September from the Gold Rush Gang. Keep an eye on all of the Gold Rush Gang’s 2018 Oscar predictions updated LIVE throughout the month.

Green – moves up from last month
Red – moves down from last month
Blue – debut/new entry

BEST ACTRESS ERIK
ANDERSON
BRYAN BONAFEDE GREG HOWARD EVAN
KOST
JASON OSIASON KENNETH
POLISHCHUK
DENIZCAN SÜRÜCÜ RICHARD
ANTHONY
ŞÜKRÜ SÖĞÜT MATT DINN TOTAL
POINTS
1 Meryl Streep – The Post 2 2 1 1 3 1 3 1 1 1 94
2 Sally Hawkins – The Shape of Water 4 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 87
3 Kate Winslet – Wonder Wheel 3 4 3 3 1 3 1 4 2 2 84
4 Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 6 3 4 4 4 4 4 3 4 4 70
5 Saoirse Ronan – Lady Bird 7 5 5 5 8 5 5 7 6 6 51
6 Annette Bening – Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool 1 8 7 8 6 9 9 8 8 35
7 Emma Stone – Battle of the Sexes 9 6 8 6 9 7 8 5 9 32
8 Judi Dench – Victoria and Abdul 5 10 10 8 6 9 5 5 30
9 Jennifer Lawrence – mother! 6 7 5 10 10 7 21
10 Claire Foy – Breathe 10 9 9 9 10 7 8 7 10 20
11 Daniela Vega – A Fantastic Woman 8 6 10 6 10 9 17
12 Margot Robbie – I, Tonya (possibly 2018) 7 7 8
13 Helen Mirren – The Leisure Seeker 10 1
OTHER CONTENDERS
Carey Mulligan – Mudbound
Diane Kruger – In the Fade
Emma Thompson – The Children Act
Glenn Close – The Wife
Halle Berry – Kings
Jessica Chastain – Molly’s Game
Michelle Williams – All the Money in the World
Rachel Weisz – Disobedience
Salma Hayek – Beatriz at Dinner

About Erik Anderson

Erik blames his mother for his love of all things Oscar, having watched them together since he opened his eyes. They also watched Miss Universe religiously every year (the pageantry!) and Erik came to the conclusion that the combination of these two things ultimately led him down the path to obsessing about awards and ACTRESSING. He began at GoldDerby, led by Tom O’Neill and then migrated over to Oscarwatch (now AwardsDaily), headed up by Sasha Stone before breaking off to create AwardsWatch. He is a member of the International Cinephile Society, GALECA (The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics), the International Press Academy and is the founder/owner of AwardsWatch.

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