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2019 Oscar Predictions: BEST ACTRESS (August)

Glenn Close in The Wife (Sony Classics) has her eyes locked on Oscar victory (photo credit: Roberto Filipe Terra @robertofilipeterra)

Glenn is ready for her Close-up

It’s time, isn’t it? Glenn Close has been nominated for SIX Academy Awards. She stands alone as the most-nominated living actor, male or female, to have never won. I hesitated in Spring and early Summer but no more. She’s ready, and she’s coming. Sony Classics picked up The Wife at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival and instead of mounting a campaign then (like they did with Julianne Moore in 2014) they decided to hold on to it. I think that was a shrewd idea as last year was a bit of a mess for them. This year, Close can be their sole focus and they’ve already pulled out all the stops for her with appearances, tributes and glowing write-ups. Her reviews are through the roof, with some even comparing her performance to no less than Liv Ullman, Greta Garbo and Maria Falconetti. I personally think she’s Oscar-worthy for this performance. The conundrum though is this: the very thing that makes her the frontrunner is the thing that might hold her back. With an August release she’ll be first out of the gate, ahead of her fall and winter competitors. But that means she has to sustain that status for a long, long time. She’ll need critical backing. She’ll need to run the guild and industry awards (like Moore did). She can do it.

Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Fox Searchlight)

Next up are two actresses who will give Close a run for her money. Melissa McCarthy has her Can You Ever Forgive Me? and Nicole Kidman in Annapurna’s Destroyer are both set for the Toronto International Film Festival after world premiering (presumably, based on TIFF premiere status) at Telluride. I had Kidman at #2 last month but McCarthy leapfrogs to that spot this month. Destroyer has an unverified Christmas Day release, which gives me a bit of pause. CYEFM lands in mid-October. The one thing about McCarthy that could get in her way comes not from Kidman or Close but from her own studio, Fox Searchlight. (And maybe that dirty puppet movie…)

As I wrote last month and in this month’s Supporting Actress, the category placement of the women of The Favourite is still very much up in the air. A number of pundits feel Olivia Colman will be pushed lead. Some feel it will be Rachel Weisz. Test screening reports are solidly in the camp of Emma Stone being lead. In other words, no one knows anything yet. Fox Searchlight is not going to establish category placements until the film is seen and evaluated by the press and that means the Venice Film Festival, where it will world premiere. One thing I can be pretty positive about is that they won’t push two of them in lead. Still, this lack of clarity makes Best Actress predictions difficult (and inevitably inaccurate) at this stage but I’m going to lean Stone at the moment (yes, I know I have her at #3 there) but keeping Colman at #10 just in case. Weisz, who was just at the #1 spot takes a precipitous fall all the way down to the Next Up section as a result. Expect September’s predictions to be vastly different.

KiKi Layne in If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna)

I’m back on the KiKi Layne train this month after the trailer debut for If Beale Street Could Talk and its world premiere announcement for Toronto. She’s already getting magazine spots and if Annapurna plays it right they could find two of their actresses in the top 5. 

A big question is what to with Saoirse Ronan in Mary Queen of Scots. No festival announcements so far, a bit of a surprise. It could still obviously show up at Telluride but as its only festival? I’ve already dropped Margot Robbie down (in supporting actress) so Ronan falls too. 

Ronan’s tumble is Lady Gaga’s gain. The Grammy-winning and Oscar-nominated songstress finds herself back in the top 5 this month with A Star Is Born. World premiering at Venice plus a splashy gala at Toronto on top of the already good word of mouth could find her with her first acting nomination and each day that possibility looks more likely. 

Debuts this month include Yalitza Aparicio in ROMA and Andie MacDowell in Love After Love.

Here are my 2019 Oscar Predictions in Best Actress for August 15, 2018.

Green – moves up; Red – moves down; Blue – chart debut

1. Glenn Close – The Wife (Sony Pictures Classics)
2. Melissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Fox Searchlight)
3. Nicole Kidman – Destroyer (Annapurna)
4. Viola Davis – Widows (20th Century Fox)
5. Lady Gaga – A Star Is Born (Warner Bros)

6. Emma Stone – The Favourite (Fox Searchlight)
7. Saoirse Ronan – Mary Queen of Scots (Focus Features)
8. Felicity Jones – On the Basis of Sex (Focus Features)
9. KiKi Layne – If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna)
10. Olivia Colman – The Favourite (Fox Searchlight)

NEXT UP

Yalitza Aparicio – ROMA (Netflix)
Emily Blunt – Mary Poppins Returns (Walt Disney)
Toni Collette – Hereditary (A24)
Gugu Mbatha-Raw – Fast Color
Rachel Weisz – The Favourite (Fox Searchlight)
Renée Zellweger – Judy (LD Entertainment)

OTHER CONTENDERS

Amy Adams – Backseat (Annapurna)
Gemma Atherton – Vita & Virginia
Sandra Bullock – Bird Box (Netflix)
Jessica Chastain – Woman Walks Ahead (A24)
Penélope Cruz – Everybody Knows (Focus Features)
Elizabeth Debicki – Vita & Virginia
Judi Dench – Red Joan
Elsie Fisher – Eighth Grade (A24)
Aisling Franciosi – The Nightingale
Salma Hayek – The Hummingbird Project
Taraji P. Henson – The Best of Enemies (STX Films)
Isabelle Huppert – The Widow
Poorna Jagannathan – Untitled Pippa Bianco aka Share (A24)
Dakota Johnson – Suspiria (Amazon)
Keira Knightley – Colette (Bleecker Street)
Andie MacDowell – Love After Love (IFC Films)
Julianne Moore – Gloria Bell
Carey Mulligan – Wildlife (IFC Films)
Michelle Pfeiffer – Where Is Kyra? (Great Point Media)
Rosamund Pike – A Private War
Florence Pugh – Fighting with My Family (MGM)
Julia Roberts – Ben is Back (Roadside Attractions)
Gina Rodríguez – Miss Bala
Amandla Stenberg – Where Hands Touch
Kristen Stewart – JT Leroy
Hilary Swank – What They Had (Bleecker Street)
Charlize Theron – Tully (Focus Features)
Constance Wu – Crazy Rich Asians (Warner Bros)

2019 Oscar Predictions: BEST ACTOR (August)

2019 Oscar Predictions: ADAPTED and ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY (August)

2019 Oscar Predictions: SUPPORTING ACTRESS (August)

2019 Oscar Predictions: SUPPORTING ACTOR (August)

About Erik Anderson

Erik thanks his mother for his love of all things Oscar, having watched the Academy Awards together since he was in the single digits; making lists, rankings and predictions throughout the show. This led him down the path to obsessing about awards. Much later, he found himself 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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