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2018 Oscar Predictions: BEST ACTRESS (April)

Meryl Streep is tops; Judi Dench, Kate Winslet, Frances McDormand, Jennifer Lawrence and Daniela Vega are in the mix
Meryl Streep is tops; Judi Dench, Kate Winslet, Frances McDormand, Jennifer Lawrence and Daniela Vega are in the mix

After a stellar lineup of Best Actress contenders last year that left us with some shocking snubs like Amy Adams and some great performances that just didn’t click in time (like Annette Bening), 2017 is shaping up to be another very competitive year.

But, leave it to Meryl Streep to kick the door down and take her place at the top of the heap at the beginning of the season. Just a month ago, in my first collection of potential contenders, Streep wasn’t on it because The Post didn’t even exist yet. But, Spielberg dropped The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara to fast-track his Pentagon Papers drama with Streep and Tom Hanks and here we are, with Streep at 99 points. Only Jason Osiason is holding off from the 20-time Oscar nominee and three-time winner from a perfect score this month.

Before Streep, Judi Dench probably could have enjoyed a comfortable ride for part of the season with her Focus Features film Victoria and Abdul, playing yet another English queen. The reclusive Oscar-winning actress, who’s also going blind, even began campaigning for her film at CinemCon, joining them via satellite to introduce the trailer for her film.

As I mentioned in last month’s piece on Best Actress, the top tier contenders are all coming from a pool of previous winners and nominees. In fact, the top 5 this month are all previous winners, four of them in Best Actress. Kate Winslet (Wonder Wheel) and Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) make a huge splash, landing at #3 and #5, respectively. Wonder Wheel, Woody Allen’s second feature film for Amazon Studios, is set for a September release and McDormand’s film, from writer/director Martin McDonaugh, doesn’t have a release date yet but the red-band trailer really knocked us out.

We got a tiny tease of mother! at CinemaCon. No footage, just ‘chatter’ that the Friday the 13th pre-Halloween release is definitely in the horror-thriller genre, possibly even in the vein of The Exorcist. One of its stars, Michelle Pfeiffer, called it “esoteric.” Make of that what you will but it puts Jennifer Lawrence at #4.

LISTEN: Oscar Podcast #53 – CinemaCon Buzz; the Oscars in a post-Moonlight world

There’s a pretty big point gap between #5 and #6, Helen Mirren (The Leisure Seeker) and a tight bunching between her, Jessica Chastain (Molly’s Game) at #7, Isabelle Huppert (Happy End) at #8 and Halle Berry (Kings) at #9. Any number of these women could break into that top five because as of this writing, not a single film from that top 9 has even been seen in its entirety. The Post hasn’t even begun filming yet. After all, it is only April.

What that really means is that despite the top give gobbling the majority of top 5 votes, virtually any actress on this list, including the Other Contenders section, could find a path. Julianne Moore in Suburbicon, Annette Bening in Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool or Charlize Theron in Tully are all contenders we’re keeping an eye on.

What’s especially interesting, or odd really, is the dearth in newcomers or potential first-time nominees. As we saw just this year with Amy Adams’ shocking snub that made way for Ruth Negga (Loving) to be one of the category’s two first-time nominees, it’s always smart to find who a studio, the critics, and the Academy will seek out to rise in the ranks.  Of the 48 choices here only seven are never-nominated actresses. Of those seven three have votes from the Gold Rush Gang; Daniela Vega (A Fantastic Woman) at #10, Millicent Simmonds (Wonderstruck) at #14 and Eva Green (Based on a True Story) at #16. Two of those, Vega and Green, both come from Sony Pictures Classics (which also has Huppert and Mirren), making it an uphill battle for a nomination. SPC is very good at the Best Actress game but only when they have one performance to throw everything behind.

Margot Robbie in I, Tonya still feels like the best bet for a first-time nomination…if the film is released this year. Principal photography wrapped last month so it’s possible that it comes out this year. It just depends on if Miramax wants to try for a festival run first or just drop it at the end of the year. It would be interesting to give the figure skating drama a qualifying release in December and then hold it for a January-February rollout timed with the Winter Olympics.

Here are the 2018 Oscar predictions for Best Actress for April from the Gold Rush Gang.

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 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 99
2 Judi Dench – Victoria and Abdul 2 4 2 2 5 2 3 2 2 2 84
3 Kate Winslet – Wonder Wheel 6 5 3 5 1 3 2 5 3 3 74
4 Jennifer Lawrence – mother! 7 2 5 3 3 10 4 3 4 4 65
5 Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 9 3 8 7 4 9 5 4 5 5 51
6 Helen Mirren – The Leisure Seeker 4 10 8 8 6 8 7 8 29
7 Jessica Chastain – Molly’s Game 7 9 8 7 6 6 6 28
8 Isabelle Huppert – Happy End 6 6 4 5 9 25
9 Halle Berry – Kings 5 7 6 10 7 7 24
10 Daniela Vega – A Fantastic Woman 3 9 9 6 10 9 10 21
11 Rooney Mara – Mary Magdalene 7 6 7 8 8 19
12 Julianne Moore – Suburbicon 4 4 7 18
13 Rachel Weisz – Disobedience 10 8 10 9 9 10 9 10 13
14 Millicent Simmonds – Wonderstruck 6 5
15 Emma Stone – Battle of the Sexes 8 3
16 Eva Green – Based on a True Story 10 1
OTHER CONTENDERS
Alicia Vikander – Submergence
Annette Bening – Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
Annette Bening – The Seagull
Brie Larson – The Glass Castle
Charlize Theron – Tully
Claire Foy – Breathe
Diane Keaton – Hampstead
Emma Thompson – The Children Act
Eva Green – Euphoria
Glenn Close – The Wife
Helena Bonham Carter – 55 Steps
Jennifer Lawrence – Red Sparrow
Jessica Chastain – The Zookeeper’s Wife
Jessica Chastain – Woman Walks Ahead
Julia Roberts – Wonder
Julianne Moore – Wonderstruck
Kate Beckinsale – The Only Living Boy in New York
Kate Winslet – The Mountain Between Us
Keira Knightley – The Aftermath
Kirsten Dunst – Woodshock
Lily Collins – To the Bone
Margot Robbie – I, Tonya (possibly 2018)
Melissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Michelle Pfeiffer – Where is Kyra?
Nicole Kidman – The Beguiled
Nicole Kidman – The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Rachel Weisz – My Cousin Rachel
Reese Witherspoon – Home Again
Sally Hawkins – Maudie
Sally Hawkins – The Shape of Water
Salma Hayek – Beatriz at Diner
Saoirse Ronan – On Chesil Beach

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 (Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association), the International Press Academy and is the founder/editor of AwardsWatch.

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