It’s only May but we already have a fierce battle in Best Actress. Is anyone surprised? Very recent previous Oscar winners Cate Blanchett in Carol and Jennifer Lawrence in Joy are neck and neck at the moment but as of right now only Carol has been seen, Joy just wrapped principal photography a week ago and all we’ve seen are blurry set pics. It speaks to the strength of both director David O. Russell and of Lawrence herself that the buzz and predictions are this high for the film and her performance. It would seem that Blanchett has the advantage since her film will be premiering at Cannes and get a head start on reviews and visibility. Joy doesn’t open until Christmas. But then, if Carol and Blanchett’s reviews are anything less than stellar that opens the door.
But does that door automatically open for Lawrence? What of Carey Mulligan? With Focus Features picking up her women’s right to vote film Suffragette, it puts her clearly in contention with a very timely subject matter. Focus Features has had an excellent Oscar score the last couple of years with the studio netting Best Actor in 2014 (Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club) and 2015 (Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything; a Best Actor contender again this year for The Danish Girl and again with Focus Features). You also can’t count out this year’s winner, Julianne Moore, to make an immediate Oscar comeback with her lesbian rights drama Freeheld, which is being released by Lionsgate, another strong Oscar player. There is a lot of support in the Gold Rush Gang for Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn, coming from Fox Searchlight. Then there’s the case of Alicia Vikander. As Eddie Redmayne’s co-star in The Danish Girl, it’s still unclear if she’s going to be pushed in lead or supporting. Focus Features already had their lead actress in Mulligan and might decide to get Vikander into supporting but then they also have Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep in Suffragette to think about. Speaking of Meryl Streep, you can never, ever count her out for a nomination. As The Film Experience‘s Nathaniel Rogers warned on the most recent Awardswatch Oscar podcast, do so at your own peril.
For an expanded Best Actress chart, click here. For other predictions, click below.