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2017 Oscar Predictions: BEST ACTRESS (July)

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Viola Davis (Fences) remains #1 in Best Actress this month, as well she should. She’s almost definitely going to win. Yes, it’s only July, blah blah. Everything is in her corner to win. She just made history last year by being the first woman of color to win the Lead Actress in a Drama Series Emmy, ever. There hasn’t been a woman of color for Best Actress at the Oscars since Halle Berry’s landmark win in 2001. Even a nomination would put Davis in the history books by being the first woman of color ever to be nominated in Best Actress twice. Coming off the huge diversity push after the #OscarsSoWhite backlash and that she won a Tony for this role and we’re looking at something unstoppable.

Ruth Negga (Loving) solidly holds onto 2nd place and her position in this race as a future first-time nominee is strong. But there are two big moves this month. First, for Annette Bening (20th Century Women). Her film was recently picked up by A24, who just successfully got Brie Larson (Room) a Best Actress win. Bening, a four-time Oscar nominee should have a strong narrative for being ‘overdue’ and that should push her to an easy nomination. She moves from 5th to 3rd on our chart, bumping up eight points. The other big move is Emma Stone in La La Land. As mentioned in the Best Picture and Best Director write-ups, when the film was announced as this year’s Venice Film Festival opener, stock in the film went way up and Stone a major beneficiary.

Those moves dropped 19-time nominee and three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins) down just a peg and Amy Adams (Arrival, formerly Story of Your Life) outside of the top five. Emily Blunt (The Girl on the Train) and Jennifer Lawrence (Passengers) find themselves in the same spots and Rachel Weisz finds a vote for her Holocaust denier film Denial.

With Jessica Chastain’s Nazi-era film The Zookeeper’s Wife moved to 2017, there is a possibility that her other film, the gun control drama Miss Sloane, could find a 2016 berth. The film is complete and just announced a test screening, which is a good sign that EuropaCorp could be making a push for release this year. With the gun control debate at the center of this year’s election race it would be a very smart and shrewd move to help Chastain earn her third nomination.  Then there’s Taraji P. Henson in Hidden Figures. A previous Oscar nominee herself (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Henson could be a part of Oscar history if she’s nominated alongside Davis and Negga; never before have three women of color been nominated in Best Actress in the same year. Only once ever, in 1973, have two been nominated in a single year; when Diana Ross (Lady Sings the Blues) and Cicely Tyson (Sounder) were. They both lost to Liza Minnelli in Cabaret.

Here are the July predictions for Best Actress from The Gold Rush Gang:

2017 Oscar Nomination Predictions  - Actress

OTHER CONTENDERS
Amy Adams – Nocturnal Animals
Jessica Chastain – Miss Sloane
Lily Collins – Rules Don’t Apply
Marion Cotillard – Allied
Rebecca Hall – Christine
Taraji P. Henson – Hidden Figures
Isabelle Huppert – Elle
Rooney Mara – Lion
Rooney Mara – The Secret Scripture
Rooney Mara – Una
Cynthia Nixon – A Quiet Passion
Ellen Page – Tallulah
Michelle Pfeiffer – Beat-Up Little Seagull
Rosamund Pike – A United Kingdom
Natalie Portman – Jackie
Kristen Stewart – Personal Shopper
Kristen Stewart – Café Society
Alicia Vikander – The Light Between Oceans
Alicia Vikander – Tulip Fever
Naomi Watts – The Book of Henry

Follow the updated Gold Rush Gang predictions in these Oscar categories here:

BEST PICTURE
BEST DIRECTOR
BEST ACTOR
BEST ACTRESS
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
BEST FILM EDITING
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
BEST SOUND EDITING
BEST SOUND MIXING
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

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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