Viola Davis (Fences) has taken over the #1 spot from Ruth Negga (Loving) this month and it’s very likely we could see these two volley for the top spot all year long. The two actresses have either #1 or #2 placements from all Gold Rush Gang members except Bryan who has Negga at #3 (Amy Adams in Story of Your Life is his #1, Davis is his #2). With the news that Loving will be at the Cannes Film Festival it was expected that Negga would hold on but that wasn’t the case. With Fences beginning shooting next week (versus Loving, which is finished and ready) and the expectation by Paramount that it will be wrapped, edited and ready for release for awards season, the GRG is looking to Davis to very likely be the first black Best Actress winner since Halle Berry in 2002 and only the second ever. A mere nomination would put Davis in two exclusive territories; as the only woman of color to receive two Best Actress nominations and only to receive three nominations total. Her recent Emmy win gave her the distinction of being the first woman of color to win a Lead Actress trophy for a Drama Series.
Elsewhere, Adams and Annette Bening (20th Century Women) switch spots even as it’s unclear if Bening will be Lead or Supporting. Michelle Pfeiffer (Beat-up Little Seagull) makes a big jump, up from #10 to #6 this month, virtually flip-flopping with Marion Cotillard (Five Seconds of Silence). The three votes garnered by Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures) last month have moved over to Emma Stone in La La Land but I expect that Henson will show up in the top again very soon. The double mentions by Jessica Chastain (Miss Sloane and The Zookeeper’s Wife) and Rooney Mara (Una and Lion) can only last so long.
Emily Blunt (The Girl on the Train) falls just a bit and waiting in the wings in the ‘Other Contenders’ section, never count out Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins) or a possible afterglow nomination for this year’s Best Supporting Actress winner Alicia Vikander. She has two contenders, Tulip Fever and The Light Between Oceans.
Don’t count out Kristen Stewart either. Even though she often seems like a internet choice rather than a Hollywood choice, she had a banner year last season with Clouds of Sils Maria, grabbing major critics prizes from New York, Boston and the National Society of Film Critics. This year she has no less than four prestige films set for release with any one of them being an awards push for her. In Lead we’re expecting that Woody Allen’s Café Society or her Sils Maria director Olivier Assayas’s Personal Shopper will be her golden tickets. Both films are set to debut at Cannes. Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women a possibility as well.
Here are the April 2016 predictions for BEST ACTRESS. Follow the Gold Rush Gang’s predictions in this category here.