Sat. Dec 14th, 2019

2017 Oscar Predictions: BEST ACTRESS (November)

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Natalie Portman (Jackie) and Emma Stone (La La Land) are in a dead heat, fighting out what could be the toughest Best Actress battle in a long time. With the news that Viola Davis (Fences) would indeed go supporting this really leaves only these two young actresses competing for the crown. Portman, already a Best Actress winner for Black Swan in 2010 has received ‘best of career’ reviews for her turn as First Lady Jacqueline Onassis and deservedly so, she’s beyond brilliant in it and it’s as baity a role that a Best Actress winner could hope for. But Emma Stone is an actress with an Oscar trajectory that feels like a coronation – announcing the Oscar nominees, becoming a Supporting Actress Oscar nominee in the eventual Best Picture winner and now a full-fledged lead in this year’s Best Picture frontrunner. That’s going to be an extraordinarily difficult match-up and one that the Golden Globes won’t help us with as the two actresses will be competing in different categories. The Screen Actors Guild will give us more insight in January but until then it’s quite possible that Portman could grab a healthy collection of critics’ awards along the way over Stone. Unlike in Best Actor, only two of the last seven winners here played real-life people so that is much less a factor in this category.

LISTEN – Oscar Podcast #43: Best Actress, Pundit Advocacy and ‘Oscar Bait’ with special guest Kyle Buchanan

The loss of Davis in this category benefitted Annette Bening (20th Century Women) and Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins) the most from last month but Isabelle Huppert (Elle) is gaining some traction. Of the top 7, only Huppert and Ruth Negga (Loving) would be first-time nominees. The Academy loves ingenues and newcomers in this category, which would seem to benefit Negga the most over Huppert and that doesn’t even begin to take into account the difference in their roles and which is seemingly more Academy-friendly (it’s Negga, obviously). Amy Adams (Arrival) gained just a single point with Davis’s exit but actually drops to #5. It would be very strange (and look even worse) if Paramount dropped Davis so as to not try and keep three Best Actress contenders afloat only to have neither Streep or Adams get in.

LISTEN – Oscar Podcast #44: Viola Davis, Moonlight, Billy Lynn and Oscar Predictions with special guest Joey Nolfi

From the Other Contenders list it would appear that Jessica Chastain (Miss Sloane) is the only person who might be able to break into this group. But, all are previous nominees or winners too. For what it’s worth, AwardsWatch’s Gold Rush Gang (and the forums) are pretty good at this category and just last year at the same time we had the Oscar top 5 predicted and locked already. This is a tougher year as there is such a wealth of great Best Actress roles and performances but don’t be too surprised if this top 5 is Oscar’s top 5 as well.

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OTHER CONTENDERS
Amy Adams – Nocturnal Animals
Jessica Chastain – Miss Sloane
Marion Cotillard – Allied
Taraji P. Henson – Hidden Figures
Jennifer Lawrence – Passengers

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 ORIGINAL SCORE
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
BEST SOUND EDITING
BEST SOUND MIXING
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM (the shortlist)

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