2017 Oscar Predictions: BEST ACTRESS (October)
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For the first time this season, Viola Davis (Fences) has been knocked off her perch. Just last month she was sitting at the top (where she’s been since this year’s predictions began) with a perfect score of 50. Then came Emma Stone in La La Land to incredible reviews and a Best Actress win at Venice and Natalie Portman in Jackie (which won the screenplay award at Venice), which quickly got picked up by Fox Searchlight and given a swift early December release date (in direct competition with La La Land, actually). That was more than enough to severely damage Davis’s lead so far this season and adding to that was the persistent rumor that she might be pushed supporting by Paramount.
Outside of the top 3, Best Actress is incredibly open. No one else even scores points in the double digits and we’re in October. Normally at this time, the Gold Rush Gang is pretty locked in its Best Actress predictions and do pretty well for it. But this year we have not a dearth of choices but an overflow (that’s a good thing) in the race. Any pair of the next five names (and even one or two from the Other Contenders list) can make it in. Right now we have Amy Adams (Arrival) with Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins) and Ruth Negga (Loving) tied for 5th. Right behind them is Annette Bening in 20th Century Women and these four are only separated by two points so anything can happen. Isabelle Huppert (Elle) is most definitely in the mix and with Sony Pictures Classics behind her (they secured wins for Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine and Julianne Moore in Still Alice) and the never-nominated Huppert campaigning like crazy. If neither she nor Negga don’t make it in we’ll have a rarity – a Best Actress category with no newcomer or first-time nominee.
There’s a lot of buzz around Hidden Figures and that 20-minute sneak peek at TIFF last month (I’m seeing the same one next week) that could push Taraji P. Henson, a previous nominee, into the top five. Another previous nominee, Jessica Chastain, could find that her gun control dramatic thriller Miss Sloane is the hot-button issue of the moment and land a spot. I’m hearing news from fellow Oscar pundits that Amy Adams will be going Lead for Nocturnal Animals and not pushed to supporting as some thought. That presents a dual problem; Adams already has an Oscar vehicle with Arrival and this could pull votes. The other is that NA’s distributor Focus Features also has Loving, Ruth Negga path to a nomination. Logic would seem that FF would prioritize Negga over Adams here but it could still prove difficult. Speaking of conflicting priorities, what’s Paramount supposed to do with no less than three major contenders? Adams, Davis and Streep – can they all make it in? So, who is the most vulnerable, three-time winner and 19-time nominee Meryl Streep or five-time nominee and zero-time winner Amy Adams? Choices.
It’s impossible to talk about this year’s Best Actress race without acknowledging that previous winner Natalie Portman is in a superb position for a major upset and second win with Jackie. There have been 13 double Best Actress winners in Oscar history and most recently those second wins tend to favor being paired with the Best Picture winner. Meryl Streep is an exception but then, she’s her own rule most of the time. The response to Portman’s performance as First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy in the immediate days after the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy, is leaving an indelible mark on its viewers. The time period could speak to the majority of Academy voters over the lightness of La La Land or the possible stagey/over-theatrical Fences.
Here are the 2017 Oscar predictions for Best Actress from The Gold Rush Gang for October:
Amy Adams – Nocturnal Animals
Jessica Chastain – Miss Sloane
Marion Cotillard – Allied
Rebecca Hall – Christine
Taraji P. Henson – Hidden Figures
Jennifer Lawrence – Passengers
Rachel Weisz – Denial
Follow the updated Gold Rush Gang predictions in these Oscar categories here:
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
BEST FILM EDITING
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
BEST SOUND EDITING
BEST SOUND MIXING
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM (the shortlist)