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Viola Davis (Fences) continues to reign with a perfect score of 50 from the Gold Rush Gang once again this month. This, despite completely unsubstantiated ‘rumors’ that Paramount might be pushing her in supporting. It’s. Not. Going. To. Happen. Davis won the Tony for this role in Lead, not Supporting like her predecessor. She has been very outspoken that her role in the film has been greatly expanded (“With the movie “Fences,” now I’m No. 2 on the call sheet, next to Washington. I’m there every day. I’m in every scene. I’m battling it out, I have a huge arc, and now all of a sudden, I feel alive in a way that I didn’t before,” she recently said in an interview with IndieWire). A supporting push for Davis in favor of Amy Adams or Meryl Streep (Paramount’s other two Best Actress possibilities) would be a slap in the face and a PR nightmare. If I’m wrong I will eat crow with relish, but until them let’s put that to rest.
Emma Stone in La La Land has emerged a huge contender after her reviews from Venice and Telluride were overflowing with affection and praise. She rises from 4th to 2nd this month and becomes a very solid runner-up to Davis at this point.
Ruth Negga (Loving) maintains top 3 placement and if she holds onto it (and she should) she’ll likely be the category’s sole first-time nominee. That is, of course, unless French cinema legend Isabelle Huppert (Elle) lands the first Oscar nomination of her illustrious career. Sony Pictures Classics is planning a full-court press Oscar campaign for the actress and with Julianne Moore (Still Alice) and Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) as recent winners from the studio, they know how to run this race. Although, with material this volatile, it will be difficult.
Annette Bening is still very much in it as 20th Century Women‘s presence in this year’s New York Film Festival as the Centerpiece film will be a good kick-off for her.
As mentioned above, Paramount has two other Best Actress hopefuls this season: Amy Adams in Arrival and Meryl Streep in Florence Foster Jenkins. 5-time Oscar nominee Adams received very good reviews for Arrival at both the Venice and Telluride film festivals but some pundits believe the film, and Adams, aren’t really “Oscar” players. Adams main obstacle this season may actually be herself; she also stars in Nocturnal Animals and Focus Features (which also has Loving) may want to campaign her in supporting to not compete with Negga. Streep, a 19-time nominee and three-time winner, got raves for FFJ, which was released last month. The box office has been ok, if not great and Streep is campaigning so she’s never, ever to be counted out.
Perusing the Other Contenders, there are possibilities that could break into this group. Emily Blunt in The Girl on the Train could grab her first nomination. Taraji P. Henson, a previous Oscar nominee, could be back with Hidden Figures. Jessica Chastain in the gun-control drama Miss Sloane could show up if FilmNation and EuropaCorp can mount a campaign for her.
Two films currently without distribution could find themselves in the race if someone scoops them up: Jackie, starring Best Actress Oscar winner Natalie Portman (Black Swan) and Maudie, starring Oscar-nominee Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine). Hawkins received glowing reviews from Telluride and Telluride audiences received a tiny glimpse of Jackie ahead of director Pablo Larraín’s Neruda played. Right now, Fox Searchlight is the only studio without a Best Actress contender so it’s possible they’ll pick one of these up. Whether it gets a 2016 release or not is a different story.
Here are the September Oscar predictions for Best Actress from The Gold Rush Gang:
Amy Adams – Nocturnal Animals
Emily Blunt – The Girl on the Train
Jessica Chastain – Miss Sloane
Jennifer Connolly – American Pastoral
Marion Cotillard – Allied
Rebecca Hall – Christine
Sally Hawkins – Maudie
Taraji P. Henson – Hidden Figures
Jennifer Lawrence – Passengers
Rooney Mara – Lion
Rooney Mara – Una
Helen Mirren – Eye in the Sky
Cynthia Nixon – A Quiet Passion
Rosamund Pike – A United Kingdom
Natalie Portman – Jackie
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 SOUND EDITING
BEST SOUND MIXING
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE