This is the category you want, that you really really want.
The Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild and Critics’ Choice have spoken and there are some clear leaders (mostly what we knew) but still room for a spoiler (or two) and definitely a major snub (or two!).
The Globes, with separate categories for Drama and Comedy went for: Close, Gaga, Kidman, McCarthy and Pike for Drama with Blunt, Colman, Fisher, Theron and Wu in Comedy. SAG, with just five, went for Blunt, Close, Colman, Gaga and McCarthy. The Critics’ Choice, ever continuing to stretch their credibility, had seven nominees: Aparicio, Blunt, Close, Collette, Colman, Gaga and McCarthy.
That gives us Blunt, Close, Colman, Gaga and McCarthy getting all three. BAFTA nominations come out January 9th and you can bet that Blunt, Close, Colman and Gaga are in there.
This makes the final five even tighter and closer. I think it’s fair to say that Close, Colman and Gaga are in – they’re not going anywhere (or are they…). McCarthy is in outstanding shape in 4th. So who is #5?
This is where spoilers and snubs come in. Toni Collette (Hereditary) is currently the critics’ leader but, at least for me, has never been a top 5 contender. I think her performance is a master class and that she’s wholly deserving but I fear genre bias will turn too many voters away. Yalitza Aparicio only has Critics’ Choice but if you think ROMA is winning Best Picture it makes sense for her to be in. It’s Emily Blunt that’s the big question for me. Yes, she got two individual SAG noms last week (for Mary Poppins Returns in lead and A Quiet Place in supporting) but SAG also loves her. Remember that nomination for The Girl in the Train? The initial box office of Mary Poppins Returns revealed far less enthusiasm than I was expecting for the film but, opening mid-week when today is the last day of school for most US kids may be the reason. It’s even weaker Metacritic score (65) doesn’t help.
Viola Davis drops all the way out of the top and into the Other Contenders list. With Widows being a non-factor in both box office and with critics’ awards overall, her chances have all but disappeared.
On the other side, newcomer Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade) enters the list with a Golden Globe nomination in tow and being the overwhelming favorite with critics for her debut.
Nearly every season finds a performer, very often a Best Actress contender, that hits all the precursors and then misses out on an Oscar nomination. Emma Thompson, Tilda Swinton, Amy Adams all have failed to close the deal. For Adams it was especially shocking as her film, Arrival, was a Best Picture and Director nominee and an eventual winner (in Sound Editing).
The point is, almost no one is really safe. Even when you think they are.
Here are my 2019 Oscar predictions in Best Actress for December 21, 2018.
Green – moves up; Red – moves down; Blue – chart debut/return
1. Glenn Close – The Wife (BFCA, GG, SAG, Spirit)
2. Lady Gaga – A Star Is Born (BFCA, GG, SAG)
3. Olivia Colman – The Favourite (BFCA, GG, SAG)
4. Melissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me? (BFCA, GG, SAG)
5. Yalitza Aparicio – ROMA (BFCA)
6. Emily Blunt – Mary Poppins Returns (BFCA, GG, SAG)
7. Nicole Kidman – Destroyer (GG)
8. Toni Collette – Hereditary (BFCA, Spirit)
9. Elsie Fisher – Eighth Grade (GG, Spirit)
10. Saoirse Ronan – Mary Queen of Scots
Viola Davis – Widows
Regina Hall – Support the Girls (Spirit)
Felicity Jones – On the Basis of Sex
Joanna Kulig – Cold War
KiKi Layne – If Beale Street Could Talk
Rosamund Pike – A Private War (GG)