Mon. Oct 26th, 2020

2020 Oscar Nomination Predictions: BEST ACTRESS (August)

Can Renée Zellweger do what Judy Garland couldn’t and win Best Actress?
(Photo: David Hindley / Courtesy of LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions)

Things are starting to pick up in Best Actress but I’m still not budging on Cynthia Erivo completing her EGOT with Focus Features’ Harriet. The film will world premiere at TIFF (it’s only major festival) in what feels like a very strategic launch in a post-Green Book era. Even if the film earns only modest reviews it’s going to be difficult to see someone displace her. Best Actress winners aren’t as closely tied to Best Picture winners (there have only been two in the last 20 years and the last one was in 2006) but being in a Best Picture nominee is helpful. Cases where winners came from non-BP nominees were in massive box office hits, undeniable critics’ picks or a career win – or a combination of those.

Scarlett Johansson (Netflix’s Marriage Story) and Awkwafina (A24’s The Farewell) get a boost this month, each moving up one.

Falling this month are Saoirse Ronan, even on the heels of the first trailer for Sony/Columbia’s Little Women dropped just this week. She’s still a formidable contender and if Greta Gerwig’s film is a major player across the board, the 25-year old 3-time Oscar nominee could be positioned very well. I’ve dropped Meryl Streep (Netflix’s The Laundromat) in favor of believing she will be pushed in supporting instead. It seems there is conflicting ‘confirmations’ as to where she’ll end up but the prevailing truth is always to never count her out, no matter where.

Also dropping are Oscar nominee Felicity Jones in Amazon’s The Aeronauts, although I hear her performance is excellent and the clear standout. Making a Telluride debut and showing up at TIFF will keep her in the conversation and high on the chart, yet I can’t find a place in the top 5 for her this month. Jodie Turner-Smith (Universal’s Queen & Slim) is someone I go back and forth on. A total newcomer, which can be Academy bait, but its Bonnie & Clyde crime thriller storyline makes it a tough sell when last year, Widows, a film packed with Oscar winners and nominees in front of and behind the camera, ended up going nowhere. Queen & Slim has also not been announced for any festivals so it won’t have much time to build any substantial buzz.

This means that Renée Zellweger, who lands in the top 5 this month playing Judy Garland in Roadside Attractions’ Judy, is primed for a major Oscar and career comeback. After staying out of the limelight for years, the publicly shy Oscar winner is ready to return in a film that’s getting a strong festival push (Telluride, TIFF) and could make it all the way to the Dolby in February, pulling off a huge upset and doing something Judy Garland could never do in her career, win a Best Actress Oscar.

I’ve created a new section called Watch Out For especially for performances and actors/actresses that could very well spoil anyone in the top 10. It holds moves up from Other Contenders and moves down from the top five and Next Up.

Here are my 2020 Oscar Nomination Predictions in Best Actress for August 15, 2019.

Green – moves up Red – moves down Blue – new/re-entry

1. Cynthia Erivo – Harriet (Focus Features)
2. Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story (Netflix)
3. Awkwafina – The Farewell (A24)
4. Saoirse Ronan – Little Women (Sony)
5. Renée Zellweger – Judy (Roadside Attractions)

NEXT UP (alphabetical by actor)

Felicity Jones – The Aeronauts (Amazon)
Lupita Nyong’o – Us (Universal)
Natalie Portman – Lucy in the Sky (Fox Searchlight)
Kristen Stewart – Seberg (Amazon)
Meryl Streep – The Laundromat (Netflix)

WATCH OUT FOR (alphabetical by actor)

Juliette Binoche – The Truth (IFC Films)
Jessie Buckley – Wild Rose (Neon)
Charlize Theron – Untitled Roger Ailes film aka Fair and Balanced (Lionsgate)
Jodie Turner-Smith – Queen & Slim (Universal)
Alfre Woodard – Clemency (Neon)

OTHER CONTENDERS (alphabetical by actor)

Cate Blanchett – Where’d You Go Bernadette (Annapurna)
Catherine Deneuve – The Truth (IFC Films)
Anne Hathaway – The Last Thing He Wanted (Netflix)
Allison Janney – Bad Education (TBD)
Brie Larson – Just Mercy (Warner Bros)
Lesley Manville – Normal People (Bleecker Street)
Helen Mirren – The Good Liar (Warner Bros)
Julianne Moore – Gloria Bell (A24)
Rosamund Pike – Radioactive (Amazon)
Naomi Watts – Luce (Neon)
Shailene Woodley – Endings, Beginnings (TBD)


Juliette Binoche – The Truth (IFC Films)
Catherine Deneuve – The Truth (IFC Films)
Allison Janney – Bad Education (TBD)
Scarlett Johansson – Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight)
Brie Larson – Just Mercy (Warner Bros)
Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie – Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight)
Meryl Streep – The Laundromat (Netflix)

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