Tue. Oct 27th, 2020

2020 Oscar Nomination Predictions: BEST ACTRESS (May)

Cynthia Erivo as Harriet Tubman in Harriet (Focus Features)

Cynthia Erivo is coming for her EGOT and there’s going to be very little getting in her way. Yes, it’s only May, but this has been lined up and ready for months now. Sometimes you have a Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway or Daniel Day-Lewis role (and studio) that puts you in frontrunner status so early and so clearly that no one has a chance to catch up. That’s Erivo in Focus Features’ Harriet, playing Harriet Tubman for director Kasi Lemmons.

At just 25, Saoirse Ronan is a safe bet to earn her fourth Oscar nomination (her third lead) for Greta Gerwig’s Christmas release of Little Women for Sony/Columbia. The famous Louisa May Alcott novel has been made and remade several times for both feature films and television movies, the most recent feature being the 1994 version that earned Winona Ryder a Best Actress Oscar nomination.

Amy Adams could be looking at her 7th Oscar nomination (tying her with Glenn Close as Oscar’s most-nominated but never won living actor) for The Woman in the Window for 20th Century Fox (Disney). The Joe Wright-directed thriller features Adams as an agoraphobic woman living alone in New York who begins spying on her new neighbors only to witness a disturbing act of violence. An early October release date could see it show up at Venice or Toronto.

Awkwafina, after having a major breakthrough with last summer’s Crazy Rich Asians, finds herself a lead role in Lulu Wang’s Sundance hit The Farewell for A24. The film is part a somber drama on the death of a matriarch and a laugh out comedy and A24’s mid-summer release date (July 12th) is looking to counter-program the usual blockbusters.

Never ever count out Meryl Streep. In anything. Ever. As well as a very small role in Little Women, Streep stars in Steven Soderbergh’s The Laundromat for Netflix. Is she lead or supporting? It’s Meryl, it doesn’t matter. You pencil her in.

The rest of the field is a really rich set of possibilities including two-time Best Actress winner Frances McDormand in Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland for Fox Searchlight, Oscar-winner Helen Mirren in The Good Liar opposite Best Actor contender Ian McKellen for Warner Bros., and the return of Oscar-winner Renée Zellweger as none other than Judy Garland in Judy for Roadside Attractions. A September bow doesn’t bode well but, in a condensed awards season (and what seems like an easy SAG nom) maybe being seen first is actually the safer bet.

First time hopefuls include Kristen Stewart portraying Jean Seberg in Against All Enemies for Amazon and Jodie Turner-Smith in Queen & Slim for Universal opposite Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya.

Even more talent and potential comes in below that with the already-seen Academy Award winners Lupita Nyong’o in Us and Julianne Moore in Gloria Bell. Charlize Theron in the Untitled Roger Ailes film for Lionsgate, Alfre Woodard in Clemency for Neon and Natalie Portman in Lucy in the Sky for Fox Searchlight are look like possible contenders.

I’ll also keep and eye out for Isabelle Huppert in Frankie from Ira Sachs (in competition at Cannes), Juliette Binoche in The Truth from Hirokazu Kor-eda and Kate Winslet in Francis Lee’s Ammonite if it gets picked up for release this year.

1. Cynthia Erivo – Harriet (Focus Features)
2. Saoirse Ronan – Little Women (Sony/Columbia)
3. Amy Adams – The Woman in the Window (20th Century Fox)
4. Meryl Streep – The Laundromat (Netflix)
5. Awkwafina – The Farewell (A24)
NEXT UP (alphabetical)
Frances McDormand – Nomadland (Fox Searchlight)
Helen Mirren – The Good Liar (Warner Bros)
Kristen Stewart – Against All Enemies (Amazon)
Jodie Turner-Smith – Queen & Slim (Universal)
Renée Zellweger – Judy (Roadside Attractions)
OTHER CONTENDERS (alphabetical)
Juliette Binoche – The Truth (IFC Films)
Jessie Buckley – Wild Rose (Neon)
Anne Hathaway – The Last Thing He Wanted (Netflix)
Felicity Jones – The Aeronauts (Amazon)
Scarlett Johansson – Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight)
Scarlett Johansson – Untitled Noah Baumbach (Netflix)
Thomasin Harcourt Mackenzie – Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight)
Isabelle Huppert – Frankie (Sony Classics)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Downhill (Fox Searchlight)
Lesley Manville – Normal People (Bleecker Street)
Julianne Moore – Gloria Bell (A24)
Julianne Moore – The Glorias: Life on the Road (TBD)
Lupita Nyong’o – Us (Universal)
Rosamund Pike – Radioactive (Amazon)
Natalie Portman – Lucy in the Sky (Fox Searchlight)
Charlize Theron – Untitled Roger Ailes aka Fair and Balanced (Lionsgate)
Emma Thompson – Late Night (Amazon)
Naomi Watts – Luce (Neon)
Kate Winslet – Ammonite (TBD)
Alfre Woodard – Clemency (Neon)
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