Viola Davis maintains her hold on the top spot this month for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Today was supposed to reveal a first look as well as a Q&A with Davis and director George C. Wolfe but the event was canceled after the tragic death of her co-star Chadwick Boseman, who passed away from colon cancer on Friday afternoon. Based on the award-winning August Wilson play, Davis plays the titular pioneering “queen of the blues” in the late 1920s over the short period of a recording session with her bandmates.
Frances McDormand stays strong as Nomadland will debut at Toronto in two weeks its way to NYFF and an early December release from Searchlight Pictures. Kate Winslet (Ammonite) moves up considerably from July as her campaign has begun in earnest with Hollywood Reporter cover stories and a tribute at TIFF despite her claim that “I don’t campaign.”
Halle Berry is hoping to make an Oscar comeback with Bruised, which she also directs. Her feature film directorial debut, Berry plays a washed-up MMA fighter struggling for redemption as both an athlete and a mother. Berry won the Academy Award for Best Actress for 2001’s Monster’s Ball and is still the only Black Best Actress winner in Oscar history. She has not been nominated since. Bruised will premiere September 12 as a work in progress at TIFF and is looking for distribution.
I’ve been double dipping with Olivia Colman in The Father, having at #3 in Supporting Actress but the more I think about it the more I think she’ll end up in lead. Reviews put her on the cusp and she could go either way but we’ve been here before with Colman and we all know how that turned out. Just take a look at the poster; not only sharing it with lead actor frontrunner Anthony Hopkins but an above the title credit, while her two female co-stars (Imogen Poots and Olivia Williams) share billing below. Is this a 2018 déjà vu or just capitalizing on having two ‘Academy Award Winner’ monikers on top? The one thing that might stand in the way here is how Sony Classics will prioritize what it has. With Michelle Pfeiffer’s French Exit and a hopeful return to Oscar for her, they could convince the Oscar-winning actress to take a supporting back seat and let them run an unobstructed campaign for the three-time nominated Pfeiffer, who hasn’t heard her name called on nomination morning since 1993.
Stellar reviews for Jessie Buckley in I’m Thinking of Ending Things puts her in the top 10 and Andra Day finds herself in the top 5 as Paramount dates Lee Daniel’s Untitled Billie Holiday pic (aka The United States vs Billie Holiday) for a prime mid-February release just two weeks before the Oscar deadline to be at the front of voters’ minds.
Here are my ranked 2021 Best Actress Oscar predictions for August.
Green – moves up; Red – moves down; Blue – new entry this month
- Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
- Frances McDormand – Nomadland (Searchlight)
- Kate Winslet – Ammonite (Neon)
- Olivia Colman – The Father (Sony Pictures Classics)
- Andra Day – The United States vs Billie Holliday (Paramount)
- Michelle Pfeiffer – French Exit (Sony Pictures Classics)
- Amy Adams – Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix)
- Jennifer Hudson – Respect (MGM/UA)
- Sophia Loren – The Life Ahead (Netflix)
- Jessie Buckley – I’m Thinking of Ending Things (Netflix)
Other Contenders: Nicole Beharie – Miss Juneteenth (Vertical Entertainment), Halle Berry – Bruised (TBD), Jessica Chastain – The Eyes of Tammy Faye (Searchlight), Carrie Coon – The Nest (IFC Films), Julia Garner – The Assistant (Bleecker Street), Felicity Jones – The Midnight Sky (Netflix), Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman, (TBD), Frances McDormand – The Tragedy of Macbeth (A24), Elisabeth Moss – Shirley (Neon), Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman (Focus Features), Rachel Zegler – West Side Story (20th Century)