Are we giving Nicole Beharie (Miss Juneteenth) a fair shake in Best Actress? She’s a Gotham winner, upsetting Frances McDormand. She’s a Spirit Award nominee and an actress on the rise at exactly the right time. Her film’s director, Channing Godfrey Peoples, won the National Board of Review‘s debut director award and the film was in their Top 10 Independent Films. Is it an outside shot? Sure. But her visibility is now at a place where that screener could become a priority.
Zendaya climbs way up from the ‘other contenders’ list last month and into the top 5…for now. Reviews for Malcolm & Marie are seriously mixed but one thing that isn’t is the praise for her performance. An actress playing an actress, as she does in the film, is something voters often can’t deny and the 24-year old Emmy winner has a scene that underlines, bolds and capitalizes the very heart and nature of acting that might be undeniable.
Andra Day (The United States vs Billie Holiday) remains a bit of a mystery. It’s a killer performance. She’s playing a real person (something only one other contender in my top 5 does) and a legendary icon, no less. The film itself has gotten mixed response but that’s never stopped a Best Actress contender before. Hulu, who picked up the film from Paramount just a few weeks ago, is working hard to get the film seen and screened in the final days of Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nomination voting. Will it be in enough time?
I keep having this weird feeling we could see major names resurge soon. Namely, Amy Adams (Hillbilly Elegy), Meryl Streep (The Prom) and Kate Winslet (Ammonite). I’m actually bumping Adams up a tiny bit this month and, maybe against my better judgement, Streep and Winslet down and out of the top 10. If Streep gets in at both the Globes and SAG next week, watch out.
These are the last predictions before the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations come out (February 3 and 4, respectively) and those will definitely impact this and all acting races moving forward (which will be reflected in next week’s Frontrunner Friday).
Here are my ranked 2021 Oscar predictions in Best Actress for January.
Green – moves up; Red – moves down; Blue – new entry this month
1. Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
2. Frances McDormand – Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)
3. Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)
4. Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman (Netflix)
5. Zendaya – Malcolm & Marie (Netflix)
6. Andra Day – The United States vs Billie Holiday (Paramount Pictures)
7. Sidney Flanigan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Focus Features)
8. Sophia Loren – The Life Ahead (Netflix)
9. Amy Adams – Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix)
10. Nicole Beharie – Miss Juneteenth (Vertical Entertainment)
Other Contenders: Jessie Buckley – I’m Thinking of Ending Things (Netflix), Julia Garner – The Assistant (Bleecker Street), Yeri Han – Minari (A24), Elisabeth Moss – The Invisible Man (Universal Pictures), Michelle Pfeiffer – French Exit (Sony Pictures Classics), Meryl Streep – The Prom (Netflix), Kate Winslet – Ammonite (Neon)