Just in time, the first look at Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom came in yesterday and with it our first look at Best Actress frontrunner Viola Davis.
While we await a trailer we can certainly luxuriate in the images and it’s hard to think Davis won’t shine playing the titular pioneering “queen of the blues” in the late 1920s over the short period of a recording session with her bandmates, including the late Chadwick Boseman, who tops the supporting actor chart. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom drops on Netflix December 18.
Also from Netflix, and a huge jump up the chart is Vanessa Kirby in Pieces of a Woman. Kirby won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival just a few weeks ago and Netflix, despite having quite a slate already (including picking up the work-in-progress Bruised from Halle Berry for a cool $20M but most likely will be held for next Oscar season), is ready mount a significant campaign for Kirby as a woman who loses her child (read our review here).
I’ve moved around Michelle Pfeiffer and Olivia Colman, both backed by Sony Pictures Classics this year. Although Colman, once again, could go supporting or lead for The Father, I feel like with Pfeiffer as a true and undeniable lead in French Exit we’ll see the most likely chances for each to be met. I’m still keeping Colman on the Best Actress chart though.
Off the lists this month are Rachel Zegler, as West Side Story has moved to Christmas 2021 and Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, as Searchlight Pictures is still holding back on anything regarding the film. Both are under the Walt Disney umbrella, which recently bumped a handful of films out of eligibility for this season. Also from Searchlight, I’m not including Nightmare Alley (although the film did recently resume production) for now.
Here are my ranked 2021 Oscar predictions in Best Actress for September (yes, I know it’s October).
Green – moves up; Red – moves down; Blue – new entry this month
- Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
- Frances McDormand – Nomadland (Searchlight)
- Michelle Pfeiffer – French Exit (Sony Pictures Classics)
- Kate Winslet – Ammonite (Neon)
- Andra Day – The United States vs Billie Holliday (Paramount)
- Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman (Netflix)
- Olivia Colman – The Father (Sony Pictures Classics)
- Jennifer Hudson – Respect (MGM/UA)
- Sophia Loren – The Life Ahead (Netflix)
- Amy Adams – Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix)
Other Contenders: Nicole Beharie – Miss Juneteenth (Vertical Entertainment), Halle Berry – Bruised (Netflix), Jessie Buckley – I’m Thinking of Ending Things (Netflix), Carrie Coon – The Nest (IFC Films), Julia Garner – The Assistant (Bleecker Street), Felicity Jones – The Midnight Sky (Netflix), Rashida Jones – On the Rocks (A24/Apple TV+), Elisabeth Moss – Shirley (Neon), Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)