Category confirmations for Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan came in this week for She Said, with Universal Pictures not willing to risk pushing two female leads, campaigning Kazan here and Mulligan in supporting. It’s not hard to understand why; Best Actress hasn’t had two nominees from the same film since Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis in 1991’s Thelma & Louise, who both ended up losing to Jodie Foster in The Silence of the Lambs, the Best Picture winner. Unless She Said becomes a top 3 or even top 5 Best Picture contender, I don’t see this benefitting Kazan as much as it will Mulligan.
In Women Talking, only Rooney Mara will be campaigned in lead, with all other actresses in the film going supporting. Although Mara has slightly more screen time and a fuller arc outside the film’s main storyline of women of a religious cult secretly congregating in a barn to decide their fate after sexual assault and abuse, it’s probably a tough path for her purely based on screen time compared to stars of other films who occupy much more space. But, I do think Women Talking is a top 3 contender so, maybe her chances aren’t that bad, after all.
A top three of Cate Blanchett (TÁR), Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once) and Danielle Deadwyler (Till) feels very locked right now, with Deadwyler absolutely storming with a performance that’s getting best-of-year notices and a film that went from ‘maybe a sole Best Actress nod’ before it screened to something much more.
Like with Best Actor, the Gotham Award nominations (which TÁR led), the first critics’ group of note to announce, gave seven of ten spots to lead actresses, including the top 3 contenders, in what is continuing to be the most ferocious category of the season. The Gothams are even giving Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans, a film whose budget outreaches nomination eligibility) an actor tribute, making it pretty much a top four that will be hard to trifle with. So who rounds out the list? Colman? Robbie? Ackie? Davis? It feels like a revolving door. Almost as much as the potential winner here, but we’re merely at the pre-nomination stage.
Here are my 2023 Oscar predictions in Best Actress for October.
Green – moves up ↑ Red – moves down ↓ Blue – new entry ♦
1. Cate Blanchett – TÁR (Focus Features)
2. Danielle Deadwyler – Till (UAR/Orion) ↑
3. Michelle Yeoh – Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24) ↓
4. Michelle Williams – The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures) ↓
5. Naomi Ackie – I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Sony Pictures/Tri-Star) ↑
6. Olivia Colman – Empire of Light (Searchlight Pictures) ↓
7. Viola Davis – The Woman King (Sony Pictures/Tri-Star) ↑
8. Margot Robbie – Babylon (Paramount Pictures) ↓
9. Ana De Armas – Blonde (Netflix)
10. Jennifer Lawrence – Causeway (Apple Original Films) ↑
11. Emma Thompson – Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (Searchlight Pictures) ↓
12. Zoe Kazan – She Said (Universal Pictures) ↑
13. Jessica Chastain – The Good Nurse (Netflix)
14. Rooney Mara – Women Talking (UAR/Orion) ↑
15. Florence Pugh – The Wonder (Netflix) ↓
16. Taylor Russell – Bones and All (MGM/UAR) ↑
17. Tang Wei – Decision to Leave (MUBI) ↓
18. Florence Pugh – Don’t Worry Darling (Warner Bros) ↓
19. Zar Emir Ebrahimi – Holy Spider (Utopia) ↑
20. Mia Goth – Pearl (A24) ↓
Other contenders (alphabetical)
Emma Corrin – Lady Chatterley’s Lover (Netflix)
Sally Hawkins – The Lost King (IFC Films)
Lesley Manville – Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (Focus Features)
Thandiwe Newton – God’s Country (IFC Films) ♦
Joanna Scanlan – After Love (Vertigo Releasing)
Léa Seydoux – One Fine Morning (Sony Pictures Classics)
Letitia Wright – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Marvel Studios) ♦