The Oscar run for Best Actress is always interesting. The quality of the contestants is highly dependent on the quality of the female roles written that year, so a “mediocre” year is not necessarily a consequence of poor acting, but rather poor roles for women. Fortunately, while 2020 was certainly a strange year, we are not short of big contenders in the Best Actress race, as it is as competitive as this year’s Best Actor race.
Below, I’ve done my best to understand the current state of the race, and at the same time, I acknowledge that this could be the strangest Oscar year ever. This is where things are now.
Frances McDormand – Nomadland
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s black ass
Carey Mulligan – Promising young woman
Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a woman
Amy Adams – Hillbilly Elegy
In a very specific way, this year’s Oscar race is exactly the same as previous years – our favorite came during the fall film festival season. Of course, traditional festivals were largely online this year, but Nomadland was a great success for TIFF and Frances McDormandThe moving performance of a grieving woman who decides to live life on the road made people immediately take notice. She won this category in 2018 for Three billboards and could very well do it again.
But this is not entirely McDormand’s for the taking. There is a great possibility that Viola Davis lands in the winner’s circle for her commanding performance as the titular Blues singer on Netflix Ma Rainey’s black ass. It’s a towering twist on one of the best actresses working today, and it’s also refreshingly different from the roles Davis normally plays. Instead of the emotional and tearful monologue, his Oscar clip for Ma rainey It will be a dazzling outfit for the other characters. The confidence and arrogance with which Davis inhabits the role is surprising, but so good You can also feel the insecurity and fear that lurk beneath Mom’s surface. A whole host of history and emotion is reflected in a single glance.
Vanessa kirby He also made waves on TIFF with his emotional spin on the Netflix duel drama Pieces of a womanY Carey Mulligan delivers arguably the best and most ambitious performance of his career at Focus Features’ Promising young woman. The movie takes something huge It fluctuates, but its reception so far has been largely positive and has been welcomed by critics’ groups and early voting bodies alike.
Speaking of which, these four women made their way to the Oscar much safer by garnering Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations for Best Actress. Now SAG’s categories don’t usually match exactly 1: 1 with Oscar’s categories, and the wild card that SAG threw that others might not fully expect was Amy adams for Ron HowardNetflix drama Hillbilly Elegy.
Hillbilly Elegy It was pretty wild by critics and it didn’t really seem to have much of a cultural impact, but Adams is an Oscar favorite (she’s been nominated six times) so it’s not hard to see her in the Best Actress category this year. Even critics who didn’t love the film praised her performance as a mother battling substance abuse.
Right now, considering the SAG elevator, these are our five pioneers.
In the mix
Sophia Loren – The life ahead
Michelle Pfeiffer – French departure
Yeri Han – Threatening
Kate Winslet – Ammonite
Sidney Flanigan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Julia Garner – The assistent
Elisabeth Moss – The invisible man
Anya Taylor-Joy – Emma.
Cristin Milioti – Palm springs
Just outside the group of favorites, there are plenty of worthy performances that could garner an Oscar nomination. There is a legend on the screen Sophia loren consider, as the 86-year-old actress is drawing praise for her turn on Netflix The life ahead and many believe it will earn a nod. And while the reaction to Ammonite it was pretty cool, Kate winslet He’s one of the Academy’s favorites and could very well get a nod.
I would keep an eye out for Julia Garner on the indie bleecker street The assistent. The film unfolds in real time over the course of a day as an assistant to a leading film producer navigates his world of abuse, intimidation, cover-ups and silence. The movie is absolutely about Harvey weinstein and it has garnered quite a positive reception, especially among those in the industry who identify with the experience, and Garner was recognized by the Spirit Awards. Idem Sidney Flanigan, who has been receiving praise from Sundance for her emotional turn on the abortion drama Never Rarely Sometimes Always, which appears on many critics’ end-of-year lists.
There’s also Yeri han in the drama A24 Threatening, one of the best movies of the year that could get a lot of major accolades. If the Academy’s acceptance of the film is great, it could definitely land in the Best Actress race for her outstanding role as the matriarch of a Korean-American family who relocate to Arkansas in hopes of starting a farm and living the American Dream. .
And a newcomer to the race is United States vs. Billie Holliday, for what actress Andra Day you’re getting positive notices. Lee DanielsThe movie itself isn’t necessarily a huge Oscar contender, so it could work against Day. Like the tightest deadline, people should watch and consider this performance.
As for original selections I’d love to see, it’s time the Academy recognized horror as a serious genre, with Elisabeth moss delivering one of the best performances of the year as a survivor of domestic abuse in The invisible man. Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of faith right now, but again I hope this year really embraces thinking outside the box. To that end, I would throw Cristin Milioti in the mix for Palm springs – a delightfully hilarious yet poignant twist on one of the best of the year committing the Academy’s mortal sin of being a comedy.
That’s enough for now, but you never know what might happen. Stay tuned for more Oscars predictions throughout the week at Collider.
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