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The Best Actress Race Has Chosen Chaos This Season!

Folks, do we have a Best Actress race or what? Much like last year, things have evolved in such a way as to make the competition for the Academy Award truly a five horse race (even if last year was more a three or perhaps four horse one). Oscar voters have absolutely no frontrunner to look to as they prepare to fill out their ballots later on this month. For some, the season turning to chaos has them pulling out their hair. For others, it’s utterly delightful. I’m more of the latter notion, personally, especially since it makes predicting more fun, if less of a science than an art form. I haven’t settled on anyone, obviously, but I do kind of want to talk about how we got here today…

It goes without saying, but if you somehow need a refresher, the nominees are:

Jessica Chastain – The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman – The Lost Daughter

Penelope Cruz – Parallel Mothers

Nicole Kidman – Being the Ricardos

Kristen Stewart – Spencer

We can begin by looking back to how the season began, and perhaps even further back. About nine months ago, when I posted my Year in Advance predictions (found here), this was my predicted five (and beyond), which of course is somewhat of a shot in the dark:

1. Ana de Armas – Blonde
2. Kristen Stewart – Spencer
3. Jennifer Lawrence – Don’t Look Up
4. Nicole Kidman – Being the Ricardos
5. Jennifer Hudson – Respect

Next in Line: 6. Frances McDormand – The Tragedy of Macbeth 7. Jessica Chastain – The Eyes of Tammy Faye 8. Florence Pugh – Don’t Worry Darling 9. Emilia Jones – Coda 10.  Lady Gaga – House of Gucci

The first section of the precursor season saw Kristen Stewart do very well with the various critics groups, with Olivia Colman not too far behind. There wasn’t any slam dunk situations going on, but it did seem like Stewart was a safe bet for a nomination, at the very least. Then, as it became clear that Spencer was not going to be an across the board Oscar player, some doubts crept in, but more on that in a moment. As her position was fluctuating, it seemed like Lady Gaga was locking up one of the fiive positions. Of course, the Academy also had something to say about that.

Once the Golden Globes chimed in, it was Stewart’s first major chink in the armor, as Nicole Kidman won for Being the Ricardos. What initially seemed like a quirky Globe pick that wouldn’t matter much sort of snowballed, as many a pundit, myself included, installed Kidman as the one to beat. Since then, she’s failed to capitalize on that, seen most notably with Jessica Chastain pulling off the victory with the Screen Actors Guild. None of them are nominated at BAFTA, so there is our chaos.

Now, we have a situation where any of the five can win. Chastain has SAG to her credit and is considered due for a win. Colman only has really Gotham to her name, aside from critics prizes, but she’s clearly beloved now by the Academy. Cruz is in the interesting position of not having anywhere she can lose, which oddly might work in her favor, even if she can’t gain any forward momentum. Kidman seems to have fallen back, but voters playing it safe seem likely to gravitate towards her. Then, there’s Stewart. Her time as the frontrunner has faded, but there’s a scenario where she’s lurking for the win, and it involves the Critics Choice Association.

CCA looms large now, at least in terms of how the race will be presented. Everyone except Cruz is among the nominees in Best Actress there, and we all know that voters in the group have a tendency to try and predict the Oscar winners. I’m a member and don’t do that, but I can’t deny that it happens. So, if Chastain gets another televised win next weekend, that might set her up nicely as the new favorite. However, if Stewart, who is the critics darling of the lot this year, scores the victory, does that vault her back to the front? We shall see, but stay tuned…

Sit tight to see who emerges from this chaotic Best Actress race!


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Robert Hamer
2 months ago

1. Ana de Armas – Blonde”

LOL wow man, that movie has been on a trip.

2 months ago

I think Kristen Stewart will win. All five ladies are deserving candidates, but she has been doing stellar work for several years with literally no previous nominations. Fans were very pleased she was nominated. That was a fabulous performance and she has worked with a lot of actors, directors, crewtvetc. I think she will win.

Allan A. Puno
2 months ago

Kidman for the win!!! Stellar performance for Being the Ricardos…

Richard Green
Richard Green
2 months ago

Hi Joey, Stewart is Spencer’s only nomination so I just can’t see it happening. Colman has won too recently to get a second now, I don’t think they are ready yet to also give Kidman her second Oscar so unless Cruz gets a passion vote from the foreign academy members it’s Chastain for me because she’s ‘due’ and has just won Sag.

Robert Hamer
2 months ago
Reply to  Richard Green

“Stewart is Spencer’s only nomination so I just can’t see it happening.”

Tell that to Renée Zellweger, Julianne Moore, and Charlize Theron…

Richard Green
Richard Green
2 months ago

Could you possibly see a similar scenario to The Iron Lady where The Eyes of Tammy Faye also wins both of its nominations, Actress and Makeup?

3 days ago
Reply to  Joey Magidson

Late to the discussion but was it ever that close? I wonder . You’re right of course it’s subjective who is the best everyone has their own ideas and there are other things that come into play. Once I saw Being The Ricardo’s I wanted anyone but Nicole to win . Sorry but the film left a bad taste in my mouth. I didn’t learn anything new but ugh! lol.
I thought Colman had a chance but no BAFTA nomination all but finished her chances. Stewart and Kidman were harmed by not having the hair and makeup nominations. There is a developing history there . Streep and Marion Cotillard won along with hair and makeup. I suspect the year Renee won for Judy Charlize Theron might have been the runner up . Both that double nomination for their movies. I definitely was favoring Chastain I didn’t expect to love the film but she did the best job humanizing her real life subject and had the best transformation.
So my real question is who was runner up? I lean towards Penelope Cruz . Despite no precursors she seemed to be gaining steam. I think the other three faded a bit but I did see some support for Colman and Stewart.

2 days ago
Reply to  Joey Magidson

Sounds about right.


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Written by Joey Magidson

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