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91st Oscars. Oscar Contenders of 2018 (for the 2019 Ceremony) - For prediction, discussion, entertainment purposes only

 discuss on the blog

april foolish predictions 

Tier 1 - Prediction

Way wayyyyy too far in advance we're guessing a contest between the coronation of Glenn Close (at last!) for her riveting work in the adult drama The Wife versus newcomer-fever for Kiki Layne in the next Barry Jenkins picture. If Moonlight gave him momentum and she is great, watch out!

But really we all know it's a complete free for all this early.  There are so many intriguing possibilities and combinations to imagine this early on. 

Glenn Close
71 yrs old | 40 films | 6 nominations
August 3rd

A wise but unexpected move to release this early. It'll give the "coronation" style awards narrative time to build. She's great in this star vehicle about a woman who's been in her husband's shadow too long.

Kiki Layne
??? yrs old | 2 films | never nominated
Release TBA

If Moonlight was indication, Barry Jenkins is super gifted with actors. Layne is a fresh talent (we don't know anything about her yet) but this is a meaty part as the pregnant girlfriend of a man accused of rape

Emily Blunt
35 yrs old | 28 films | never nominated
Dec 25th

Recreating an Oscar winning role is nervy territory but the casting really couldn't be better: Blunt can do any genre and sings beautifully. We're going to be optimistic and say it brings her her long overdue first nomination. (GOLDEN GLOBE SLAM DUNK?)

Saoirse Ronan

24 yrs old | 21 films | 3 nominations
Dec 7th

When Oscar falls for you they fall for you which means she'll definitely be considered. She's on a hot streak but only Streep is nominated every time out of the gate. Will Margot Robbie pull focus? Or are we foolish to doubt her and she'll turn quickly into the new Streep? 

Penélope Cruz
43 yrs old | 59 films | 3 noms | 1 win
Distributor/Release TBA

If Oscar voters are missing this Spanish goddess as much as we are they might go nuts for what looks like a riveting mystery drama from a filmmaker they love (Asghar Farhadi, who's won foreign film twice already!) 

Tier 2 - Or Maybe It'll Be These Five

Melissa McCarthy

47 yrs old | 27 films | 1 nomination
Fox Searchlight
Oct 19th

On paper this seems like a slam dunk move - celebrated comic actor gets serious in a true story about an infamous writer. But the trailer looks more drab than you'd expect from this director. I'm a wee bit nervous but it might be really good. 

Stefani Germanotta
32 yrs old | 4 films | never nominated *in acting*
Warner Bros
Oct 5th

Early buzz is strong... but that could all be hype at this point given that it's mostly official sources talking. At the very least you can probably pencil in another Best Song nomination for her. Janet Gaynor and Judy Garland were both nominated for leading this classic story (though Babs was not in the 70s) (GOLDEN GLOBE SLAM DUNK?)

Viola Davis
52 yrs old | 37 films | 3 noms | 1 win
Nov 16th

On paper this doesn't sound like much but the caliber of the team assembled suggests that it could very easily transcend any notion we have of what it might be. Davis is always awesome but will she get enough focus in what sounds like a true ensemble picture?

Julianne Moore
57 yrs old | 68 films | 5 noms | 1 win
Release TBA

If the Chilean film of the same name (this is a direct remake) is indication, this will be a major star vehicle for Julianne. But she'll have to fight off comparisons to the utterly brilliant performance by Paulina Garcia in the original.

Felicity Jones
34 yrs old | 21 films | 1 nomination
Release TBA

She's got one of the year's best roles on paper: Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her youth. But Director Mimi Leder's past films (a long time ago) didn't scream "great with actors" as one of her primary gifts. We'll see.

Tier 3 - We might be underestimating...

Maggie Gyllenhaal
40 yrs old | 32 films | 1 nomination
Release TBA

Winning "genius" style reviews but the lack of enthusiasm for the film itself though could be a problem. Plus Netflix. Still wouldn't it be great to see this still underappeciated talent with a second nomination?

Taraji P Henson
47 yrs old | 1 nomination
Distributor / Release TBA

The role sounds like it has a ton of awards potential, she's playing a real life activist who forged a friendship (of sorts) with a member of the Klu Klux Klan, BUT its a first time director and no distributor yet. Who knows it might get a miniscule release or be pushed to 2019.

Cate Blanchett
48 yrs old | 7 noms | 2 wins
Oct 19th

On paper this role is showy and a potential slamdunk even (who does anxiety-ridden better than Blanchett?) but how much screentime will she really have? The title character, sure, but it's also about her daughter trying to track her down. 

Charlize Theron
42 yrs old | 2 noms | 1 win
May 4th

Somehow despite being famous for 20 years and winning an Oscar and headlining multiple films, we'd argue she's still underappreciated as a thespian. She looks strong again as a mother suffering post partum depression.

Dame Judi Dench
83 yrs old | 7 noms | 1 win
Distributor/Release TBA

Often lost in the hoopla about Streep's extraordinary longevity as a leading lady is that Dench who is in her 80salso keeps getting juicy lead roles! This is a true story of the KGB's longest-serving British spy.

Tier 4- Too early to rule anyone out!

Mary Elizabeth Winstead
33 yrs old | never nominated
Release/Distributor TBA

She's winning the kind of reviews actors dream of for this indie about an angry female comic from a debuting female writer/director. Pray for a strong distributor to get it because this actress has been underappeciated for too long!

Emma Thompson
59 yrs old |  4 noms | 1 win (in acting) 
Distributor/Release TBA

Reviews are strong for her performance as a judge torn up about a specific case involving a minor but less so for the film. That can often be a tough road to acting nominations... especially in competitive years... but it sure would be fun to have her on the red carpets again.

Toni Collette
45 yrs old | 1 nomination
June 8th

She won rave reviews at Sundance and her sole nomination IS from the horror genre (The Sixth Sensebut still. Horror is always a tough awards season climb. But we're hoping this film is a hit and leads to a Colettassaince because Hollywood has been wasting her of late.

Hilary Swank
43 yrs old | 2 noms | 2 wins
Bleecker Street
Oct 12th

She's playing the daughter of a woman with alzheimers and maybe they're missing her? She and Michael Shannon lead the film as siblings dealing with their aging parents.

Emma Stone
29 yrs old | 2 noms | 1 win
Fox Searchlight
Nov 23rd

Though we know little of the script the story suggests that it's not a leading spotlight for her but basically a triangular tangle (with Olivia Colman and Rachel Weisz). Still might be fun to see her in a costume drama

Other Female Leads in 2018

(Alphabetical Order)

Emily Blunt - A Quiet Place, Sandra Bullock - Bird Box, Sandra Bullock - Oceans 8, Elizabeth Debicki - Vita and Virginia, Elsie Fisher - Eighth Grade, Claire Foy - The Girl in the Spider's Web, Hera Hilmar - Mortal Engines, Vanessa Hudgens - Second Act, Nicole Kidman - Destroyer, Keira Knightley -Colette, Keira Knightley - The Aftermath, Rooney Mara - Mary Magdalene, Melissa McCarthy - Life of the Party, Julianne Moore - Bel Canto, Emily Mortimer - The Bookshop, Michelle Pfeiffer - Where is Kyra?, Storm Reid - A Wrinkle in Time, Saoirse Ronan - On Chesil Beach, Jessica Rothe - Valley Girl, Amy Schumer - I Feel Pretty, Amanda Seyfried - Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, Kristen Stewart - JT Leroy, Rachel Weisz - Disobedience, Constance Wu - Crazy Rich Asians, Renée Zellweger - Judy