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Oscar Chart Updates: 5 Questions about the Actresses

It was long past time for a revision of those April Foolish Oscar Predictions charts. ("That's an understatement," the readers scream in unison) so here we go, finally for early August. It's just a few weeks before things really get churning with the fall festivals. So here are ten questions that are on our mind now that we've finished updating the BEST ACTRESS and BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS charts - so check them out. And please to do your own speculation in the comments about these questions.

01. Will Scarlett Johansson finally get an Oscar nomination? Or TWO? She's got a lead actress bid with the buzzy Marriage Story and we know that Noah Baumbach is good with actors. But we still think she's more likely as the brave mother in Taiki Waitit's satire JoJo Rabbit. The hilarious thing about Scarlett is she's so underrated as an actor now -- given her years in franchiseland and her recent missteps in interviews -- that she might even qualify as a "I didn't know she had that in her" surprise type player... even if that's a case of willful amnesia about her talent...

02. Could Margot Robbie stay in the mix for Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood?
On the one hand this seems like much ado about nothing given her screentime and the fact that Margaret Qualley emerges as a rival for Best in Show, female division (and that little girl Julia Butters also steals a lengthy scene)... But on the other Robbie as Tate is a major talking point, it's an endearing performance, and if the film is a major player, she could easily coast in regardless of feelings about the actual quality of the role/performance.


03 How many non-white actresses will be nominated? We're predicting three currently in the two categories. The first two-black women nominated in lead since 1972 (which we think is likely even if it's not those exact two women) and an Asian woman in supporting. Now we freely admit that the latter is wishful thinking since Oscar has routinely ignored Asian women for 90 years, even when they've been in Best Picture nominees (think Crouching Tiger, The Last Emperor) or won precursor attention (think Hong Chau recently). But we're choosing to be optimistic because we do think The Farewell will snag a well-deserved Best Picture nomination. It's already accrued almost $8 million at the box office even though it's largely in Chinese and it's playing in the summer opposite superhero pictures and it hasn't even gone wide yet. It's likely to end 2019 as the highest grossing foreign-language film. But it's also an American picture which makes it easier for Oscar play. 

04 How misleading OR accurate are current trailers? The trailer for Harriet highlights Janelle Monae in a major way and if it's a large role she's in a good career position to capitalize on it for an Oscar nomination. But is she really the largest role among that film's female supporting players (what about Harriet's mother for instance?) or so high up in billing / trailer emphasis because she's quite famous? It's possible that other players will have meatier roles. And speaking of cameo versus substantial 'who knows' problems of punditry: we only see Anna Paquin for a split second in The Irishman trailer. But what if the Oscar-winner's role is more substantial and she just isn't being highlighted because DeNiro & Pesci & Pacino directed by Scorsese is the obvious draw? AMPAS has often been very kind to the sole famous woman in an ensemble of men on their Oscar ballots. 

05 Why do we have so little faith in Little Women? Looking around the web it appears that most pundits are predicting Greta Gerwig's take on the classic to be a big Oscar deal with nominations for Best Picture and Saoirse Ronan in lead and Meryl Streep in supporting but we can't quite get there. This is not the same as thinking it's not going to be good -- with Greta Gerwig behind it there's reason to hope it will be marvelous. It's just that it's been made several times already and Oscar (generally speaking) doesn't go crazy for remakes. Plus, none of the famous versions of Little Women have set the Oscars on fire: The very famous 1933 version received 3 nominations (Picture, Director, and won for Adapted Screenplay); the 1949 version received 2 nominations (Cinematography, and won for Art Direction); the popular 1994 version received 3 nominations (Actress, Costumes, Score, losing all of them). This will likely get a few random Oscar nods because it's so high profile... but not within the acting categories. What are we missing about this production that is inspiring so much faith in other pundits?

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Reader Comments (63)

I really think Julia Butters is going to be a strong contender for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. She steals the movie.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

It was announced yesterday that "Lucy in the Sky" is being released Oct. 4

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterParker

My guess is that you have so little faith in Little Women because you never were a fan of the book or the previous film versions! But maybe you'll end up loving this version. The screening reports of Little Women suggest that it's not a remake, but a different vision of a book (see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). Rumor is that Florence Pugh, not Scanlen, is the MVP among the supporting players and could contend for a nod.

What are the plans for that Roger Ailes film to premiere? It feels like something that needs a festival debut. Has it screened yet? I know Kidman is beloved here, but I think it will be hard for her to compete with Naomi Watts's outstanding performance as Gretchen Carlson on The Loudest Voice.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Having just seen The Farewell, I can say that while I like Awkwafina, the real MVPs of the film are in the supporting roles: Diana Lin & Zhao Shuzhen, as her mother and grandmother, respectively. They were both wonderful. I will be curious to see how things go. I do think a BP nom seems very very possible!

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRob

Best Actress in a Leading Role also known as My Annual Heartache.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Suzanne -- i actually love Little Women in general. I'm just saying history shows that Oscar thinks its nice but not earth-shaking. a different version of the same book is still a remake. we're getting fancy with definitions now ;)

Ken -- ooh, that's an interesting suggestion. I shall think on it.

August 9, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Wouldn't it be amazing if Soderbergh gives Sharon Stone some scene-stealy character in The Laundromat? I don't know anything about her character or the size of the role.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterH

Ryder is the only woman who has been nominated for a Little Women Adaptation. So yeah, it's not happening unless the movie is amazing. They gave Hepburn a win the year she was much better in Little Women, so I can't imagine it's a novel they care all that much about.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

At this point, I think your Best Supporting Actress line-up makes a lot of sense. But except for Erivo (who I wish had been in contention last year for Bad Times at ...), Actress feels really up in the air to me, since so little is still known about the films of some of the likeliest contenders.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

Streep needs a place at the supporting table. That's where they're leaning on placing her.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterErik Anderson

Argument for Ronan in Little Women: She has grown from child actress into formidable leading lady, which rarely happens with Oscar noms on both ends. Jodie Foster is the only example that comes to mind, though I'm sure there are more. She was nominated in her last Gerwig film, for which many (including me) think she should have won, and then she has arguable momentum after being in the conversation for Mary, Queen of Scots. I'd also point out that though you mentioned sparse love in the past, the last Little Women version pulled an Actress nod. The expanded BP line up makes me think the chances are good and conversation will revolve around Gerwig possibly being the first woman to have more than one Director nod. Plus... that cast! I think it'll be a huge hit with family audiences and could be the Christmas movie to see if they play their cards right. All of these things are good signs.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

Re Little Women : I think people are thinking that it's Gerwig / Ronan reteaming + Streep + a beloved book + period drama = Oscar chances. I am hoping that it is great (I have a lot of faith) and that it gets several nominations but we shall see.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRami

The real category to watch in regards to women is Director. If Little Women is great (and able to stand out from the numerous previous adaptations), and Neighborhood is a hit (which I believe it will be a massive hit - this year's Bohemian Rhapsody), and Harriet delivers the goods, we could have 3(THREE!!!!) women in the director category this year.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

I have to say that personally I felt really boring the first five choices for best actres u put on your prediction. I am not a fan o both Meryl and Mirren post their Oscars, and I think that the two black ladies u put will give good performances and not oustanding. My intuition is 90-99% right ALL The time and i Am feeling that a lot.


The Farewell girl
Any of the Blackbird girls (Kate Winslet in special)
Gong Li (Saturday Fiction) or Alfre Woodard or Frances McDormand

we are talking and wishing.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGeor

Sawyer … dare we dream , that would be amazing!

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRami

Best supporting actress my wishes are:

La Cruz (Pain and Glory is monumental!)
Octavia Spencer
ScarJo or The Farewell lady
Any of the Blackbird girls
Any of the Roger Alies / David Coperfield girls

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGeor

Hope they don't give out two Supporting Actress awards again like last year!

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMark

From the first round of tweets and reactions I took Florence Pugh as a lock for Little Women. Is this not the conventional view I thought it to be?

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNina

Nina -- i've added her to the chart but calling anyone a lock this early is probably crazy of people since so few of the films have been widely screened.

H -- that would be amazing!

August 9, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Why is Mirren so high the trailer seemed to show her doing her usual thing and since 2009 they've passed on her 3 times now.

Why is Scarlett so low I think it's her time now to be nominated,

I hope Renee is nominated if she can get passed most people's Judy bias.

I agrre with Nat about LW they've never given it's acting multiple nominations cos really in supporting there 6 choices and someone would have to be flat out masterful to get traction

Isn't Streep supporting

It would be nice to see Sarandon return to the fold,she has been doing gr8 work since 1995,I don't care what she thinks politically.

Theron is a stealth candidate from were i'm sitting.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Why does Mirren keep turning up here every time she's in something? She's been nominated four times, her leading noms came in what were perceived as weak years for the category, and she hasn't been nominated for a decade. Emmys and SAG aside, she's hardly the awards magnate she's made out to be here.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

The Academy has changed. I think people are more inclined to vote for a period coming-of-age film about young women than they would have been in the mid-1990s. Lady Bird would never have been nominated for Oscars in 1994.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

@Peter here here every year she seems to get prime place and then nothing,she's overrated IMO anyway.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

I suspect Meryl and Renee will both receive Best Actress nominations. I'm already hearing Streep's performance in The Laundromat is outstanding.

I thought Zhao Shuzhen stole the show in The Farewell. She definitely deserves some recognition.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

I think it's because on paper Mirren hasn't had a role this juicy since The Queen.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

The Oscars have a new favorite sub genre of film and that is Saoirse Roman coming of age films. Little Women could be a player just for that.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Scarlett's been overdue for Oscar nods going back to Ghost World as I really think she was robbed of a supporting acting nod. She should've been nominated for Best Actress for either Lost in Translation or Girl with a Pearl Earring back in 2003 and Best Actress for Under the Skin and Best Supporting Actress for Her. Her time has come now. She's been overlooked for too long.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

That release date for Alfre is a real killer. I wonder why NEON would release so late? Getting her the lead nomination requires build up - kind of like what Glenn or Rampling had. Hopefully she can build some industry buzz with an Indie Spirit bon.

Why is Lupita so low? I suspect we’ll see a lot of her near the end of the year, and she’s a great campaigner. I think, at the very least, she’s be second tier but I might be wrong.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJoe


My ScarJo's nominations are the three you mentioned (Lost in translation, Under the skin, Her) plus Match Point.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGeor

@eurocheese, Mickey Rooney is another child star who got Oscar nominations in his youth, followed by Oscar noms as an adult. Judy Garland is another one, too, although hers was in the form of a "Juvenile Award" as a youngster, then Oscar noms as an adult. Elizabeth Taylor, though not nominated as a child, perhaps is *the* most significant example of a lauded child star who became a legendary, Oscar-winning super star.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Scarlett's best performance is in Don Jon.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterH

Fully agree. Don Jon was the film that finally made me see Johansson as a formidable talent.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen

Gong Li for Saturday Fiction would be amazing

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRafael R

C'mon, Nathaniel. Marriage Story is going to all the fall fests. We have a sizable description of her role on Indiewire. To have Scarjo a tier lower than friggin' Mirren for Good Liar at this point is just silly.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel

I have to agree. The placements of Mirren and Johansson (and Smith-Turner) are headscratchers.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterErik Anderson

Seriously some of these predictions (And also include the male categories) are just so wtf? OK in April but now?

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterleon

Mareko, I guess that's my point - none of those people were ever really "done" when it came to Oscar consideration. I think Saoirse could have a very long list of nominations and possibly multiple wins when all is said and done.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

Roadside is so, so smart to release Judy (which has a dynamite one-sheet, by the way) in late September. This is exactly when Clemency ought to be released for maximum momentum building. Oy.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

The question is will Streep go supporting for both. Word is The Laundromat could go either way? Maybe they are waiting to see if she cares a supporting nomination for Little Women first?

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Zhao Shuzhen is not LEAD??? She has way more lines than Awkwafina. She moves the story as much as Billi too.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJared

Why is Vanessa Bell Calloway, whom I love, pictured in the supporting actress lineup? Is her role in Harriet that buzzy/baity?

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

My nightmare is that Renee steamrolls for JUDY and the Academy hands her a second Oscar ahead of more deserving and unrewarded candidates, just because she is making a comeback in a biopic.

The marketing is certainly getting the message out there early, which is what usually counts for Best Actress.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSteve G

Scarlett will finally get nominated when she gives that tour de force as a tree.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

You seem to have a random picture of Vanessa Bell Calloway in your supporting actress section. But her name is nowhere in the mentions for possible contenders.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

I definitely wouldn't be surprised if Robbie got a nomination, for all of the reasons you mentioned and the fact that she's in the age range that Oscar loves to award women in. ScarJo finally getting nominated also seems really likely, which is going to make the season totally insufferable given her recent foot-in-mouthedness.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

Peter: I agree that Mirren isn't as likely a shot as she has been in the past, but no way did her leading nomination for The Queen happen in a weak year for the category. That was a very strong year - and she was brilliant in the film.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

I think Johansson deserved nominations for Lost in Translation (which might have happened had she not been ridiculously campaigned in supporting) and Match Point.

If she deserved a nomination for Her, it was as a lead, no?

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Erik -- ah but none of us have crystal balls. Last year in september you chided me for not predicting Nicole Kidman which was 'so obvious' but note that she didn't get nominated! Nothing is so obvious until all the movies have screened and even then.

/3rtful / Mareko -- fixing. she's in Harriet as Harriet's mother. Have no idea if the part is good sized or just a cameo.

Jared -- you know i'm a stickler for category fraud and i dont think Zhao Shuzhen is lead. I acan see the argument I suppose but to me it's a story is about Billie and we see NeiNei through her eyes.

Peter -- the Mirren thing is mainly because I just have a hunch that the Good Liar will be a surprise success. Nothing more than that. You have to have hunches and make wild calls otherwise you're just regurgitating the same 5 everyone has and we know from history that nobody ever has the correct 5 this early so it's fun to make some leaps. (I'm not a very big fan of Mirren's. Her win in 2006 and her nomination in 2009 made me so crazy)

everyone -- the official synopsis of The Laundromat is that it is about a widow's investigation of her husband's financial papers... which leads to... which firmly suggest that Meryl is the lead.

August 9, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Little Women is good for box office. They cut down Emma but Ronan is stunning.

August 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterFaye

Nobody think Chloe Sevingly is in play for Queen and Slim? That film is very highly placed in many categories and she’s previously nominated and third billed

August 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNic

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