First Oscar Predictions
Amy Adams "Nocturnal Animals"
Annette Bening "20th Century Women"
Viola Davis "Fences"
Jennifer Lawrence "Passengers"
Emma Stone "La La Land"
Other Contenders - Jessica Chastain "The Zookeeper's Wife", Jessica Chastain "Miss Sloane", Amy Adams "Story of Your Life", Alicia Vikander "The Light Between Oceans", Lupita Nyong'o "Queen of Katwe", Emily Blunt "The Girl on the Train", Ruth Negga "Loving", Marion Cotillard "Allied", Michelle Pfeiffer "Beat-Up Little Seagull", Rosamund Pike "A United Kingdom", Meryl Streep "Florence Foster Jenkins", Cate Blanchett "Weightless", Taraji P. Henson "Hidden Figures", Rooney Mara "Una", Rebecca Hall "Christine", Naomie Harris "Moonlight", Kristen Stewart "Personal Shopper", Kristen Stewart "Cafe Society", Rooney Mara "Lion", Felicity Jones "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story", Renee Zellweger "Bridget Jones' Baby", Nia Vardalos "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2", Ellen DeGeneres "Finding Dory", Alicia Vikander "Tulip Fever", Michelle Williams "Certain Women", Ellen Page "Tallulah", Arielle Holmes "American Honey", Naomi Watts "The Book of Henry", Cynthia Nixon "A Quiet Passion", Natalie Portman "Jackie", Anne Hathaway "Colossal", Lily Collins "Untitled Howard Hughes Film", Emma Watson "The Circle", Charlotte Rampling "A Sense of Ending", Rooney Mara "The Secret Scripture", Natalie Portman "Jane Got a Gun", Tina Fey "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot", Melissa McCarthy "The Boss", Greta Gerwig "Maggie's Plan", Emilia Clarke "Me Before You"
Commentary - There are certain Oscar moments that stick with you. Often, they are the winners that still give you joy. But often, they are the losers, the ones that you felt got robbed. The fact that Viola Davis lost that Oscar to Meryl Streep for that awful move in 2012, still stings. That's why one of the films I am looking most forward to is Fences. Denzel and Viola have already won Tonys for these roles, and both are two of our finest actors. If this film is even half as good as I expect it to be, then this might finally be the year Viola is vindicated. But she will have some competition. Jennifer Lawrence could continue to rake up Oscar nominations with Passengers, which got an incredible amount of buzz at Cinema Con. Amy Adams has two possibilities this year, and is as overdue as any current working actress. I think Noctural Animals sounds like a better chance than Story of Your Life. Annette Bening is another great actress who is way overdue for an Oscar, and 20th Century Women might finally be her ticket. Finally, after cracking that first nomination, Emma Stone returns to the Oscar race with Damien Chazelle's Whiplash follow-up La La Land, and it could earn her yet another nomination, and may her first win. These five are my current five, and while nothing is certain, they feel like safe bets at this point. Beyond those five, there is Jessica Chastain, with two potentials, neither of which feel promising, but she is a favorite at this point. Alicia Vikander could return just a year after winning with the adaptation of The Light Between Oceans, Lupita could go lead (I currently have her predicted in supporting), Ruth Negga could break through for Loving, Marion Cotillard could be winning in Robert Zemeckis' latest, and Rosamund Pike could follow up her Gone Girl success with A United Kingdom. Legends like Michelle Pfeiffer and Meryl Streep have buzzed roles. I thought Emily Blunt would be a shoo-in, but the film has to do more than the trailer did for The Girl on the Train. Taraji P. Henson is now a mega-star thanks to Empire, Kristen Stewart is finally proving her worth on the indie circuit, Rebecca Hall has been looking for that right role for a decade now, and Naomie Harris is on the rise. Throw in previous nominees/winners like Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett, Felicity Jones, Renee Zellweger, Natalie Portman, Michelle Willians, and Anne Hathaway, and this looks to be another great year for this category..