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2016 Awards Season: Oscar Highlight: Best Leading Actress

February 17th, 2017

La La Land

With our annual Oscar Prediction contest underway, now is the best time to look at the nominees and try and figure out who the favorites are and which films should just feel honored to be nominated. Today we look at Best Leading Actress, which is not competitive. There’s an overwhelming favorite, a long shot with a shot, and then everyone else.

(Note: All previous awards listed are only for acting and not other categories. However, they are for supporting and lead acting. Previous awards and nominations are not for TV roles, on the other hand. )

Best Supporting Actress

Isabelle Huppert for Elle
Tomatometer Score: 89% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globe and Independent Spirit Award
Movie's Previous Major Wins: Golden Globe (One Pending)
Actor's Previous Major Nominations: None
Actor's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: It is incredibly rare for foreign-language performances to earn Oscar nominations. It is even rarer for them to win. Because of this, Isabelle Huppert has almost no shot at winning the Oscar.

Ruth Negga in Loving
Tomatometer Score: 89% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globe and Independent Spirit Award
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None (One Pending)
Actor's Previous Major Nominations: None
Actor's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: I’m so happy Ruth Negga got this nomination, and not just because she had a recurring role in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. That said, her chances of winning the Oscar are nearly zero. She hasn’t won any of her previous nominations and she wasn’t passed over for an Oscar earlier in her career.

Natalie Portman for Jackie
Tomatometer Score: 89% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globe, BAFTA, Independent Spirit Award, and SAG
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Actor's Previous Major Nominations: Two Oscars, Three Golden Globes, Two BAFTAs, Two SAGs, and One Independent Spirit Awards
Actor's Previous Major Wins: One Oscar, Two Golden Globes, One BAFTA, One SAGs, and One Independent Spirit Awards
Notes: There are some who think Natalie Portman will win this award, but I don’t think that’s likely. Don’t get me wrong, if she does win, it likely wouldn’t be the most surprising result of the night. However, she’s been shut out so far during Awards Season and won an Oscar not too long ago, so her chances are not good for this year.

Emma Stone for La La Land
Tomatometer Score: 93% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: SAG, Golden Globe, and BAFTA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: SAG, Golden Globe, and BAFTA
Actor's Previous Major Nominations: One Oscar, Two Golden Globes, One BAFTA, Three SAGs, One Independent Spirit Awards
Actor's Previous Major Wins: Two SAGs
Notes: Emma Stone has three previous nominations for her performance in La La Land and she’s won three times. Furthermore, La La Land is expected to be the big winner on Oscar night. If Emma Stone doesn’t win this Oscar, La La Land likely had a very bad Oscar night.

Meryl Streep for Florence Foster Jenkins
Tomatometer Score: 87% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: SAG, Golden Globe, and BAFTA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Actress's Previous Major Nominations: Nope. Not even going to bother counting.
Actress's Previous Major Wins: Don’t have enough time to count all of her career nominations and wins.
Notes: I included previous career nominations and wins in these stories because they are useful in figuring out if an actor has a chance of winning the Oscar. If this is their first Oscar nomination, then their chances are a little lower. Likewise if they’ve won recently. On the other hand, if someone has several nominations without a win, their chances go up. These numbers are useful for normal actors and actresses, as well as screenwriters and directors. Meryl Streep’s career is anything but normal. The table of contents on her list of awards and nominations stretches three screens long. She has more Oscar nominations that any other actor in history. Same is true of Golden Globes, BAFTAs, etc. Because of this, she’s not judged on individual performances, but on her career as a whole. Her competition isn’t the other actors, but her other performances. She might win another Oscar, but only if the performance is one of the best she’s ever given.

Conclusion: Emma Stone is the overwhelming favorite to win for La La Land, while there are some who think Natalie Portman has a shot for Jackie. Personally, I will be cheering for Amy Adams, who was amazing in Arrival. Oh right, she wasn’t even nominated.


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Filed under: Awards Season, Florence Foster Jenkins, Arrival, La La Land, Loving, Elle, Jackie, Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Isabelle Huppert, Natalie Portman, Emma Stone, Ruth Negga