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Best Actress - April Foolish Oscar Predix

We always save the best category for last.

The April Foolish Oscar predictions are officially complete with the BEST ACTRESS chart which has just gone up. So many talent women. So much luscious actressing to come. We cannot wait to see these performances, wherever they happen to fall on the chart. Predictions are for fun and do not indicate who we're rooting for ever -- we try not to root for anything without actually seeing the films because "may the best performance win!" and we don't know what that will be yet, now do we? This year the April Foolish crystal ball says "all previous nominees" but that's largely because it does not appear to be a year where many women who aren't previous nominees have managed to land leading roles. But we shall see. 

Answer me these questions three:

1. Which actress's double feature are you most excited to see? The busy choices are: Jessica Chastain (A Woman Walks Ahead, Molly's Game), Kate Winslet (Wonder Wheel, The Mountain Between Us), Sally Hawkins (Maudie, The Shape of Water), and Charlize Theron (Tully, Atomic Blonde). Let's leave the very busy Nicole Kidman out of this survey since the size of her roles aren't totally obvious this year.

2. Do you think Annette Bening has momentum due to that near-miss last season (those sometimes build goodwill) or do you think 20th Century Women is irrelevant to this year's prediction equation?

3. Which performance are you convinced will be great sight unseen? ...and vice versa if you're feeling irritable today.

Past articles on this new Oscar race
Last year's Oscars, the full index

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Reader Comments (74)

I really hope for good things from Molly's Game, though I worry that letting Sorkin direct as well as write is asking for trouble.

One thing I do know, around January everyone will remember that Casey Affleck will be presenting this Oscar (and boy, that will go down well), and it will be the most painfully awkward thing ever at next year's ceremony. Especially if Brie Larson wins again.

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

I think Judi Dench still has one more nomination left in her! Go Judi!

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDAVID

Being Native American I'm very excited to see how A Woman Walks Ahead turns out, Native representation in film as of late has been encouraging and with Sitting Bull being a Native hero... hopefully it's solid... plus after missing for A Most Violent Year, it'd be nice to see Chastain as a nominee... I'm HOPING that either Salma Hayek's work in The Dinner is a hit on the awards circuit and/or Penelope Cruz' performances in the Asghar Farhadi picture and Murder on the Orient Express get awards attention. She has Ingrid Bergman's award winning role!

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterT

Can Winslet Blue Jasmine'd her way to the second trophy? Probably.

Why some actresses seem like a shoo-in everytime their new movies are out (regardless of quality)? See Dench, Streep. Nominations do not come by as easily for other true greats (See Bening)

Every Chastain's projects feel like Oscar-bait flops. But I live her and want to see all of them.

Excited for what Aronofsky will pull out of Lawrence. Is there any chance mother! is actually a showcase for Pfeiffer? Can't wait!

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJija

Hmm, seems like you have mentioned every working actress.

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarie

Best Actress narrative should be Judi Dench this year. I think she got robbed for Mrs. Brown. Plus she's never won a Lead Actress trophy.

Oh, and as we know, never count Streep out, if the film gets made/released in time.

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

1. Theron's (even though Davis is my least favorite part of Halt and Catch Fire).
2. Some momentum.
3. Who the heck knows - but as to guesses: Ronan in Chesil Beach and Close in The Wife.

Btw, did anyone here see Marjorie Prime on stage? I'm very curious about it, and Smith's performance.

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

I have most faith in a Chastain win or at least nomination,she has built up a gr8 reputation and has 2 snubs on her resume too,Winslet seems to have got her fire back,Theron is always interesting,Bening has good will but she's in little films again.

Judi Dench has to be considered,she'll be in the MOTOE remake too.

Stone,Kidman sit this year out as do Close and hawkins.

I am interested in what Mara,Ronan & Winger are serving this year too.

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

I do sort of feel like Annette Bening's 2016 run is irrelevant. The paradox is that if voters cared enough to passionately resent her snub, she wouldn't have been snubbed. And I think she deserved to win.

She needs a role like The Queen, The Iron Lady, Blue Jasmine, Dead Man Walking. Something that's either weighty and important and/or unflinchingly focused on her. It will need to be an *event* picture. When you hustle like Kate Winslet and Julianne Moore than you can win on The Reader or Still Alice, but Bening doesn't hustle hard enough to justify "now is the time no matter what!" buzz.

So many of Annette's vehicles have that Being Julia vibe about them—obviously she'll be brilliant but how broad is the appeal? The Gloria Grahame thing sounds like another lovely (but popularly inconsequential) Annette Bening movie.

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterHayden

Let's go Frances and Saoirse!

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterT-Bone

I'm interested to see On Chesil Beach. It was a great little book, but as I recall, not much happened in it plotwise. It was all internal. It will take a great team to pull it off. I think Ronan is up to it. Who plays the man?

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Hollywood

Frances in 'Three Billboards' is the great showcase role of the year. You can already feel it.

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBeau

I hope Annette Bening wins so you can stop obsessing about her, especially in a year where Pfeiffer could win!! Basta.

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRichard

You're killing me with Pfeiffer all the way down in Tier 5. She needs to WIN!!

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

I am on the Pfeiffer band wagon!


April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterManuel

Upon scrolling very quickly past Claire Foy's photo in the collage above, WHY did I see Madonna?! One can only dream...

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNick

As much as I hate to admit it, I predict Jennifer Lawrence is going to join the 5-timer's club for mother!, officially making her the worst actor to achieve this distinction.

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEva

I'm surprised you left Carey Mulligan for Mudbound entirely off your list. She doesn't even show up at the very bottom!

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterbillybil

Nick: Claire Foy as Madonna? I'd love to see Foy in a season or two long TV-sized epic of her film career, with every episode covering one film. Season One would cover A Certain Sacrifice to Dangerous Game. Season Two would cover Four Rooms to W.E. Except for an episode or two, it'd be like a macro sized Ed Wood, especially at the final episodes. Yeah, Netflix, get on that.
Eva: Yeah, the first nomination was cute. Definitely not a "winner" performance, but good enough for ballot filler. But then The Hunger Games happened. Without it, she would have swung one additional nomination, but no wins, in this time frame. With it, she pulled off three additional nominations and a win.

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

billybil: She's a spectacularly boring actress, though, even at her relative best. (An Education.) Even Jennifer Lawrence, as flawed as she is, as much as the four nominations she has are overkill, is still a more interesting performer. I'd place Mudbound as more in her wheel house (Mulligan is, chokingly, a housecat, and is at her worst when she pretends she isn't. And, yes, I have now sat through BOTH of her 2015 performances. Both would have been better movies with Katie Jarvis, sorry.) and likelier a BETTER performance, even if the divorce movie is the more likely to be INTERESTING from Mulligan.

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Really hope Saoirse goes the distance and wins. An insanely good actress. The fact that her role involves romantic confusion (which she nailed in BROOKLYN) and is based on a book written by the author who's other film adaptation gave her her first Oscar nomination, is giving me hope.

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEmma

Also, please, please, please no nominations for Stone or Lawrence this year, kthanxbai

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEmma

1. Chastain
2. Maybe
3. Chastain in "Molly's Game"

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

Didn't we already give the statue to McDormand when the trailer was released?

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDevin D

I am going to throw down and guess Larson, Mara, Mcdormand, Winslet and Chastain for now.

I am most excited to see Chastain and Winslet's double features, in that order. Chastain is nearly always great and Winslet seems to have her fire back (I loved her in Steve Jobs)

I do not think the Bening snub will factor into this race - I feel like people were more upset by Amy Adams missing out. Also, I don't think this new film will be good as 20CW.

I am convinced Glenn Close in The Wife and Brie Larson in Glass Castle will be great.

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAbel

One potential contender that wasn't listed: Emma Thompson for The Children Act, its a baity role and Richard Eyre has a good track record for getting acting nominations.

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew

I don't think Kidman has a chance to factor in Lead this year.

The Beguiled will be just 90 minutes long and the cast is huge.

The Wife sounds very promising and seeing Glenn Close win would be orgasmic.

I'm hoping for a final selection of no previous winners:

Glenn Close
Annette Bening
Jessica Chastain
Rooney Mara
Carey Mulligan (rave reviews)

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

1: Double feature: Chastain and Hawkins
2: Bening momentum: Yes! If I was betting money, I'd put it on Bening for the win.
3: Sight Unseen:
Great: The Shape of Water, with Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer (yes!) with Michael Shannon and Doug Jones.
Irritating: Rooney Mara whitewashing Mary Magdalene; Emma Stone making gay rights and women's rights perky and cute.

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered Commenteradri

1. I'm most excited for the Chastain/Hawkins double feature. I'm very interested to see if Hawkins can get her first lead nomination which she should've gotten for Happy-Go-Lucky IMO.

2. I...think if Annette Bening is gonna build momentum for a win, she's going to have to get THE role that makes her undeniable. She is overdue but the fact she doesn't work as consistently is a hindrance to her because it means less momentum to build up to a win.

3.I'm curious about Jennifer Lawrence in mother! and what kind of performance Aronofsky will direct out of her.

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMatt St. Clair

I am looking forward to the Bening movie ... I loved Gloria Grahame and she lived a pretty raunchy real life... This could be the one for Bening

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterK

I read and loved Film Stars Don't Die In Liverpool and totally see Annette Bening being nominated and winning. I think it will be a great showcase of her range as an actress: in love and full of fun and then the sad ending. On Chesil Beach on the other hand left me cold. Well written but all those internalised emotions working on film? Not convinced at this stage.

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterFran

Nathaniel, you can't call yourself a Pfan if you root for a Debra Winger comeback, she hates La Pfeiffer with a passion! lol

Anyway, my early guess:


April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLaLaBland

Rooting for The Bening also! I love Gloria Grahame and really enjoyed reading "Film Stars..." and think that it's going to be her year. I read somewhere that Working Title had the rights for it in the 90s and that Barbara Hershey and then Joan Collins were attached to it and I am so glad that it's Annette Bening who is doing it. Can't wait, especially after her extraordinary turn in 20th Century Women!

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMcW

Bening, Close, Huppert, Pfeiffer, Winger, they all should have at least one oscar by now.

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJack

1) Kate Winslet. Because I have a "The Reader" feeling with her this year (two great leading performances).

2) No. We will have a long to time to see Annette Bening Academy Award Winner.

3) great: Frances McDormand, Saoirse Ronan, Charlize Theron (Tully), Kate Winslet, Glenn Close.

Irritable: Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, Rooney Mara, Halle Berry, Jennifer Lawrence.

My predictions today day will be:


The 5th between:

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJon

If The Post truly begins filming at the end of May and still released for Fall, Hanks and Streep will leap to the top 5. Or is there inside information that is no longer the plan?

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

I really want Emma Stone to shut the fuck up all of us with a great performance, just like Sandra Bullock did wperformance, so we could forgive for stealing that oscar from Isabelle Huppert.

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAna

I also love how Streep's photo in the collage above is just an Oscar statue now :)

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Great list!!

Sally Hawkins btw is BRILLIANT in Maudie and I hope she can gain some momentum.
Kristen Stewart is also great in Personal Shopper.

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRod

Thumbs down on the way over-rated actresses -----

Emma Stone
Jennifer Lawrence
Jessica Chastain

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Frances appears to be the only lock nominee this early. Her trailer justifies her return to the category. Also, with her recent miniseries win for SAG and Emmy the Academy will want to solidify her standing with five acting nods.

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

If The Post is actually released at the end of the year, Meryl is your front runner. It will likely be the most topical film of the year, it's Steven Spielberg, and she's playing the beloved Kay Graham.

I'm most excited for Saoirse Ronan in On Chesil Beach this year. She's the most exciting actress of her generation and her performance in Brooklyn was superb on every level. Ian McEwan's novels often don't translate well, but if it's anywhere near the masterpiece level of Atonement, watch out.

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

Wow your chart looks really, really, REALLY, white.

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterbeyaccount

When you are rooted for Chastain, dench or Pfeiffer... I rooted for Daniela Vega, Rooney Mara and Huppert !!!! She was robbed by Academy -_-

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAmazingAmy

I love Rooney, but why oh why is she playing Mary Magdalene? I know the Internet loves that picture of her smoking a cigarette, but I remember her making a statement that she wasn't going to accept a whitewashing role after Pan.

"I really hate, hate, hate that I am on that side of the whitewashing conversation. I really do. I don't ever want to be on that side of it again. I can understand why people were upset and frustrated....Do I think all of the four main people in the film should have been white with blonde hair and blue eyes? No. I think there should have been some diversity somewhere."

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRoger

Really more excited for the lineup of:

Glenn Close
Isabelle Huppert
Sally Hawkins
Debra Winger
Cynthia Nixon

April 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterOwl

I'm here mostly for...
Isabelle Huppert
Nicole Kidman
Sally Hawkins

Very excited for Halle Berry now, too. Deniz Gamze Ergüven's Mustang was just about perfect and should have walked away with the Foreign Language Oscar. (Though I take the category less seriously each year).

And from what I've ACTUALLY seen (lol), Kristen Stewart's, more or less, one-woman show in Personal Shopper is glorious.

April 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRoger

It's cool that Kidman will get two nominations this year. Yes, it will happen!

April 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJames T


April 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVíctor

What about The Seagull?

April 22, 2017 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

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