All the best movies of the year are either currently in theaters or set to drop over the holiday break, so it’s that exciting time again where we make Oscar predictions, specifically for best actress and best supporting actress.
So far this year, we’ve seen some brilliant performances from women of all ages and backgrounds. So many great performances this year were unexpected and surprising, like newcomer Yalitza Aparicio, the star of Roma, and Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born. But we’ll likely see some Oscar veterans get nominations as well, like Emma Stone for The Favourite or Viola Davis in Widows.
What’s most exciting this year is that no specific actress appears to have a lock on the Oscar, especially considering the diversity of the films. There are biopics like First Man, period comedies like The Favourite and even a nostalgic musical like Mary Poppins Returns.
Here are our predictions for who might just snag best actress and best supporting actress nods at the 2019 Academy Awards.
1. Viola Davis in Widows
Though the film Widows wasn’t necessarily a huge box office success, the all-female heist movie did allow Davis to show her true grit while giving a performance that packed an emotional punch — something rarely seen in movies in this genre. Davis did win an Oscar in 2017 for her role in Fences, so we’re not sure how eager the Academy will be to give her another statue so soon.
2. Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born
As singer-on-the-rise Ally, Lady Gaga pulled out all the stops and let her emotions inhabit her eyes, face and voice in a raw, revealing performance to remember. Best of all, she’s not just playing herself, which many singers can do easily. She’s created a new character and inhabits her with 100 percent authenticity. She also has great chemistry with costar Bradley Cooper, something you can’t fake. Our money is on Gaga.
3. Olivia Colman in The Favourite
This movie is hilarious and shocking in all the best ways, and Olivia Colman creates a Queen Anne that’s perhaps the most complicated of all the female characters this award season. She’s brutish, petty and downright horny, giving her costars Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz plenty of room to scheme and fight for the queen’s affections. If there was an Oscar for best power/love triangle, these actresses would win it.
4. Yalitza Aparicio in Roma
In Roma, set in 1970s Mexico, newcomer Aparicio makes a subtle, emotionally grounded debut as Cleo, the housekeeper for a wealthy family who has a burning inner life, although she seems invisible to many who surround her. Critics love this film, shot in black and white and in Spanish, but it’s difficult to say whether Aparicio is on her way to Oscar gold.
5. Emily Blunt in Mary Poppins Returns
Emily Blunt gave a stunning, nearly dialogue-free performance in The Quiet Place, which came out earlier this year. But that was a small horror flick, so it’s her performance in Mary Poppins Returns that will likely earn Blunt her very first Oscar nomination. Because Mary Poppins is so deeply nostalgic for fans and Blunt’s endearing updated spin is getting raves, she has a very good shot.
Best supporting actress
1. Emma Stone in The Favourite
Stone’s performance as Abigail, the scrappy social climber willing to do anything (and we mean anything) to earn Queen Anne’s favor, is like watching a rabid dog jump through fiery hoops at the circus. Her command of physical comedy is impressive, as always, and it’s a joy to watch her endless struggles on screen.
2. Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Funny lady Melissa McCarthy gives a knockout dramatic performance as a good woman driven to desperate measures in this film, based on the true story of writer-turned-forger Lee Israel.
3. Kiki Layne in If Beale Street Could Talk
Kiki Layne plays Tish, a newly pregnant 19-year-old woman who gets more than she bargained for when her boyfriend goes to jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Layne searches for herself on screen with strength, vulnerability and dooming naivete that makes this one of the best performances of the year.
4. Rosamund Pike in A Private War
Rosamund Pike plays the real-life war correspondent Marie Colvin, a hard-boiled, eye-patch-wearing justice fighter who risks her life to tell the truth about what’s happening in Syria. Pike was previously nominated for best actress in 2015 for Gone Girl, so it will be interesting to see if she can win for this tragic and timely true story.
5. Claire Foy in First Man
As Janet, the wife of Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, it may not seem like Claire Foy would have a lot to do in this story. But she commands the screen and looms large in Armstrong’s psyche as he’s about to make history. It’s a fabulous performance that reveals the Armstrong family dynamics in an emotional way. Our money is on Foy.