2020 Oscar Predictions: Best Actress

By
Charlize Theron, Renee Zellweger, Cynthia Erivo
Courtesy of Lionsgate / LD Entertainment / Focus Features

It's time to mint a new class of Academy Award winners. ET has spent the entire awards season sussing out which Oscar contenders would become nominees -- and now, which nominees will become winners. On Feb. 9, the Academy will hand out their little gold men, but until then, here's where things stand in the Best Actress race.

This year's Best Actress race is Renée Zellweger's to lose. Her razzling, dazzling and completely transformative comeback performance in Judy cemented Zellweger as the early frontrunner -- but in a year with fewer potential spoilers than normal, who poses the biggest threat: An Academy favorite like Charlize Theron -- who delivers quite the transformative performance of her own -- or Saoirse Ronan? Or perhaps Cynthia Erivo, that much closer to her inevitable EGOT?

THE PREDICTIONS

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Renée Zellweger, Judy

Who Will Win:

Renée Zellweger, Judy

Potential Spoiler:

Charlize Theron, Bombshell


Also check out: Best PictureBest Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor


THE SCORECARD

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Image via Focus Features

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet

The Role: Harriet Tubman, who escapes slavery and becomes an abolitionist and conductor on the Underground Railroad.

Oscar History: This is Erivo's first nomination.

Awards season scorecard:

Critics Choice Awards - Best Actress (Nominee)
Golden Globes - Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama (Nominee)
SAG Awards - Female Actor in a Leading Role (Nominee)


Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Image via Netflix

Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story

The Role: Nicole, a working actress navigating her divorce and single motherhood after splitting from Adam Driver's character.

Oscar History: This is Johansson's first nomination. (She is also nominated for Jojo Rabbit in Best Supporting Actress.)

Awards season scorecard:

BAFTA Awards - Leading Actress (Nominee)
Critics Choice Awards - Best Actress (Nominee)
Golden Globes - Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama (Nominee)
SAG Awards - Female Actor in a Leading Role (Nominee)


Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Image via Sony Pictures

Saoirse Ronan, Little Women

The Role: Jo, the headstrong middle March sister who wants to spurn society's expectations of female domesticity and become a famous writer.

Oscar History: Three nominations, for Best Supporting Actress in Atonement (2008), Best Actress in Brooklyn (2016) and Lady Bird (2018).

Awards season scorecard:

BAFTA Awards - Leading Actress (Nominee)
Critics Choice Awards - Best Actress (Nominee)
Golden Globes - Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama (Nominee)


Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Image via Lionsgate Movies

Charlize Theron, Bombshell

The Role: Megyn Kelly, the controversial Fox News host of The Kelly File who spoke out against Roger Ailes' misconduct.

Oscar History: One win, for Best Actress in Monster (2004), with another nomination for Best Actress in North Country (2006).

Awards season scorecard:

BAFTA Awards - Leading Actress (Nominee)
Critics Choice Awards - Best Actress (Nominee)
Golden Globes - Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama (Nominee)
SAG Awards - Female Actor in a Leading Role (Nominee)


Renee Zellweger, Judy
Image via LD Entertainment

Renée Zellweger, Judy

The Role: Judy Garland, the legendary entertainer, as she sets out to perform a string of London concerts in the late '60s.

Oscar History: One win, for Best Supporting Actress in Cold Mountain (2004), with two additional nominations for Best Actress in Bridget Jones's Diary (2002) and Chicago (2003).

Awards season scorecard:

BAFTA Awards - Leading Actress (Winner)
Critics Choice Awards - Best Actress (Winner)
Film Independent Spirit Awards - Best Female Lead (Nominee)
Golden Globes - Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama (Winner)
Hollywood Film Awards - Hollywood Actress Award (Winner)
National Board of Review - Best Actress (Winner)
SAG Awards - Female Actor in a Leading Role (Winner)


[This story was originally published on December 10, 2019.]

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