2020 Oscar Predictions: Best Actress

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2020 Oscar Predictions, Best Actress
Courtesy of Lionsgate / LD Entertainment / A24

It's nearly time to meet the Oscars class of 2020. This year's Academy Awards caps off an abbreviated awards season -- the show will air on Feb. 9, weeks earlier than usual -- and ET has been here the entire time, sussing out Oscar fortunes. On Jan. 13, the Academy will announce their nominations, but before then, take one final look at our predictions for who is in the running for Best Actress.

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 newly-minted Indie darling Awkwafina?

THE PREDICTIONS

Our Final Predictions:

Awkwafina, The Farewell
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Renée Zellweger, Judy

The Potential Spoilers:

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Lupita Nyong'o, Us
Alfre Woodard, Clemency


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


THE SCORECARD

Awkwafina, The Farewell
Image via A24

Awkwafina, The Farewell

The Role: Billi, the granddaughter of Shuzhen Zhao's character, who is conflicted about keeping her Nai Nai's cancer diagnosis a secret.

Oscar History: This would be Awkwafina's first nomination.

Awards season scorecard:

Critics Choice Awards - Best Actress (Nominee)
Golden Globes - Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy (Winner)
Gotham Awards - Best Actress (Winner)


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 would be 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 would be Johansson's first nomination.

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)
Santa Barbara International Film Festival - Performer of the Year Award (Winner)


Lupita Nyong'o, Us
Image via Universal Pictures

Lupita Nyong'o, Us

The Role: Adelaide Wilson, a wife and mother whose family vacation is terrorized by her Tethered, Red (also played by Nyong'o).

Oscar History: One win, for Best Supporting Actress in 12 Years a Slave (2014).

Awards season scorecard:

Critics Choice Awards - Best Actress (Nominee)
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards - Best Actress (Runner-up)
New York Film Critics Circle - Best Actress (Winner)
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)
Palm Springs International Film Festival - International Star Award (Winner)
SAG Awards - Female Actor in a Leading Role (Nominee)


Alfre Woodard, Clemency
Image via NEON

Alfre Woodard, Clemency

The Role: Bernadine Williams, the warden of a death row prison who is struggling with the impending execution of an inmate.

Oscar History: One nomination, for Best Supporting Actress for Cross Creek (1984).

Awards season scorecard:

Film Independent Spirit Awards - Best Female Lead (Nominee)
Gotham Awards - Best Actress (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 (Nominee)
Critics Choice Awards - Best Actress (Nominee)
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)
Palm Springs International Film Festival - Desert Palm Achievement Award (Winner)
SAG Awards - Female Actor in a Leading Role (Nominee)


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

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