Best Actress

Awards Nominations

* Independent Spirit Award Nominee
Gotham Nominee 
National Board of Review Winner 
New York Film Critics Circle Award Winner
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Winner
* Broadcast Film Critics Association Nominee
Golden Globe Nominee
* Screen Actors Guild Nominee
National Society of Film Critics Winner
* BAFTA Nominee

The Low Down:

Renée Zellweger’s return to the big screen has launched her into become the frontrunner of this year’s Best Actress race, which is much weaker and less competitive than it’s been in recent years. Everyone loves a comeback, and even those who are less enamored with Judy are head over heels for the actress’ portrayal of Judy Garland. Biopics are huge Oscar magnets, and if she’s left unchallenged she might just win her second Oscar. 

Zellweger’s only real competition at this stage is Scarlett Johansson, who is looking to earn her first Oscar nomination. She’s come close in the past (Lost in Translation and Girl With the Pearl Earring) but got lost in more commercial and mainstream movies since becoming a star. Now, she’s back in two buzzy projects: Marriage Story and Jojo Rabbit. The latter will probably be extra fuel to help her get in for her leading role in Marriage Story, but will she be able to keep her mouth shut long enough for nominations to be announced? And though she has the raves, is it enough to overtake Zellweger’s comeback? Much of that will depend on just how many Oscars Marriage Story will win. 

After those two, you have a pretty thin field with some huge question marks: Awkwafina (is The Farewell too small?), Lupita Nyong’o (will Universal campaign? They should!), Cynthia Erivo (can she overcome the middling reception to Harriet?), Alfre Woodard (will Neon be able to compensate for a very small film and late release date?), Constance Wu (will anyone look beyond J Lo?), Saoirse Ronan (is a late release date and no festival screenings a death sentence?), Meryl Streep (will her name be enough to overcome the movie’s meh response?), Charlize Theron (who, if anyone, will be the nomination from Bombshell?) and Jodie Turner Smith (will The Academy go for Queen & Slim?). 

And we’re off! 


  1. Renée Zellweger, Judy
  2. Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story


The Contenders:

  1. Meryl Streep, The Laundromat
  2. Awkwafina, The Farewell
  3. Lupita Nyong’o, Us
  4. Alfre Woodard, Clemency
  5. Constance Wu, Hustlers


Question Marks:

  1. Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
  2. Charliza Theron, Bombshell 
  3. Jodie Turner Smith, Queen & Slim