"Can You Ever Forgive Me?" deliciously pairs Richard E. Grant with Melissa McCarthy                "22 July" sees Paul Greengrass effectively depict another tragic historical event                Timothée Chalamet and Rachel Weisz to be Honored at Hollywood Film Awards                Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet are gunning for awards with "Beautiful Boy"                "Bad Times At The El Royale" is overstuffed yet pulpy fun from Drew Goddard                87 films will contend for Best Foreign Language Feature this year                "First Man" is another stunning achievement for Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling                Updated Academy Award predictions for early October                Bradley Cooper makes a stunning directorial debut with the Oscar frontrunner "A Star Is Born"                Trailer for 'Vice' reveals Adam McKay's biopic of Dick Cheney                Taking a look at potential Best Original Screenplay contenders                Nicole Kidman to Receive Hollywood Film Award                “First Man” and “A Star Is Born”: Films to see in October                Taking a look at potential Best Adapted Screenplay contenders                Could we be seeing a rematch of Damien Chazelle vs Barry Jenkins this year?        

Amy Adams: 2015 Best Actress contenders

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As you folks all know full well by now, it’s one thing to read my Academy Award predictions at this point in the year in order to see what folks like myself think will happen, but it’s another thing entirely to actually know something about who and what will be in contention for nominations. To help out in that regard, at least somewhat, I’m running down some of the major contenders in each Oscar category in order to prep you all for the season to come. Basically, the format will have me saying a few words about what/who I feel are the top tier contenders right now in said categories, along with a longer list afterwards of many of the other hopefuls that the Academy might take a shine to. Consider this a sort of before the awards season cheat sheet to have in your back pocket.

Today I’m continuing with another of the biggest categories of them all…this time it’s Best Actress.

Here are the ten lovely ladies that I have in play for Best Actress, with the top five cracking the lineup at this point:

1. Amy Adams (Big Eyes) – I don’t know that there’s an actress who more clearly seems to be next in line for an Oscar win than Adams. She probably came the closest in her career so far last year with American Hustle, so she’s basically the de facto number one right now. The material is right up the Academy’s alley, early word is strong, and the timing is right. Everything is set up for Adams to almost steamroll through the season, so stay tuned to see if she actually does!

2. Jessica Chastain (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them) – In a rather short span of time, Chastain has become basically an awards mainstay. Just about every project she joins is labeled a contender and she’s got a pretty solid batting average so far, in terms of nominations at least. She’s beginning to seem due for a win, and it’ll likely happen sooner rather than later. This project is very ambitious and could wind up staying under the Academy’s radar, but if they see it, she most likely will get nominated once again.

3. Michelle Williams (Suite française) – Another overdue actress, Williams always seems to be close to an Academy Award win before someone else winds up becoming the flavor of the season. That could again be the case this year, though she’s starting out not being considered the frontrunner, so maybe this will be a good luck change of pace for her? Time will tell here.

4. Reese Witherspoon (Wild) – I have a hunch that this is a bigger player than many are expecting. The director of Dallas Buyers Club, the writer of An Education, and baity source material will give Witherspoon her best chance at another nomination since she won this category for Walk the Line. The rest is up to her now.

5. Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) *Could go Supporting – Currently I have Pike as a Supporting Actress contender, but I’ve heard that she’ll at least initially be going Lead, so here she is. Up until this week Pike was my Supporting Actress winner, and while that doesn’t translate into a win here, it does likely mean she’s in for a nomination if the film turns out to be top notch.

6. Shailene Woodley (The Fault in Our Stars) – With the massive financial success of her movie, Woodley has to be considered as a possibility. In fact, I have a hunch that she’s going to pop up more during this year’s precursor season than she did during last year’s for The Spectacular Now. It’ll be a hard road to get her nominated here, but stranger things have certainly happened.

7. Hilary Swank (The Homesman) – Before her film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival, Swank was becoming another of the trendy early picks to make among prognosticators. Well, the decent but unspectacular reviews for the movie have quieted that down somewhat, but she’s certainly still in play here. There might be some residual Swank fatigue that hurts her chances, but if voters take to the film, she’ll be heavily in the conversation, if nothing else.

8. Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night) – Meanwhile at Cannes, Cotillard announced herself as a contender once again in a well received foreign flick. Those last two words make a return to Academy glory a longer shot than for most, but Cotillard is due another nomination pretty soon, so this could very possibly be it for her. My guess is voters wait for a more traditionally appealing film for them, but time will tell in this regard…

9. Emily Blunt (Into the Woods) *Could go Supporting – Provided it’s any good, someone from this musical will make a play for a nomination here. Blunt is the favorite so far, though obviously someone like Anna Kendrick or Meryl Streep could just as easily be hanging around here. I’m not as high on the musical as some are, so I’m keeping a contender from the film a bit lower than most, so perhaps take this with a grain of salt?

10. Jennifer Lawrence (Serena) – I know some folks aren’t wild about this project, but the track record of Lawrence speaks for itself. She’s an Oscar darling already, so as long as this isn’t a disaster, the baity nature of the work will keep her heavily in play all season long. I see no reason not to expect her to continue to get nominated quite a bit going forward. She’s got the goods, delivers them, and does so in a way that voters love.

Next in line I’d have these ten contenders (just sans commentary here) for Best Actress:

11. Scarlett Johansson (Under the Skin)
12. Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
13. Kristen Stewart (Camp X-Ray)
14. Meryl Streep (Into the Woods) *Could go Supporting
15. Emma Stone (Magic in the Moonlight or Cameron Crowe’s Untitled Project)
16. Kate Winslet (A Little Chaos)
17. Julianne Moore (Maps to the Stars) *Could go Supporting
18. Helen Mirren (The Hundred Foot Journey)
19. Keira Knightley (Begin Again)
20. Mia Wasikowska (Madame Bovary or Tracks)

Finally, here are ten more women to give us a top 30 to cull from, just sans commentary as well:

21. Juliette Binoche (The Clouds of Sils Maria)
22. Rooney Mara (Trash)
23. Cate Blanchett (Carol)
24. Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle)
25. Zoe Kazan (The Pretty One)
26. Imogen Poots (Squirrel to the Nuts)
27. Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Alex of Venice)
28. Nicole Kidman (Queen of the Desert)
29. Bérénice Marlohe (5 to 7)
30. Charlize Theron (Dark Places)

That’s what the Best Actress race could very well be made up of folks. Stay tuned next week for my look at the Best Supporting Actor race!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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