All eyes will be on how the Academy handles next year’s Oscars broadcast after the infamous Will Smith incident, but beneath all the drama, is actually a really exciting awards race between some incredible actresses.
Here are our picks for the five most likely nominees for Best Actress next year.
Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway
With a total of four Oscar nominations and one win for Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook in 2013, Jennifer Lawrence announced she would take a small break from acting a few years ago. Now, Lawrence is back in the awards circuit with Causeway, Lila Neugebauer’s ‘intimate portrait’ of a soldier struggling with the transition back to normal life as she returns to her home to New Orleans. Causeway will find itself on Apple TV, the service which holds the most recent Best Picture Coda. Whilst it is unlikely that Apple TV will secure a double Best Picture win, we all know that Jennifer Lawrence commands the screen – a performance from her could bring home the gold. The vulnerability and humility Lawrence brings to her roles may shine brightest with Causeway – this role possibly being the greatest yet to showcase the uniqueness she brings as an actress.
Ana De Armas, Blonde
It’s no secret that the Academy loves a biopic. It is fair to say that the Academy’s favor for these films has frustrated audiences for years now. Alas, it is undeniable that biopic performances are hard competition to beat. Ana De Armas has been on the rise for a while now, starring in many crowd-pleasing films in supporting roles, like Blade Runner: 2049 and No Time To Die. Armas may have an advantage this Oscars season, playing arguably one of the most iconic faces to ever exist: Marilyn Monroe. Armas’ chances may rely on how Blonde handles the tragic and troubled tale of Monroe’s life, but regardless, Armas’ casting is perfect.
Cate Blanchett, Tar
With a whopping seven nominations and two wins, Blanchett is no stranger to the Oscars. She has a distinct coolness and credibility that she carries with her from role to role, and Todd Field’s comeback film Tar could be yet another success for her. As discussed with Armas, the Academy loves a biopic, yet they may favor Tar for its exploration of renowned conductor and composter Lydia Tar. Less of a household name, but with an incredible story, Tar’s biopic may push Blonde out of the awards circuit, especially with Blanchett front and center. The film is yet to be released to festivals and will run the independent film circuit soon, but with a runtime of 2hrs and 38 minutes, Tar could be the unexpected, prestige character study that the Academy loves.
Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All At Once
Everything Everywhere All At Once took a life of its own after its release. The film was hailed by critics and audiences alike, entering Letterboxd’s Top 100 Films of All Time list and being one of the best-reviewed films ever. It’s been a while since a film has had this kind of cultural impact, if not particularly mainstream, so can the Academy afford to ignore everything that Michelle Yeoh brings to the role? Both Yeoh’s emotional and physical acting guide the audience through what can be a very jarring and complex story, all cumulating into a powerhouse final act that allows Yeoh to break your heart and blow your mind. It would be hard not to root for her this awards season.
Margot Robbie, Barbie
Margot Robbie has received multiple Oscar nominations and one win – except, her win is for producing the incredible Promising Young Woman. Her exceptional performance as Tonya Harding in 2018’s I, Tonya failed to win the award, as did her devastating turn as Kayla in 2020’s Bombshell. Anyone examining Robbie’s career knows that she is as business-savvy as they come; she has an eye for choosing great projects that will boost both her acting and producing repertoire. Greta Gerwig’s Barbie is shaping up to be an unexpected awards darling after Gerwig was shamefully snubbed from the Best Director category for her wonderful adaptation of Little Women. The character of Barbie – a bright, bubbly burst of energy – may pull focus from the other performers nominated. Could this be Robbie’s best chance yet?