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2017 Oscar Predictions: Best Actress

This year's Best Actress race is the most competitive in years from favorite Emma Stone to newcomer Ruth Negga. Updated 2/22/17.



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It’s one of the most competitive Best Actress races in years.

“Birdman” nominee and Oscar frontrunner Emma Stone came out of Venice (winning Best Actress), Telluride and Toronto with raves for her role as a singer-dancer-actress in Damien Chazelle’s TIFF audience-winner “La La Land,” and went on to win SAG, BAFTA, and Golden Globe Musical awards.

Breaking out at Venice and Toronto, where Fox Searchlight snapped it up for a December 9th release, was Pablo Larrain’s “Jackie,” starring Natalie Portman as the grieving widow of John F. Kennedy in the aftermath of his killing. Critics raved and she won the Critics Choice Award, also landing Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA and Oscar nominations.

This year’s breakout contender is Irish actress Ruth Negga. Not only is she tearing up the small screen as the badass Tulip in AMC’s “Preacher,” but her first major lead role on the big screen earned her a Best Actress Oscar nomination. Under the direction of Jeff Nichols, in “Loving” Negga delivers a refined portrayal of a woman battling race laws to live in peace with her husband and their children. She also landed Critics Choice, Globe and BAFTA rising star nominations.

The Academy occasionally embraces foreign actors in its acting categories (see Marion Cotillard, Juliette Binoche and Emmanuelle Riva), which boded well for Isabelle Huppert’s Golden Globe-winning dramatic performance in Paul Verhoeven’s taut mystery “Elle” (Sony Pictures Classics), which debuted strongly at Cannes. The veteran French actress pulls off one of the year’s most challenging characters— a rape victim who refuses to let her abuse define her — as she claims her identity as an entrepreneur, mother and sexually active older woman.

These actresses were joined by Oscar perennial (this is her record 20th nomination) and Critics Choice Comedy and Globe winner and SAG and BAFTA nominee Meryl Streep (“Florence Foster Jenkins”), who wowed Hollywood with her Golden Globes Cecil B. DeMille Award acceptance speech.

Final Contenders (in order of likelihood to win):

  1. Emma Stone (“La La Land”)
  2. Isabelle Huppert (“Elle”)
  3. Natalie Portman (“Jackie”)
  4. Meryl Streep (“Florence Foster Jenkins”)
  5. Ruth Negga (“Loving”)

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Check Out More Oscar Races:
Best Picture
Best Director
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor
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ISABELLE HUPPERT must do a clean sweap next year. Julianne Mooore, Leo DiCaprio…the overdue win must be hers now. Or to Marion Cotillard / Viola Davis if they excel in their films.


I can imagine: Amy Adams in Nocturnal Animals, Rosamund Pike in A United Kingdom, Emma Stone in La La Land, Madina Nalwanga in Queen of Katwe, Emily Blunt in The Girl on the Train, Sandra Hüller in Toni Erdmann, Cynthia Nixon in A Quite Passion, Jessica Chastain in Miss Sloane or The Zookeeper’s Wife, Natalie Portman in Jackie, Annette Bening in 20th Century Women, Rachel Weisz in Denial, Bel Powley in Carrie Pilby, Rooney Mara in Una or The Secret Scripture


    +1 on Rachel Weisz for Denial




Jessica Chastain’s The Zookeeper’s Wife has been moved its release day to March 31, 2017 so it will not qualify for this years awards


Don’t forget Sally Field for “Hello My Name Is Doris”. If you read all the recent articles, she’s the frontrunner of the films that have been released by July 1. She’ll be in the Top 5.


    Seriously? Why didn’t they put her in this article!?! I seen Hello, My Name Is Doris and fell in love with the movie and Sally Field all over again. I would hope she gets credit when it is due.

Juan Pablo

I just wish that they all could win can I get an amen?


I think Helena Bonham Carter is in with a shot for ’55 Steps’, with Hilary Swank in the supporting category. The subject matter is perfect for Oscar voters and HBC is long overdue some recognition.


I know it’s a sin to ever count Meryl out from anything Oscar related but critics are considering Florence Foster Jenkins one of her “screw the Oscars” movies. I’d replace her with Annette Bening for 20th Century Women here for sure.


Jessica Chastain’s Miss Sloane has been moved to the awards friendly December. She should definitely be considered a contender.


Emma Stone starts to speak for La La Land


You know what? I truly hope it’s Viola Davis and no one else that will take home the next year’s Oscars. This woman has been acting the hell out of every single role she’s played and she’s struggled long enough with crappy material before she got the chance to portray real “characters”. A role like the one she has in Fences gave her the chance to give another astonighing performance on stage, one that according to anyone who’s seen the play deservedly earned her a Tony Award. Well, this woman deserved that bloody Oscar for Antoine Ficher, her previous collaboration with Denzel Washington and then every other role she played since. Even in a simply entertaining mainstream popcorn flick like Suicide Squad, her turn is Oscar-worthy once again. She’s just an INCREDIBLE actress and my God so inspiring thanks to her mesmerizing talent and career choices. She’s had to endure a whole lot rejections to get to a point where she could play a character as juicy as Annalise Keating in HTGAWM and she sure as hell deserved it from the very get go. You can see it even in a tiny role like Far From Heaven. You can see her when you watch her speak about her craft. I’m just so in love with her and I really think it’s downright criminal she didn’t get the chances to win an Oscar for her mind-blowing turns in Doubt and The Help. Just watch Frankie & Alice and that’s where you see an actor shining in material not worthy of their incredible acting skills. Her turn was one undoubtedly worthy of an Oscar there as well. She’s just incredible and I hope she gets a long overdue Academy Award this year. Any choice like Jessica Chastain, Amy Adams, Isabelle Huppert or even past winners like Marion Cotillard would be great but my God Viola has to win at some point and I really felt the need to leave a comment about her deserving it so much that she has to get it as soon as possible.


    I’d be cool with Viola since I think she should have gotten it a few years back for “The Help” over Meryl Streep, provided it’s a good performance. Adams is excellent in “Arrival” and she’s had 5 previous nominations. Stone is terrific in “La La Land”, too.


      I think Viola would have won the Oscar if she was in the right category for “The Help”. Clearly it was a supporting role (unlike the category fraud of Alicia Vikander & Rooney Mara last year, or Julia Roberts for August Osage County). The list goes on.
      But, even more pointedly, Davis should have won that Supporting Oscar for “Doubt”, not Penélope Cruz who played the cliched, crazy, but sexy stereotypical Latina in Vicky Christina Barcelona. It was here that Ms. Davis was robbed. Not when she lost to Streep.


        You’re so right. Nobody can deny how spectacular Meryl was in The Iron Lady, she truly deserved that Oscar.


* Frankie and Alice? What the hell? Don’t even know how that Halle Berry drama came to mind when I was typing this. Anyway, her movie, Lila & Eve with Jennifer Lopez isn’t really memorable as a astandalone movie anyway, but her turn is just hunting. I mean for me that woman is just a goddess among humans basically, that’s what she is.


Sally Field Susan forget them….


If they find a distributor for “Maudie” do not be surprised to see Sally Hawkins’ name pop up. I would feel more confident on this call had “Maudie” had a large venue showing at Telluride in town. All three in town were small venues and the last one was packed but it may be too little to late for Telluride. Interested to hear how it does at TIFF.


Natalie Portman for Jackie!


What about Sonia Braga in Aquarius? The film was infamously snubbed by Brazil’s committee for foreign language, but it will have a release in LA in October and might have a chance in other categories…

    Waldemar Lopes

    I hope the great Sonia Braga has her magnificente performance recognized, since her role in “Aquarius” does make a difference – a woman in her sixties who can really defy anyone who is in her way. Not the grandma people are used to seeing in films. She is gutsy, sensual and above all, she is a fighter.

Pablo Valenzuela

Mary Elizabeth Winstead for 10 Cloverfield Lane maybe?

Jason Diego

France has chosen Elle for Best Foreign Film so Huppert is back in the game !


What about Sonia Braga for Aquarious?


    She was brilliant in Aquarius, lets see if the Academy recognizes the talents that aren’t from the U.S or Europe next year.

Chris Nolan

Marion Cotillard. My gosh, let it become true.


Emma stone tem que levar essa!


Natalie Portman is going to win her second oscar next year and all the haters and fans of emma stone and amy adams gonna cry


let Emily blunt win this time
hopefully she takes Oscar home this time




Hard to count Jennifer Lawrence and Meryl Streep out of the race.. they could get in with a nomination.


Jessica Chastain seems like an obvious contender with Miss Sloane – how has she disappeared from the list?

samantha williams

Viola Davis + son issue = Doubt
Viola Davis + son issue = The Help
Viola Davis + seemingly also son issue = Fences

Don’t get me wrong, I love Viola Davis, but she keeps giving same powerhouse performances with snot…..and we have no time for this “overdue” narrative. Ask Peter O’Tooler or Glenn Close or even Amy Adams, it’s just not fair. Give the throphy to the best with no category frauds !

I guess I’ll call Emma Stone for La La Land !




I just saw Elle and Florence Foster Jenkins. I think Meryl Streep is doing what she knows to do the best but it’s not Oscar-worthy. Isabelle Huppert, underrated in our country, gave a powerful performance and I really she’ll get a nod. A simple and a complex character; brillantly played.


Calling it now– It’s Amy Adams for Arrival or Natalie Portman for Jackie.


Isabelle Huppert for sure — for sheer acting prowess generally and for giving one of the best performances in recent history. I am also a fan of Sally Hawkins (Maudie), Amy Adams (Nocturnal Animals), Tilda Swinton (A Bigger Splash), and I like the idea of Sonia Braga (Aquarius), Helena Bonham Carter (55 Steps) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead sneaking in. Please, no Jennifer Lawrence and Meryl Streep this year.


What about Sonia Braga in Aquarius? The film was infamously snubbed by Brazil’s committee for foreign language, but it will have a release in LA in October and might have a chance in other categories…+1


I agree with those who said Streep’s performance in “Florence Foster Jenkins” was good but not worthy of a nomination. And I love Stephen Frears too, but it just wasn’t a good film IMO. Not one of his best. I have yet to see most of the movies mentioned only because they haven’t been released in my area (Washington D.C.), but I would like to add Kate Winslet to the list of Actresses for her turn in “The Dressmaker”. She was fantastic. As was the film. It was nominated for 12 Australian Oscars and she won Best Actress.


    Never under estimate Meryl Streep. I believe with Viola Davis going Supporting, a slot opened for Streep. Annette Bening for the win, Emma Stone, Natalie Portman, Ruth Negga and Meryl Streep (who by the way was superb & HILARIOUS)!

      Michal L

      Annette Bening is not nominated


Isabelle Huppert indeed! She was the best.


Kristen Stewart for Cafe Society

Fábio Matos

What about Sonia Braga for Aquarious?


My hopes are with Tilda Swinton for A Bigger Splash. She blew my mind. Nuanced, powerful performance with HARDLY ANY DIALOGUE AND SPEAKING WHATSOEVER since her character has had throat surgery is mute for the most part. Intense movie. She deserves recognition for her work for sure.

Christian McCulloch

Krisha Fairchild in Krisha. Strongest performance I’ve see this year so far


Huppert will definitly be nominated and she deserves to win. Terrific performance in Elle.


How about Molly Shannon in “Other People” as a mother dying of cancer? She is truely amazing.


Huppert got a nomination at the Independend Spirit Awards. She probably will get a Oscar nod too. She’s on the way !

Martin Robert

Isabelle Huppert won Gotham Best Actress and got a Satellite Award nod. I’m pretty sure she’ll be in the list.


French actress Huppert just won the NYCCF Best Actress and got a nod to the Critic Choice Award! She’s in, you cannot snubb her.


Huppert is gaining momentum and I think there is an actual chance of winning now. I hope the list of nominees is as exciting as it can be – I love Streep and tolerate Natalie Portman as much as the next person, but I really don’t want them in the lineup this time. The other actresses are so much more exciting


And what about Sally Field in Hello, my name is Doris! Thought she was fabulous


It’s going to be a showdown between Amy Adams, Emma Stone, Natalie Portman, Jessica Chastain, and Hailee Steinfeld.


Kristen Stewart for Cafe Society best supporting actress / best actress 🙏




Can you stop updating Best Actor and not Best Actress ?


    It is incredibly odd that she has updated Best Actor 2 or 3 times since her last Best Actress update. Any explanation, Anne?

Chris L.

I hope Anne has this right and there is still hope of avoiding the knee-jerk place-holding Streep nomination for this year. Most other prognosticators have given up the ghost and reserved that spot for historic #20 (about half of which could be called deserved). Huppert might not have this much of a chance again – though if not for the subtitle barrier, she’d be the one setting records.




“Remember, in order to be a frontrunner we need to have seen the film.” If you haven’t seen all the contenders by today (Dec. 19), you’re sleeping on the job.


Amy was spectacular in Arrival and carried the whole movie by herself with a stellar performance!!Not to mention her five previous nominations in which she nailed all her characters!!I KNOW ITS AMY’S OSCAR TO TAKE THIS TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Thanks, dearest Anne !


Juliette Binoche doesn’t really count as a “foreign actress” considering her win and only other nomination were for The English Patient and Chocolat.

Elliot Thomas

Negga is a frontrunner surely


How about Kate Beckinsale (love and Friendship)? I think she should be in your long short lists? You never know. She might be Oscar’s morning biggest surprises? It was her carrer defining role yet. IF the movie was release in the late Fall. She could have been in the conversation.

Juha Tapani

I won’ t watch any movie starring Meryl Streep. Isabelle Huppert gave the best performance 2016 and you know it I do not care who will win, Isabelle Huppert, greatest living actress…Period




    Täyttä asiaa.

    Gerard Robinson

    Juha I adore Meryl Streep and her versatility but I do agree with you that Isabelle Huppert gave the best performance of the year in Elle. Ms. Huppert won most of the film critics awards including the creme de la creme New York Film Critics Award for Best Actress for both Elle and Things to Come plus Isabelle Huppert just won The Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama. No actress in over fifty years who has won The New York Film Critics Award Best Actress Award and a Golden Globe for Best Actress in Motion Picture Drama has not gone on to receive at least an Academy Award nomination and most often win as well.


    I will never watch another Meryl Streep movie again.Off camera – she should still let writers put words in her mouth because on her own, she is out of touch, arrogant and ridiculous.


Meryl Streep should keep her liberal “I haven’t worked in the real world for the last 40 years” mouth shut. The common working man knows what the liberal agenda has done to their lives.


    Cari – kindly take your Trump BS somewhere else.

Natalie portman's fan

Natalie portman will again win the academy award for best actress as Jackie Kennedy in “Jackie “

Michal L

Can you please update? Amy Adams is not nominated. Can you do it as soon as possible?


This is the worst “prediction” indiewire has ever created. Can we even call it a prediction? They didn’t predict?! They literally listed what each nominee has won and the critically and financial success each nominee has recieved. No critique of acting? No discussion of how Hollywood politics and campaigning factors in.


Isabelle Huppert SHOULD win, of course.

FSJ is a terrible movie and it’s a shame that Streep is nominated for it, over Amy Adams’s solid performance in Arrival. Seems they removed Amy last minute (for PC reasons…?) in favour of Negga.


natalie should win with jackie, she did an amazing job (if academy chooses emma i will be really upset because her acting was so average compared to the other woman)

Michal L

Why there’s no: WILL WIN & SHOULD WIN like usually at this time of the year????


    The will win, should win, and definitely the should have been there was the best part of the indiewire predictions.

Amin Barabarian

This is absolutely not a prediction when you don’t name the person you think who will win…

sonu singh

Her performance is always on the top

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