Audiences got their first looks at Emma Stone, Brie Larson, Julianne Moore and Jennifer Lawrence’s winning Best Actress performances at the fall film festivals Telluride and Toronto, so we may not have a clear view of this category until September.
So far early contenders include last year’s fall festival breakouts, newcomer Florence Pugh (Roadside Attractions’ “Lady Macbeth”) and “Blue Jasmine” Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins, who gives a heartbreaking performance as real-life arthritic painter Maud Lewis in “Maudie” (Sony Pictures Classics, June 16). At Sundance, “An Education” nominee Carey Mulligan earned raves as a southern farmer in “Mudbound,” along with Danielle Macdonald as a rapper competing with the boys in “Patti Cake$,” which played well at Sundance and Cannes.
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Cannes 2017 revealed more clues, as Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman (“The Hours”) won a special award for her four films there, including her resilient schoolmistress in Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled.” She could earn a fifth Oscar nomination. Deaf discovery Millicent Simmonds broke out in the silent half of Todd Haynes’ “Wonderstruck.”
And the ceiling smashing $103-million opening of Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” pushed Israeli star Gal Gadot — who had already scored in “Batman v. Superman”– into global stardom. She earned raves for the winning warmth she brought to superhero Wonder Woman and human-scale Diana Prince, and could earn a nomination, even though comic-book spectacles don’t tend to extend to acting nods.
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Woody Allen’s upcoming “Wonder Wheel” could reveal whether Kate Winslet could enjoy the same kind of awards season run that Cate Blanchett had in the lead-up to her “Blue Jasmine” win. And the combo of Meryl Streep and Steven Spielberg in Watergate drama “The Papers” (Fox, December 22) could yield Oscar gold.
A list of early possibilities is below. None will be considered for Frontrunner until I see them.
Sally Hawkins (“Maudie”)
Nicole Kidman (“The Beguiled”)
Danielle Macdonald (“Patti Cake$”)
Carey Mulligan (“Mudbound”)
Florence Pugh (“Lady Macbeth”)
Annette Bening (“Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool”)
Jessica Chastain (“Molly’s Game”)
Judi Dench (“Victoria and Abdul”)
Gal Gadot (“Wonder Woman”)
Sally Hawkins (“The Shape Of Water”)
Keira Knightley (“The Aftermath”)
Brie Larson (“The Glass Castle”)
Jennifer Lawrence (“Mother!”)
Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri”)
Rooney Mara (“Mary Magdalene”)
Millicent Simmonds (“Wonderstruck”)
Emma Stone (“Battle of The Sexes”)
Meryl Streep (“The Papers”)
Daniela Vega (“A Fantastic Woman”)
Katherine Waterston (“The Current War”)
Kristen Wiig (“Downsizing”)
Kate Winslet (‘The Mountain Between Us,” “Wonder Wheel”)