As we head into Oscar season, it’s hard to avoid the fact that at least on paper, Netflix could be dominating the season. Among the supporting actress candidates, long overdue Glenn Close (seven nominations) is looming large as Mawmaw, an Appalachian living in Ohio in Ron Howard’s “Hillbilly Elegy.” And Toni Collette, who has been overlooked since “The Sixth Sense” back in 1999, not only stars in Charlie Kaufman’s offbeat “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” (along with Rooney Mara), but Guillermo del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley” (Searchlight), which is unlikely to finish in time.
Making the cut-off will be Ryan Murphy’s musical adaptation of Broadway hit “The Prom,” starring Oscar perennials Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep. And Oscar regular Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything”) plays an astronaut heading home to a beleaguered Earth in George Clooney’s sci-fi thriller “The Midnight Sky.” Newbie Amanda Seyfried plays Marion Davies opposite Charles Dance as partner William Randolph Hearst in David Fincher’s “Mank,” about the development of Orson Welles and Herman Mankiewicz’s “Citizen Kane.”
One sureshot nomination will go to Oscar-winner Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”) as a daughter tangling with Anthony Hopkins in Sundance drama “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics), while veteran Debra Winger is back as Evan Rachel Wood’s mom in Miranda July’s offbeat Sundance family dramedy “Kajillionaire” (Focus). Four-time nominee Saoirse Ronan falls in love with Kate Winslet in Cannes selection “Ammonite” (Neon). Two-time winner Jodie Foster stars in Kevin MacDonald’s true Guantanamo Bay story “Prisoner 760” (BBC Films). “Mudbound” dual nominee Mary J. Blige gets to sing in Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect” (MGM). Also making a comeback bid is “Little Miss Sunshine” nominee Abigail Breslin as Matt Damon’s daughter accused of murder in Tom McCarthy’s “Stillwater” (Focus).
Seeking their first Oscar nod are Elisabeth Moss, who is more likely to score a supporting nod for Taika Waititi’s soccer drama “Next Goal Wins” (Searchlight) than her leading roles in “Shirley” and “The Invisible Woman,” German import Helena Zengel who stars opposite Tom Hanks and Mare Winningham in Paul Greengrass’s (“News of the World”), as well as Korean star Youn Yuh-jung, who broke out at Sundance in family farm drama “Minari” (A24). Newcomer Ariana DeBose (“Hamilton,” “The Prom”), takes Rita Moreno’s Oscar-winning role as spitfire Anita in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” (Twentieth Century/Disney), while Moreno herself plays a new supporting character. Also in the running for her first nomination is Elizabeth Debicki in “Tenet” (Warner Bros.).
Potential Oscar contenders are listed in alphabetical order. No movie will be deemed a frontrunner until I’ve seen it.
Olivia Colman (“The Father”)
Debra Winger (“Kajillionaire”)
Youn Yuh-jung (“Minari”)
Mary J. Blige (“Respect”)
Abigail Breslin (“Stillwater”)
Glenn Close (“Hillbilly Elegy”)
Toni Collette (“I’m Thinking of Ending Things”)
Elizabeth Debicki (“Tenet”)
Ariana DeBose (“West Side Story”)
Jodie Foster (“Prisoner 760”)
Nicole Kidman (“The Prom”)
Elisabeth Moss (“Next Goal Wins”)
Saoirse Ronan (“Ammonite”)
Amanda Seyfried (“Mank”)
Meryl Streep (“The Prom”)
Mare Winningham (“News of the World”)
Helena Zengel (“News of the World”)