The Rundown 2017: Actress

For our eighth Rundown article, we look at a category with a history of bold performances. After the jump, you’ll find our winner and runner-up predictions for Best Actress as well as general commentary about the race. Tuesday, we’ll cover two categories that have never had an impact on any other Oscar categories, but from where one of the directors of this year’s Best Picture nominees won his first Oscar.

Best Actress

Winner Predictions

  • Sally Hawkins – The Shape of Water
  • Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outiide Ebbing, Missouri (WL O) (PP O) (TB O) (TL O)
  • Margot Robbie – I, Tonya
  • Saoirse Ronan – Lady Bird
  • Meryl Streep – The Post

Runner-Up Predictions

  • Sally Hawkins – The Shape of Water (WL O) (TB R) [New] (TL O)
  • Saoirse Ronan – Lady Bird (PP O)

(color and symbol key at bottom of page)

Wesley Lovell: Before the season started, I would have said Sally Hawkins’ mute portrayal in The Shape of Water had a better shot at the Oscar than anyone. However, the tides have turned and one actress has dominated the season more than I ever thought she would. Heading towards a second Oscar, Frances McDormand has won almost every important precursor imaginable, which puts her on a collision course with Oscar. Hawkins still has a shot for an upset, especially if her film goes into sweep mode. Margot Robbie took a hit when I, Tonya underperformed in the nominations. Saoirse Ronan is once again one of the best actresses nominated and will once again go home empty-handed. That leaves Meryl Streep, the only actress you can probably completely count out this year. McDormand will win, but it’s Hawkins and Ronan who have the best shots at an upset.
Peter J. Patrick: This seems to have come down to a two-way race between former winner Frances McDormand and now three-time nominee Saoirse Ronan with Sally Hawkins an outside threat. I think the always good McDormand will prevail, but a win for the equally splendid Ronan would as fine an outcome.
Tripp Burton: This was a category that looked in December like it might be one of the most competitive of the Oscar season but is now looking a little set in stone. Frances McDormand has won every televised prize so far, which is usually a good sign that the Oscar is inevitable. Add that she is the sort of beloved Hollywood actress who most people would feel deserves two Best Actress prizes and she seems to make the most sense. She still has competition from both Sally Hawkins and Saoirse Ronan, especially if their films become juggernauts Oscar night, but I’m not voting against McDormand at this point.
Thomas La Tourrette: At this point, cases could be made for all but Meryl Streep to win. This definitely is a difficult category to be sure of. It seems that McDormand will be the likely winner. It has been over 20 years since McDormand won and it seems likely that she will repeat. Trying to decide who might upset her is actually the harder part. With the Golden Globes and SAG wins, she definitely is the frontrunner. But the other women are all so good that it is hard for me to be sure of that. Sally Hawkins actually has more precursor awards, but probably the ones that matter the most went to McDormand. Saorise Ronan has a few precursors herself, and probably some goodwill left over from not winning for Brooklyn a few years back. Margot Robbie is on her first nomination, but had a rather transformative role in I, Tonya. Streep was fine in The Post, but has definitely been better in other films. I think that McDormand gets another door stop, but any of the others could easily score an upset win. It will be close.


Appears on Four Lists
Appears on Three Lists
Appears on Two Lists

Wesley Lovell Peter Patrick Tripp Burton Thomas LaTourrette
[New] = New Prediction
[Return] = Prior Prediction Returning
(O) = Original Prediction
(R) = Rundown Series

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