Oscar's Best Actress 2020

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Who gets your vote for Oscar's Best Actress?
0%
0 votes
Cynthia Erivo, HARRIET
16.67%
2 votes
Scarlett Johansson, MARRIAGE STORY
16.67%
2 votes
Saoirse Ronan, LITTLE WOMEN
8.33%
1 votes
Charlize Theron, BOMBSHELL
58.33%
7 votes
Renée Zellwaeger, JUDY
12 votes. You may not vote on this poll




The five performances nominated as Best Actress are...

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Renée Zellweger, Judy
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Only seen Johansson and Ronan, but they may be my two favorite actresses right now. Johansson had a phenomenal year with this and JoJo. Hope she gets the nod.
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Cynthia Erivo became a Broadway star in the musical adaptation of The Color Purple which won her the Tony and Drama Desk awards. If you aren't a devotee of the Great White Way her notice-me-moment in film came a couple years ago in Bad Times at the El Royale, a show stopper where she sings a stunning acapella rendition of The Supremes hit "You Can't Hurry Love" to mask Jeff Bridges' character digging up a floor (the soundtrack also features her singing classics like The Isley Brothers' "This Old Heart of Mine" and Sam & Dave's "Hold On (I'm Coming)"). She had a nice supporting turn in Steve McQueen's Widows that same year and she is about to explode onto the small screen portraying Aretha Franklin in the National Geographic series "Genius" (season one featured Geoffrey Rush as Albert Einstein, season two was Antonio Banderas as Pablo Picasso). This is not to be confused with the upcoming big screen biopic Respect starring Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson as the Queen of Soul, which will almost surely be an awards contender next year. The British-born Erivo's first starring role as an ass-kicking Harriet Tubman has netted her a Best Actress nomination. She is actually a double nominee, also acknowledged as one of the songwriters for the tune "Stand Up" from the movie, which is one of the five competing for Original Song.

Those are Harriet's only two nominations and Ms. Erivo won't hear her name called as Best Actress this time out, but she is a ball of talent and at thirty-three seems poised to see her star keep rising.



This is Charlize Theron's third Oscar nomination as Best Actress. She won just about every award there was for her scary transformation into Aileen Wuornos in Monster and her nod for North Country lost out to Reese Witherspoon's turn as June Carter Cash in Walk the Line. While not the massive physical transformations of Monster or Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road she does a nice job capturing the well known media personality Megan Kelly in Jay Roach's Bombshell. The movie seemed to be poised to capitalize and comment upon the Me Too climate. But the overall film was a letdown. Theron and Robbie's nominations as well as a Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling nod are all the film managed with The Academy. Theron won't win her second Oscar here, but she continues to make strong choices as an actor and a producer.



Saoirse Ronan is about as big an Oscar darling as a young actress can be without actually having won yet. Her first nomination came at the age of thirteen in support of Atonement (Tilda Swinton won for Michael Clayton). She made a seamless transition into adult roles and got her first Best Actress nominations for Brooklyn (Brie Larson won for Room) and Lady Bird (Frances McDormand won for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri). Her re-teaming with Greta Gerwig has produced the second Oscar nod for portraying Jo March. Winona Ryder was nominated for Gillian Armstrong's 1994 version, losing to Jessica Lange for Blue Sky. Saoirse won't win this time out either, but it truly seems like only a matter of time before she does. At not quite 26-years-old at this pace she might have a dozen more opportunities over the course of her career.



Scarlett Johansson had never had an Oscar nomination before this year. It wasn't for a lack of good work. Early on she impressed in Ghost World, Lost in Translation, and Woody Allen's Match Point as well as some Oscar-baity fare like The Girl with the Pearl Earring and The Other Boleyn Girl and she watched as Vicky Cristina Barcelona won an Oscar for her co-star Penélope Cruz. Shortly after that she was introduced as Natasha Romanoff in Iron Man 2 as The Marvel Cinematic Universe began to quickly expand in that first phase. Her Black Widow became a key player in that series of mega blockbusters, with her standalone prequel about to be released. But in between some of the Avengers choas she had herself a year catching up with two nominations at once for playing the title character's plucky mother in Jojo Rabbit and more impressively proving what acting chops she has at the center of Noah Baumbach's Marriage Story. The script and her performance masterfully vacillates between her being sympathetic and cruel. The anger, uneasiness, pain, and love come bursting off the screen. Her Best Actress nomination is a worthy one, and while she doesn't seem to have the awards season momentum to win if there is an upset in any of the four acting categories this year it would be Johansson who pulls it off.



Renée Zellweger now has four nominations. Her first was for the original Bridget Jones's Diary (Halle Bery won for Monster's Ball) and the very next year she returned with Chicago (Nicole Kidman won for The Hours). Honestly Zellweger probably should have won for her Roxie Hart in that Best Picture winning Musical so when she returned to the ceremony for the third year in a row, this time as Best Supporting Actress in Cold Mountain, they made up for it and got her the trophy. I don't think Cold Mountain is one of her better performances, but it was one of those Oscar slights they could remedy almost right away...so they did. Her career had built quickly from Empire Records and Jerry Maguire and Nurse Betty to those three nominations and a win. In the years after that attention she made the obligatory Bridget Jones sequels as well as some presitge projects like Cinderella Man and Miss Potter, but as she neared fifty with her ingenue days behind her she didn't seem to have a place anymore. The bonus to aging out of the twentysomething roles is that you age into some potentially more interesting parts. Judy Garland is one of the beloved and tragic figures of Hollywood. She had a 45-year career but died at the age of only 47! While she had been a movie star since she was young her offscreen traumas remained hidden for a long time until they manifest themselves and aged her prematurely. The film Judy deals with Garland's last year as she attempted a comeback in London. Her health was deteriorating thanks to years of drug and alcohol abuse, but her talent kept trying to shine through, right up until the end.

Like last year's Best Actor win for Rami Malick's work as Freddie Mercury the Academy can be a bit of sucker for those performances that accurately mimic well known artists. Judy Garland is an enduring icon, and while almost any drag show for the last fifty years showcases stunning Garland tributes nightly Zellweger excels in the dramatic moments while serving up the requisite lounge performance of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". Garland never won a competitive Oscar herself. She was nominated twice, for the 1954 version of A Star is Born (Grace Kelly won for The Country Girl) and in support of the Judgment at Nuremberg (Rita Moreno won for West Side Story). But there may be some vindication for both Judy by proxy and for Renée not winning for Chicago this Oscar night.



This is off-topic but since we don't usually do threads for the tech awards: man, the makeup people really did some great, subtle little things to make Charlize Theron look like Megyn Kelly. There's some little change there to the nose or something that really sells it. Maybe not super showy like some makeup and hairstyling nominees are, but that's great stuff.
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Scarlet deserves it. Renee will take it, though.
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How I rank them..


5. Ervio - Harriet might be the worst film nominated this year(outside technical categories) I was surprised by how little I liked this film. I mean how do you screw up a film about a women who rescues people from plantations...try and give her super hero powers. Also Ervio's character transition is not only unbelievable but feels deeply inauthentic.


4. Ronan - Little Women is good but I often feel like Ronan is a good actress is good films but never a wining performance. I didn't feel wowed by anything she did in this film, I thought she was just there.


3. Scarjo - Marriage Story is a very strong film and if Johannsen gets the upset more power to her. The problem for me was that Driver felt like a lead and she was just a supporting figure in the story.


2. Renee - funny voice and sad story aside, Zelwegger was good though at times I felt I was watching a less astute episode of Bojack Horseman, if Oscars award trajedy than Zelwegger will win.


1. Theron - I'd argue this was the performance of the year for me. Theron completely became Megyn Kelly and anchored a very tricky film in Bombshell





After winning virtually every major leading actress award since November Renée Zellweger finished off her set by adding the Oscar, her second as an actress. She joins Frances McDormand, Cate Blanchett, Jodie Foster, Jane Fonda, Jessica Lange, Maggie Smith, Dianne Wiest, Sally Field, Hillary Swank, and Olivia de Havilland as the living actresses with a pair of Oscar wins (Meryl Streep as three).



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
I think I fell asleep twice during her speech. Ramble on.
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Suspect's Reviews



I thought all of her speeches this season were pretty insufferable. The same four people kept getting up to accept these acting awards and every time they called her name I groaned, not due to the quality of her work, but because of her inane speeches with this resurrected Southern drawl of hers.



It was just one platitude after another, punctuated by "ums."

I'm not gonna give someone guff for being unprepared when they win some shocking upset, but it's weird when someone is a huge favorite and doesn't maybe sit down to try to think of something really nice and memorable to say.



In my view Zellweger gave a good performance in Judy. It's just that it wasn't good Judy Garland.

Anyone interested in an excellent Judy Garland portrayal should watch Judy Davis in Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows miniseries (2001).

~Doc



How I rank them..


5. Ervio - Harriet might be the worst film nominated this year(outside technical categories) I was surprised by how little I liked this film. I mean how do you screw up a film about a women who rescues people from plantations...try and give her super hero powers. Also Ervio's character transition is not only unbelievable but feels deeply inauthentic.


4. Ronan - Little Women is good but I often feel like Ronan is a good actress is good films but never a wining performance. I didn't feel wowed by anything she did in this film, I thought she was just there.


3. Scarjo - Marriage Story is a very strong film and if Johannsen gets the upset more power to her. The problem for me was that Driver felt like a lead and she was just a supporting figure in the story.


2. Renee - funny voice and sad story aside, Zelwegger was good though at times I felt I was watching a less astute episode of Bojack Horseman, if Oscars award trajedy than Zelwegger will win.


1. Theron - I'd argue this was the performance of the year for me. Theron completely became Megyn Kelly and anchored a very tricky film in Bombshell
Wow...really?



I don't have strong opinions about all that, but I will say that I'm really impressed by the subtle things I've seen from Bombshell. I was blown away by the tiny makeup (and prosthetic, I assume?) tweaks they employed to make Theron look like Megyn Kelly, and in the clip I saw she really nailed the way she speaks, too. The former isn't as elaborate as some huge movie monster makeup, and the latter isn't as showy as some giant dramatic stageplay-style histrionics, but I found both really impressive.




Having seen the 20 performances my rankings would be


1. Theron
2. Pitt
3. Phoenix
4. Driver
5. Pesci
6. Zellweger
7. Scarjo(MS)
8. Pryce
9. Dern
10. Scarjo(JR)
11. Hanks
12. Robbie
13. Pugh
14. Bates
15. Banderas
16. Pacino
17. Dicaprio
18. Ronan
19. Hopkins
20. Erivo