Keisha Castle Hughes-Whale Rider
Diane Keaton-Something's Gotta Give
Samantha Morton-In America
Naomi Watts-21 Grams
Theron and Keaton were the only two women nominated both the Globes and SAG and eventually at the Oscars. Both women were snubbed at the BAFTAs. Naomi Watts was nominated at SAG and the BAFTA awards. The three of these women were the closest things to locks this year.
Hughes was nominated in Supporting at SAG, but there was a push for her to be lead, and like with Kate Winslet in The Reader she ended up in the right category. Samantha Morton came completely out of left field with her nomination, but was a strong contender.
After these eventual nominees, the strongest contenders were:
Evan Rachel Wood from Thirteen was the only performer nominated at Globes and SAG, but missed the Oscars.
Scarlett Johansson had two Globe nominations, one in Comedy/Musical for Lost in Translation, and one for Girl with the Pearl Earring; she was nominated for both in the BAFTA Lead Actress category.
Uma Thurman had a Globe nomination and BAFTA nomination for Kill Bill Volume One, Nicole Kidman got a Globe nomination for Cold Mountain. There was enough love for this film that made Kidman a contender. Patrica Clarkson snagged a SAG nomination for The Station Agent, hard to figure this one out, but it also received a SAG ensemble nomination.
Including the eventual nominees, and counting both Johansson's performances twice there were 10 strong contenders in this category. This year appears to have to have a similar situation, except this many of this year's contenders come from strong Best Picture contenders, which is rare. None of the 2003 nominees were in films that were nominated, or even close to being nominated for Best Picture, so this will shake things up, and may make this slate of nominees tough to predict.
Where they stand now?
1-Emma Stone-La La Land-Land is the BP front runner, Stone is previous Oscar nominee in what is seen as lighthearted lovely film. Stone also sings and dances which helps.
2-Natalie Portman-Jackie-I think Portman will make up a lot of ground in this divisive political climate. Many of the Hollywood liberals may want to honor a performance that recognizes the beauty of Camelot, Jackie, and the performance itself.
I believe these are the only two locks, and that the other contenders are fighting for the three remaining slots. My order on who comes next changes daily.
3-Amy Adams-Arrival-Adams has five other nominations; she is well liked especially among actors, and I think Arrival will be boosted by a decent box office. Adams also gives a fantastic performance, and could be a spoiler this season.
4-Ruth Negga-Loving-When I hear people talk about Loving the first thing I hear people say is how much they loved her performance. Negga is a relative newcomer, but I think actors will respond to her and this role.
5-Annette Benning-20th Century Women-I am Isabellwavering on her, I know she has support, and is well liked and will campaign hard, but I wonder how much this film will have an impact. The buzz has waned, but I think her strong Hollywood support will keep her here.
At the moment these look like a solid five based on word of mouth, and buzz, but there is still a ton of time left.
6-Meryl Streep-Florence Foster Jenkins-Never underestimate Ms. Streep, this film will play well on screener, but none have gone out yet. This is also feels like a performance that would get Streep a nomination in any other year, and she is in the running.
7-Isabelle Huppert-Elle-Foreign language films/foreign produced films have gotten many actresses nominated in this category over the last few years, and Huppert is overdue for a nomination. I think the subject matter may prevent people from watching, but she is is still a strong contender, and may snag a Globe nomination.
8-Taraji P. Henson-Hidden Figures-Figures finally screened, and it bodes well that there was tons of heart, and some sadness that elevated this film. Henson has been nominated before, and her strong presence on TV and in popular culture may help her.
9-Jessica Chastain-Miss Sloane-Another film that recently screened at AFI, and there were many positive mentions for Chastain, and the way she exudes and embodies this character in a fantastic way.
All of these women stand a strong chance to be nominated, there is no certainty, but I am excited that this category has numerous strong contenders.