2015 Best Actress Oscar Power Rankings


We’re quickly approaching the 2015 Oscars. Here, you can see my 2015 Best Actress predictions in order of likelihood for a nomination. But only films that have premiered (in theaters or at a festival) will be considered for my 2015 Oscar predictions. As unknowns become knowns, they’ll be added (or knowingly omitted) from this list. And only films/directors/performances that have a genuine shot at a 2015 Oscar nomination will be brought up in this space.

This year’s crop of Best Actress has been called weak—a yearly tradition that never turns out to be true. Sure, the pool of traditional candidates might not be as deep as that of Best Actor, but all that means is that Oscar voters need to burrow into that screener pile more than they might otherwise. I think it’s exciting.

Four women stand above the rest as of this Thanksgiving update. Below them are a few stealthy candidates, none of which seems particularly likely on the surface, but someone has to get in, so we might be in for a big surprise nomination morning.

2015 Best Actress Predictions

1.) Julianne Moore, Still Alice (prev. 1)
This category was rudderless until Still Alice and Julianne Moore broke through at TIFF 2014. She’s the clear frontrunner, playing a woman diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. It’s way too early to talk seriously about 2015 Oscar winners, but of all the frontrunners in the major categories, this one seems closest to the end zone.

2.) Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl (prev. 2)
We went into the year knowing Rosamund Pike was a contender. Roles as good as Amy in Gone Girl don’t come along often, and Pike is someone who’s shown great potential in supporting roles over the last few years (An Education, Pride & Prejudice). Now that the film has come and Pike is received best-in-show notices, we can take her Oscar candidacy very seriously. Also worth noting is the fact that the film is a genuine phenomenon. She’s in it for the long haul.

3.) Reese Witherspoon, Wild (prev. 3)
Here’s another performance in a film that premiered at TIFF. The film didn’t exactly set the festival on fire, but no one had a bad thing to say about Witherspoon’s performance. With Fox Searchlight in her corner, she’ll get nominated.

4.) Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything (prev. 4)
Another TIFF performance. It basically rates right alongside Witherspoon in terms of likelihood to be nominated (which is to say it’s a very likely nominee). The Theory of Everything is the stronger contender across the board, but Witherspoon, I guess, gets the slightest edge based on pedigree.

5.) Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Belle (prev. 5)
A huge drop-off occurs here, as the first four actresses on this list are near locks, while the remaining actresses (starting with Mbatha-Raw here) all seem like longshots. But someone has to get in, so look out for the Belle breakthrough, who’ll have Fox Searchlight in her corner. It’s a great performance, and the film resonates with people.

6.) Hilary Swank, The Homesman (prev. 6)
So Tommy Lee Jones’ Western won’t follow the same path Alexander Payne’s Nebraska did last year (lukewarmly received at Cannes, a hit on the fall festival circuit). Still, Swank is getting some career-best notices for her work here. She’s worth keeping an eye on.

7.) Amy Adams, Big Eyes (prev. N/A)
Many thought this could have been Adams’s year, but Big Eyes isn’t the contender it seemed like on paper.

8.) Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night (prev. 7)
The subtitle-phobic will make sure Cotillard’s performance in the Dardennes Brothers’ latest doesn’t get in. But with such a shallow pool of contenders, I’m still considering it a possibility.

9.) Shailene Woodley, The Fault in Our Stars (prev. 8)
A big star in a big hit. Yes, it seems very unlikely, but stranger things have happened.