Best Actress in a Leading Role 2016

Most recent update: Oct. 19, 2016

The big festivals breathed new life into the awards prospects for La La Land – and Emma Stone, by extension. But will her musical performance topple Viola Davis‘ dramatic transfer of a Tony Award-winning role? Or will Annette Bening ride her veteran status to the Oscar stage? Speaking of Bening, will Natalie Portman become her new Hilary Swank? And what of Amy Adams?


My official predictions include only performances in films set for U.S. distribution in 2016. The process of guessing who will and will not make the cut always seems to be collaborative, so feel free to leave a comment – here or on Twitter – that addresses any relevant information or contenders you feel should be included.


  1. Emma Stone for La La Land (more)

  2. Viola Davis for Fences (more)

  3. Natalie Portman for Jackie (more)

  4. Annette Bening for 20th Century Women (more)

  5. Amy Adams for Arrival (more)

Next in Line?

  1. OUT OF LIMBO!!! Jessica Chastain for Miss Sloane (more)
  2. OUT OF LIMBO!!! Taraji P. Henson for Hidden Figures (more)
  3. Ruth Negga for Loving (more)
  4. Isabelle Huppert for Elle (more)
  5. Kate Beckinsale for Love & Friendship (more)

Other Possibiities

  1. Meryl Streep for Florence Foster Jenkins (more)
  2. Sally Field for Hello, My Name is Doris (more)
  3. Amy Adams for Nocturnal Animals (more)
  4. Rachel Weisz for Denial (more)
  5. Marion Cotillard for Allied (more)
  6. Sonia Braga for Aquarius (more)

Long Shots

  1. Isabelle Huppert for L’avenir, or Things to Come (more)
  2. Jennifer Lawrence for Passengers (more)
  3. Rebecca Hall for Christine (more)
  4. Emily Blunt for The Girl on the Train (more)
  5. Krisha Fairchild for Krisha (more)
  6. Blake Lively for The Shallows (more)
  7. Anna Gunn for Equity (more)
  8. Kristen Stewart for Personal Shopper (more)
  9. Kristen Stewart for Café Society (more)
  10. Kate Winslet for Collateral Beauty (more)
  11. Alicia Vikander for The Light Between Oceans (more)
  12. Mary Elizabeth Winstead for 10 Cloverfield Lane (more)


  • Jessica Chastain for The Zookeeper’s Wife (more)
  • Emilia Clarke for Me Before You (more)
  • Elle Fanning for How to Talk to Girls at Parties (more)
  • Elle Fanning for The Neon Demon (more)
  • Catherine Frot for Marguerite (more)
  • Melanie Lynskey for The Intervention (more)
  • Rooney Mara for The Secret Scripture (more)
  • Melissa McCarthy for The Boss (more)
  • Helen Mirren for Eye in the Sky (more)
  • Madina Nalwanga for Queen of Katwe (more)
  • Alicia Vikander for Tulip Fever (more)
  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead for The Hollars (more)

In Limbo

I currently regard these performances as ineligible, because a) the films might not hit theaters this year due to distributors’ schedules, b) the films may not be finished and distributed in time, or c) the films lack stateside distribution altogether. Some films fit under all three categories.

Of course, as anyone who follows this mess knows, things can change at a moment’s notice.

  • Michelle Pfeiffer for Beat-up Little Seagull (more)
  • Dakota Fanning for Brimstone (more)
  • Taraji P. Henson for Hidden Numbers (more)
  • Annette Bening for The Seagull (more)
  • Helena Bonham Carter for 55 Steps (more)
  • Charlize Theron for The Last Face (more)
  • Lois Smith for Marjorie Prime (more)
  • Rooney Mara for Una (more)
  • Emma Thompson for Alone in Berlin (more)
  • Olivia Cooke for Katie Says Goodbye (more)
  • Cynthia Nixon for A Quiet Passion (more)
  • Ana María Cardona Gómez for Share with Me Your Brightest Colors (more)
  • Adele Haenel for La fille inconnue, or The Unknown Girl (more)
  • Julianne Moore for Can You Ever Forgive Me? (more)
  • Chloë Grace Moretz for Brain on Fire (more)
  • Elle Fanning for A Storm in the Stars (more)
  • Rosamund Pike for A United Kingdom (more)
  • Dakota Fanning for American Pastoral (more)
  • Dakota Fanning for Please Stand By (more)
  • Soko for La Danseuse, or The Dancer (more)
  • Emma Watson for The Circle (more)
  • Tatiana Maslany for The Other Half (more)
  • Marion Cotillard for From the Land of the Moon, or Mal de pierres (more)
  • Jessica Biel for The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (more)

A photo of Patricia Arquette in Boyhood (via Collider).


Box Office


Dates and Distribution






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