Oscars Predictions: Best Actress – Kristen Stewart and Global Pop Stars Could Dominate the Leading Awards Races

Variety's Awards Circuit is home to the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars and Emmys ceremonies from film awards editor Clayton Davis. Following history, buzz, news, reviews and sources, the Oscar and Emmy predictions are updated regularly with the current year's list of contenders in all categories. Variety's Awards Circuit Prediction schedule consists of four phases, running all year long: Draft, Pre-Season, Regular Season and Post Season. The eligibility calendar and dates of awards will determine how long each phase lasts and is subject to change.

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UPDATED: July 15, 2021

AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: If the top 20 contenders hold, as the early buzz suggests, this would present a field that the general public is very familiar with and are passionate about. If the internet image of Lady Gaga alongside her on-screen husband in “House of Gucci” suggests, she’ll be a fan favorite and in line for her second acting nomination following “A Star is Born.” The film critic and journalist world is already gearing up to pencil in the work of Jennifer Hudson’s portrayal of Aretha Franklin in “Respect,” and there could be a scenario where we see many former stars of “Twilight” leaving that image behind for good. With that, Kristen Stewart’s first looks as Princess Diana in “Spencer,” which will premiere at the Venice Film Festival, already has the awards jitters going. And that’s only three women mentioned. It looks to be dense in the top rankings this year. Expect another bloodbath to ensue.

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  1. Lady Gaga
    "House of Gucci" (MGM/United Artists Releasing)

    DIRECTOR: Ridley Scott
    SYNOPSIS: The story of how Patrizia Reggiani, the ex-wife of Maurizio Gucci, plotted to kill her husband, the grandson of renowned fashion designer Guccio Gucci.
    STARRING: Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Al Pacino, Salma Hayek, Jared Leto, Jack Huston, Jeremy Irons

  2. Frances McDormand
    "The Tragedy of Macbeth" (A24/Apple TV Plus)

    DIRECTOR: Joel Coen
    SYNOPSIS: A Scottish lord becomes convinced by a trio of witches that he will become the next King of Scotland, and his ambitious wife supports him in his plans of seizing power.
    STARRING: Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Brendan Gleeson, Corey Hawkins, Sean Patrick Thomas, Ralph Ineson, Brian Thompson

  3. Jennifer Hudson
    "Respect" (United Artists Releasing)

    DIRECTOR: Liesl Tommy
    SYNOPSIS: The life story of legendary R&B singer, Aretha Franklin.
    STARRING: Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker, Audra McDonald, Marlon Wayands, Mary J. Blige, Tituss Burgess, Tate Donovan

  4. Kristen Stewart
    "Spencer" (Neon)

    DIRECTOR: Pablo Larraín
    SYNOPSIS: During her Christmas holidays with the royal family at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England, Diana decides to leave her marriage to Prince Charles.
    STARRING: Kristen Stewart, Timothy Spall, Sally Hawkins, Sean Harris, Jack Farthing

  5. Haley Bennett
    "Cyrano" (MGM/United Artists Releasing)

    DIRECTOR: Joe Wright
    SYNOPSIS: Follows the life of Cyrano de Bergerac.
    STARRING: Peter Dinklage, Haley Bennett, Ben Mendelsohn, Brian Tyree Henry, Kelvin Harrison Jr.

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Passing Eduard Grau


  1. Tessa Thompson
    "Passing" (Netflix)

    DIRECTOR: Rebecca Hall
    SYNOPSIS: "Passing" follows the unexpected reunion of two high school friends, whose renewed acquaintance ignites a mutual obsession that threatens both of their carefully constructed realities.
    STARRING: Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga, André Holland, Alexander Skarsgård, Bill Camp

  2. Rachel Zegler
    "West Side Story" (20th Century Studios)

    DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg
    SYNOPSIS: An adaptation of the 1957 musical, West Side Story explores forbidden love and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds.
    STARRING: Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Mike Faist, Josh Andrés Rivera, Ana Isabelle, Corey Stoll, Brian d'Arcy James, Rita Moreno

  3. Jennifer Lawrence
    "Don't Look Up" (Netflix)†/††

    DIRECTOR: Adam McKay
    SYNOPSIS: The story of two low-level astronomers, who must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet earth.
    STARRING: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett, Rob Morgan, Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, Timothée Chalamet, Ariana Grande, Himesh Patel, Matthew Perry, Tyler Perry, Ron Perlman, Chris Evans, Mark Rylance, Michael Chiklis

  4. Ana de Armas
    "Blonde" (Netflix)

    DIRECTOR: Andrew Dominik
    : A fictionalized chronicle of the inner life of Marilyn Monroe.

    STARRING: Ana de Armas, Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, Julianne Nicholson

  5. Nicole Kidman
    "Being the Ricardos" (Amazon Studios)

    DIRECTOR: Aaron Sorkin
    SYNOPSIS: Follows Lucy and Desi as they face a crisis that could end their careers and another that could end their marriage.
    STARRING: Javier Bardem, Nicole Kidman, J.K. Simmons, Nina Arianda, Alia Shawkat, Jake Lacy, Clark Gregg, Tony Hale

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SHIVA BABY, Rachel Sennott, 2020. © Utopia / Courtesy Everett Collection Courtesy Everett Collection


  1. Alicia Vikander
    "Blue Bayou" (Focus Features)††

    DIRECTOR: Justin Chon
    SYNOPSIS: As a Korean-American man raised in the Louisiana bayou works hard to make a life for his family, he must confront the ghosts of his past as he discovers that he could be deported from the only country he has ever called home.
    STARRING: Justin Chon, Alicia Vikander, Mark O'Brien, Emory Cohen

  2. Penélope Cruz
    "Parallel Mothers" (Sony Pictures Classics)

    DIRECTOR: Pedro Almodóvar
    SYNOPSIS: The story of two mothers who give birth the same day.
    STARRING: Penélope Cruz, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, Israel Elejalde, Julieta Serrano, Rossy de Palma

  3. Jessica Chastain
    "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" (Searchlight Pictures)

    DIRECTOR: Michael Showalter
    SYNOPSIS: An intimate look at the extraordinary rise, fall and redemption of televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker.
    STARRING: Jessica Chastain, Andrew Garfield, Cherry Jones, Vincent D'Onofrio

  4. Rooney Mara
    "Nightmare Alley" (Searchlight Pictures)††

    DIRECTOR: Guillermo del Toro
    SYNOPSIS: An ambitious carny with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words hooks up with a female psychiatrist who is even more dangerous than he is.
    STARRING: Bradley Cooper, Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, David Strathairn, Willem Dafoe, Ron Perlman, Mary Steenburgen, Holt McCallany, Clifton Collins Jr, Richard Jenkins, Tim Blake Nelson

  5. Emilia Jones
    "CODA" (Apple TV Plus)

    DIRECTOR: Sian Heder
    SYNOPSIS: As a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) Ruby is the only hearing person in her deaf family. When the family's fishing business is threatened, Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her love of music and her fear of abandoning her parents.
    STARRING: Emilia Jones, Troy Kotsur, Daniel Durant, Marlee Matlin, John Fiore, Eugenio Derbez, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Amy Forsyth, Kevin Chapman

  6. Rachel Sennot
    "Shiva Baby" (Utopia)

    DIRECTOR: Emma Seligman
    SYNOPSIS: At a Jewish funeral service with her parents, a college student runs into her sugar daddy.
    STARRING: Rachel Sennott, Molly Gordon, Polly Draper, Danny Deferrari, Fred Melamed, Dianna Agron

  7. Odessa Young
    "Mothering Sunday" (Sony Pictures Classics)

    DIRECTOR: Eva Husson
    SYNOPSIS: A maid living in post-World War I England secretly plans to meet with the man she loves before he leaves to marry another woman.
    STARRING: Odessa Young, Josh O'Connor, Olivia Colman, Colin Firth, Sope Dirisu, Glenda Jackson

  8. Jodie Comer
    "The Last Duel" (20th Century Studios)††

    DIRECTOR: Ridley Scott
    SYNOPSIS: King Charles VI declares that Knight Jean de Carrouges settle his dispute with his squire by challenging him to a duel.
    STARRING: Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, Ben Affleck

  9. Emma Stone
    "Cruella" (Disney Plus)

    DIRECTOR: Craig Gillespie
    SYNOPSIS: A live-action prequel feature film following a young Cruella de Vil.
    STARRING: Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, Emily Beecham, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Mark Strong

  10. Taylour Paige
    "Zola" (A24)

    DIRECTOR: Janicza Bravo
    SYNOPSIS: A stripper named Zola embarks on a wild road trip to Florida.
    STARRING: Taylour Paige, Riley Keough, Nicholas Braun, Ari'el Stachel, Colman Domingo

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Bruised…Directed by Halle Berry…Halle Berry’s directorial debut follows a former MMA fighter struggling to regain custody of her son and restart her athletic career. Courtesy of TIFF


  1. Julianne Moore
    "Dear Evan Hansen" (Universal Pictures)††

    DIRECTOR: Stephen Chbosky
    SYNOPSIS: Film adaptation of the Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical about Evan Hansen, a high school senior with Social Anxiety disorder and his journey of self-discovery and acceptance following the suicide of a fellow classmate.
    STARRING: Ben Platt, Kaitlyn Dever, Amandla Stenberg, Nik Dodani, Colton Ryan, Danny Pino, Julianne Moore, Amy Adams

  2. Gemma Chan
    "Eternals" (Marvel Studios)††

    DIRECTOR: Chloé Zhao
    SYNOPSIS: The saga of the Eternals, a race of immortal beings who lived on Earth and shaped its history and civilizations.
    STARRING: Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Brian Tyree Henry, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, Don Lee, Gil Birmingham, Harish Patel, Kit Harington, Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie

  3. Melissa Barrera
    "In the Heights" (Warner Bros)

    DIRECTOR: Jon M. Chu
    SYNOPSIS: A film version of the Broadway musical in which Usnavi, a sympathetic New York bodega owner, saves every penny every day as he imagines and sings about a better life.
    STARRING: Anthony Ramos, Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Melissa Barrera, Olga Merediz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Gregory Diaz IV, Jimmy Smits

  4. Margot Robbie
    "Untitled David O. Russell Film" (20th Century Studios)†/††

    DIRECTOR: David O. Russell
    SYNOPSIS: Plot details kept under wraps.
    STARRING: Margot Robbie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Zoe Saldana, Timothy Olyphant, Robert DeNiro, John David Washington, Christian Bale, Michael Shannon, Rami Malek, Mike Myers, Andrea Riseborough, Alessandro Nivola, Matthias Schoenaerts, Chris Rock, Taylor Swift

  5. Judi Dench
    "Belfast" (Focus Features)††

    DIRECTOR: Kenneth Branagh
    SYNOPSIS: A young boy and his working class family experience the tumultuous late 1960s.
    STARRING: Judi Dench, Caitriona Balfe, Jamie Dornan, Ciarán Hinds, Jude Hill

  6. Anya Taylor-Joy
    "Last Night in Soho" (Focus Features)††

    DIRECTOR: Edgar Wright
    SYNOPSIS: A young girl, passionate about fashion design, is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s where she encounters her idol, a dazzling wannabe singer. But 1960s London is not what it seems, and time seems to fall apart with shady consequences.
    STARRING: Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, Diana Rigg, Rita Tushingham, Terrence Stamp

  7. Tilda Swinton
    "Memoria" (Neon)

    DIRECTOR: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
    SYNOPSIS: A woman from Scotland, while traveling in Colombia, begins to notice strange sounds. Soon she begins to think about their appearance.
    STARRING: Tilda Swinton, Jeanne Balibar, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Juan Pablo Urrego, Elkin Diaz, Agnes Brekke

  8. Claire Foy
    "The Electrical Life of Louis Wain" (Amazon Studios)††

    DIRECTOR: Will Sharpe
    SYNOPSIS: English artist Louis Wain rises to prominence at the end of the 19th century for his surreal cat paintings.
    STARRING: Benedict Cumberbatch, Claire Foy, Andrea Riseborough, Toby Jones, Sharon Rooney

  9. Halle Berry
    "Bruised" (Netflix)

    DIRECTOR: Halle Berry
    SYNOPSIS: A disgraced MMA fighter finds redemption in the cage and the courage to face her demons when the son she had given up as an infant unexpectedly reenters her life.
    STARRING: Halle Berry, Adan Canto, Shamier Anderson

  10. Olivia Colman
    "The Lost Daughter" (No U.S. Distribution)

    DIRECTOR: Maggie Gyllenhaal
    SYNOPSIS: A woman's beach vacation takes a dark turn when she begins to confront the troubles of her past.
    STARRING: Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, Dakota Johnson, Peter Sarsgaard, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Ed Harris

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“Bergman Island” IFC Films


  1. Vicky Krieps
    "Bergman Island" (IFC Films)††

    DIRECTOR: Mia Hansen-Løve
    SYNOPSIS: A filmmaking couple go to the island where Ingmar Bergman was inspired and find that the lines between reality and fiction start to blur.
    STARRING: Vicky Krieps, Tim Roth, Mia Wasikowska, Anders Danielsen Lie

  2. Jessica Barden
    "Holler" (IFC Films)

    DIRECTOR: Nicole Riegel
    SYNOPSIS: To pay for her education, and the chance of a better life, a young woman joins a dangerous scrap metal crew.
    STARRING: Jessica Barden, Pamela Adlon, Austin Amelio

  3. Scarlett Johansson
    "Black Widow" (Marvel Studios)

    DIRECTOR: Cate Shortland
    SYNOPSIS: A film about Natasha Romanoff in her quests between the films Civil War and Infinity War.
    STARRING: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle, Olga Kurylenko, William Hurt, Ray Winstone, Rachel Weisz

  4. Melissa McCarthy
    "The Starling" (Netflix)

    DIRECTOR: Theodore Melfi
    SYNOPSIS: After Lilly suffers a loss, a combative Starling takes nest beside her quiet home. The feisty bird taunts and attacks the grief-stricken Lilly. On her journey to expel the Starling, she rediscovers her will to live and capacity for love.
    STARRING: Melissa McCarthy, Chris O'Dowd, Kevin Kline, Timothy Olyphant, Daveed Diggs, Skyler Gisondo, Laura Harrier, Loretta Devine

  5. Tang Wei
    "Decision to Leave" (No U.S. Distribution)

    DIRECTOR: Chan-wook Park
    SYNOPSIS: A detective falls for a mysterious widow after she becomes the prime suspect in his latest murder investigation.
    STARRING: Tang Wei, Park Hae-il

  6. Jenna Ortega
    "The Fallout" (HBO Max)

    DIRECTOR: Megan Park
    SYNOPSIS: High schooler Vada navigates the emotional fallout she experiences in the wake of a school shooting. Relationships with her family, friends and view on the world are forever altered.
    STARRING: Jenna Ortega, Maddie Ziegler, Shailene Woodley, Julie Bowen, John Ortiz, Niles Fitch, Will Ropp

  7. Patti Harrison
    "Together Together" (Bleecker Street)

    DIRECTOR: Halle Berry
    SYNOPSIS: When a young loner becomes the gestational surrogate for a single man in his 40s, the two strangers come to realize this unexpected relationship will challenge their perceptions of connection, boundaries and the particulars of love.
    STARRING: Ed Helms, Patti Harrison

  8. Emily Blunt
    "A Quiet Place Part II" (Paramount Pictures)

    DIRECTOR: John Krasinski
    SYNOPSIS: Following the events at home, the Abbott family now face the terrors of the outside world. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realize the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats lurking beyond the sand path.
    STARRING: Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Cillian Murphy, Noah Jupe

  9. Millicent Simmonds
    "A Quiet Place Part II" (Paramount Pictures)

    DIRECTOR: John Krasinski
    SYNOPSIS: Following the events at home, the Abbott family now face the terrors of the outside world. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realize the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats lurking beyond the sand path.
    STARRING: Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Cillian Murphy, Noah Jupe

  10. Camila Cabello
    "Cinderella" (Amazon Studios)

    DIRECTOR: Kay Cannon
    SYNOPSIS: A modern musical version of the classic fairy tale "Cinderella."
    STARRING: Camila Cabello, Billy Porter, Idina Menzel

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Courtesy of Warner Bros.

† = no release date scheduled / could be delayed / may not be eligible
†† = could be campaigned in the lead or supporting categories / original or adapted screenplay categories


Coming soon…


The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. The most awarded films in Oscar history are “Ben-Hur,” “Titanic” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” at 11 statuettes. The most nominated films in Academy history are “All About Eve,” “Titanic” and “La La Land” at 14. “La La Land” is the only film of the three to have lost best picture. The biggest Oscar “losers,” meaning most nominated and walk away with zero awards, are 1977’s “The Turning Point” and 1985’s “The Color Purple” at 11 each. Katharine Hepburn has the most awards in this category with four. In contrast, 13 women have won two each – Ingrid Bergman, Bette Davis, Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Jodie Foster, Olivia de Havilland, Glenda Jackson, Vivien Leigh, Frances McDormand, Luise Rainer, Meryl Streep, Hilary Swank and Elizabeth Taylor. Streep has the most nominations in this category with 17, while Hepburn has 12, and Davis has 10. The oldest winner is Jessica Tandy at 80 for “Driving Miss Daisy,” The oldest nominee is Emmanuelle Riva at 85 for “Amour.” The youngest winner at 21 is Marlee Matlin (“Children of a Lesser God”), and the youngest nominee at 9 is Quvenzhané Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”).

2022 Academy Awards Predictions

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Actor
  • Best Actress
  • Best Supporting Actor
  • Best Supporting Actress
  • Best Original Screenplay
  • Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Best Animated Feature
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Best Sound
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Original Score
  • Best Original Song
  • Best Documentary Feature
  • Best International Feature
  • Best Animated Short
  • Best Documentary Short
  • Best Live-Action Short

2021 Oscars predictions are here.

About the Academy Awards (Oscars)

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. Since 1927, nominees and winners are selected by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). 17 branches are represented within the near 10,000 person membership. The branches are actors, associates, casting directors, cinematographers, costume designers, directors, documentary, executives, film editors, makeup and hairstylists, marketing and public relations, members-at-large, members-at-large (artists’ representatives), music, producers, production design, short films and feature animation, sound, visual effects and writers.

  • The date for the 94th Oscars will be held on Sunday, March 27, 2022