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Oscars 2021

2021 Oscars Awards Best Actress nominees: who are the candidates?

The Award for Actress in a Leading Role at the Oscars 2021 will likely be announced near the end of the ceremony, ahead of Best Motion Picture.

The Award for Actress in a Leading Role at the Oscars 2021 will likely be announced near the end of the ceremony, ahead of Best Motion Picture.

The nominations for Best Actress for the 2021 Oscars Awards were announced on March 15, 2021. The Oscars 2021 are honouring films shown in 2020 (though due to the covid-19 pandemic the dates for the qualifying Los Angeles County run were from January 1 2020 to February 28, 2021).

Best Actress Nominations 2021

Viola Davis

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Andra Day

The United States vs Billie Holiday

Vanessa Kirby

Pieces of a Woman

Frances McDormand


Carey Mulligan

Promising Young Woman

When will Best Actress be announced?

The schedule of awards announcements has not been released, but expect the Best Actress category to come up near the end of the ceremony. Last year Best Actress was second last, after Best Actor and before Best Motion Picture.

The ceremony starts at 8pm ET, 5pm PT, so expect it sometime just before midnight ET and 9pm PT.

Who is going to win Best Actress?

This is a very tough one to call, with there being fairly solid arguments for each candidate to take the award. There’s a lot of momentum behind Nomadland, with it being the front runner for Best Picture, so McDormand could well find that pushes voters in her direction. Curiously she hasn’t been that fussed about the awards season, she didn’t connect to Zoom for the Globes, the SAGs or the Baftas, where she won.

Andra Day took the Golden Globe and that has no doubt put her performance front and central in the minds of the Academy members. The film itself is a rather mixed bag, but there’s no doubting the power of her performance.

Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman won Critics’ Choice and Independent Spirit Awards, though it’s not necessarily the kind of film the Academy rush to honour - avoiding ‘divisive’ as it’s been labelled tends to be their thing.

If the award was given for opening scenes, then Vanessa Kirby would be taking this award hands down. The unbroken take of her giving birth is a powerful depiction of visceral terror and pain. Alas, the rest of her performance is not at the same level, but she can’t be ruled out.

Our pick though is Viola Davis, not only is her representation of the legendary blues singer simply clearly worthy of an Oscar, Davis’ strong and consistent message on the way Hollywood treats Black actors is one the Academy is likely keen to approve, so getting Davis out front and center feel like a good call for them. Davis won Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal as Rose Maxon in 2016 film 'Fences', it feels to us like her time as come to take Best Actress.


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