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Oscar 2021 predictions: Best actress and best supporting actress

Naomi Gordon
·4-min read
Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

From Good Housekeeping

We might have to wait a bit longer for the Oscars to kickstart the (virtual) awards season this year, but we're already excited by the fresh and familiar talent contending for best actress and best supporting actress this year.

The global pandemic has impacted the industry - causing delays to productions and in some sad cases, permanent shutdown - and a third national lockdown in the UK has left the future of cinemas hanging in the balance.

But there are still lots of great new films you can stream online now (or very soon), and stunning performances to take in.

Here are the stars generating awards chatter with critically acclaimed performances in movies from last year and 2021, who could be vying for best actress and best supporting actress at the Academy Awards on 25 April...

Best actress

Zendaya - Malcolm & Marie

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

After making history with her Emmy win for her breathtaking performance in Euphoria, the actress has reunited with the HBO show's creator Sam Levinson for Netflix's "achingly romantic" black and white drama Malcolm & Marie. The 24-year-old star is also known for her roles in blockbusters The Greatest Showman, and Spider-man: Homecoming.

Frances McDormand - Nomadland

Photo credit: Searchlight Pictures
Photo credit: Searchlight Pictures


The actress is already the recipient of two Oscars - one for Fargo (1997), and one for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2018) - but could she make it third time a charm for her affecting portrayal of a 60-something woman in desperate search of employment in Chloe Zhao's understated Nomadland? We'll have to wait and see.

Talia Ryder - Never, Rarely, Sometimes

Photo credit: Amazon Prime
Photo credit: Amazon Prime


The 18-year-old actress gives such an authentic and heartbreaking performance in Eliza Hittman's profoundly affecting film about a young pregnant girl and her cousin (Talia) crossing state lines to get an abortion, we reckon she could be up for a nomination this year. With Broadway experience under her belt, Talia will also feature as Jet in Steven Spielberg's hugely-anticipated movie adaptation of West Side Story.

Viola Davis - Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

Viola Davis is one of the most decorated actresses in Hollywood, winning accolades for her performances on stage, TV and film. Having already won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in Fences (2017), a Primetime Emmy Award, and two Tony Awards, Viola is being tipped for Best Actress for her role in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom - an adaptation of August Wilson's play (as was Fences.) You can watch the film on Netflix HERE.

Kate Winslet - Ammonite

The Oscar-winning actress stars as trailblazing fossil hunter Mary Anning, who is sent to convalesce by the sea in 1840s England. There she meets a young woman - played by Saoirse Ronan - and the pair develop an intense relationship, altering both of their lives forever.

Best Supporting Actress

Youn Yuh-jung - Minari

The 73-year-old actress has already won the Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Actress and the Alliance of Women Film Journalists's Best Supporting Actress for her role as Soonja in Minari. Youn is also known for her role The Housemaid, and Netflix drama Sense8.

Glenn Close - Hillbilly Elegy

The legendary actress missed out on an Oscar for The Wife to Olivia Colman at last year's Academy Awards. The star's role in Hillbilly Elegy as writer JD Vance's grandmother Mamaw could see her being nominated for her eighth Oscar nomination. The film is available to watch now on Netflix. STREAM NOW

Maria Bakalova - Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

The 24-year-old Bulgarian actress stole the show in Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat sequel as his daughter Tutar Sagdiyev. The star has already picked up Best Supporting Actress at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards and the National Society of Film Critics Awards so she could be headed for Oscar glory, or for a nomination at the very least.

STREAM NOW

Olivia Colman - The Father

Photo credit: Film 4
Photo credit: Film 4


The Crown star - who won an Oscar in for The Favourite in 2018 - is receiving critical acclaim for her role in haunting and unflinching drama The Father. Olivia plays the caring yet frustrated daughter to Anthony Hopkins' patriarch who is suffering from dementia and losing his grip on reality.

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