Oscars Predictions: Best Actress – Is Zendaya About to Crash the Oscars After Winning the Emmy?

Clayton Davis
·4 min read

Variety's Awards Circuit is home to the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars from Film Awards Editor Clayton Davis. Following Academy Awards history, buzz, news, reviews and sources, the Oscar predictions are updated regularly with the current year's 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. Eligibility calendar and dates of awards will determine how long each phase lasts and will be displayed next to revision date.

To see all the latest predictions, of all the categories, in one place, visit THE COLLECTIVE.


UPDATED: Nov. 19, 2020 (PRE-SEASON)

Netflix announces the upcoming release of “Malcolm & Marie” with Zendaya, and after winning her Emmy award for “Euphoria,” which pairs again with Sam Levinson, this could be one of those late-breaking contenders that makes an impact. Netflix has confirmed that the film will be submitted for the SAG and Independent Spirit Awards, both will be crucial since she won’t be eligible for LAFCA and NYFCC awards as they’re sticking to a calendar year. If she were to go the distance in best actress, she would be the first actor to win both an Oscar and Emmy in the same year since Helen Hunt won for “As Good As It Gets” and NBC’s “Mad About You.” Other movements include Carey Mulligan gaining momentum for “Promising Young Woman,” as the film continues to make its way through the industry. After scoring Gotham nominations, Carrie Coon (“The Nest”) and Nicole Beharie (“Miss Juneteenth”) move up the charts.

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


  1. Vanessa Kirby
    "Pieces of a Woman" (Netflix)

  2. Frances McDormand
    "Nomadland" (Searchlight Pictures)

  3. Viola Davis
    "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" (Netflix)

  4. Carey Mulligan
    "Promising Young Woman" (Focus Features)

  5. Sophia Loren
    "The Life Ahead" (Netflix)


  1. Meryl Streep
    "The Prom" (Netflix)

  2. Zendaya
    "Malcolm & Marie" (Netflix)

  3. Michelle Pfeiffer
    "French Exit" (Sony Pictures Classics)

  4. Kate Winslet
    "Ammonite" (Neon)

  5. Andra Day
    "The United States vs. Billie Holiday" (Paramount Pictures)


  1. Carrie Coon
    "The Nest" (IFC Films)

  2. Nicole Beharie
    "Miss Juneteenth" (Vertical Entertainment)

  3. Yeri Han
    "Minari" (A24)

  4. Rashida Jones
    "On the Rocks" (Apple TV Plus)

  5. Elisabeth Moss
    "Shirley" (Neon)

  6. Anya Taylor-Joy
    "Emma." (Focus Features)

  7. Julia Garner
    "The Assistant" (Bleecker Street)

  8. Sienna Miller
    "Wander Darkly" (Lionsgate)

  9. Elisabeth Moss
    "The Invisible Man" (Universal Pictures)

  10. Radha Blank
    "The 40-Year-Old Version" (Netflix)


  1. Amy Adams
    "Hillbilly Elegy" (Netflix)

  2. Sidney Flanigan
    "Never Rarely Sometimes Always" (Focus Features)

  3. Emily Blunt
    "Wild Mountain Thyme" (Bleecker Street)

  4. Rachel Brosnahan
    "I'm Your Woman" (Amazon Studios)

  5. Jessie Buckley
    "I'm Thinking of Ending Things" (Netflix)

  6. Jo Ellen Pellman
    "The Prom" (Netflix)

  7. Gal Gadot
    "Wonder Woman 1984" (HBO Max/Warner Bros.)

  8. Meryl Streep
    "Let Them All Talk" (HBO Max)

  9. Rosamund Pike
    "Radioactive" (Amazon Studios)

  10. Cristin Milotti
    "Palm Springs" (Hulu/Neon)


  1. Katherine Waterston
    "The World to Come" (Bleecker Street)

  2. Haley Bennett
    "Swallow" (IFC Films)

  3. Clare Dunne
    "Herself" (Amazon Studios)

  4. Julianne Moore
    "The Glorias" (Roadside Attractions)

  5. Annette Bening
    "Hope Gap" (Roadside Attractions)

  6. Yiefi Liu
    "Mulan" (Disney Plus)

  7. Lesley Manville
    "Ordinary Love" (Bleecker Street)

  8. Zazie Beetz
    "Nine Days" (Sony Pictures Classics)

  9. Kristin Scott Thomas
    "Military Wives" (Bleecker Street)

  10. Charlize Theron
    "The Old Guard" (Netflix)


  • Cathy Ang,“Over the Moon” (Netflix)

  • Jessica Chastain,“The 355” (Universal Pictures)

  • Hong Chau,“Driveways” (FilmRise)

  • Elizabeth Debicki,“The Burnt Orange Heresy” (Sony Pictures Classics)

  • Beanie Feldstein,“How to Build a Girl” (IFC Films)

  • Anne Hathaway,“The Witches” (HBO Max)

  • Kate Hudson,“Music” (HayWay Films)††

  • Lily James,“Rebecca” (Netflix)

  • Zainab Jah,“Farewell Amor” (Wavelength Productions)

  • Riley Keough,“The Lodge” (Neon)

  • Diane Lane,“Let Him Go” (Focus Features)

  • Lena Olin,“The Artist’s Wife” (Strand Releasing)

  • Issa Rae,“The Photograph” (Universal Pictures)

  • Margot Robbie,“Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)” (Warner Bros.)

  • Margot Robbie,“Dreamland” (Vertical Entertainment)

  • Jessica Rothe,“All my Life” (Universal Pictures)

  • Keri Russell,“Antlers” (Searchlight Pictures)

  • Amy Ryan,“Lost Girls” (Netflix)

  • Eliza Scanlen,“Babyteeth” (IFC Films)

  • Kristen Stewart,“Happiest Season” (Hulu)

  • Alicia Vikander,“The Glorias” (Roadside Attractions)

  • Jacki Weaver,“Stage Mother” (Momentum Pictures)

  • Evan Rachel Wood,“Kajillionaire” (Focus Features)

  • Maddie Zegler,“Music” (HayWay Films)††

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

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. The most awarded actress is Katharine Hepburn with four wins over 12 nominations. Meryl Streep holds the record for the most nominations in best actress with 17 individual nominations with two wins for “Sophie’s Choice” and “The Iron Lady.”

Academy Awards Predictions (All Categories)

More from Variety

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.