The award for Best Actress goes to…
Tonight, five talented women are up for consideration as Hollywood’s Best Actress at the 2017 Academy Awards. For Isabelle Huppert and Ruth Negga, this is their first chance at winning a coveted Oscar, while Natalie Portman and Meryl Streep have won before. Emma Stone, who is nominated for her role in La La Land, has been nominated before but never won.
For each actress, tonight has the potential to be a defining moment in their career. Let us take a closer look at the nominees and their critically acclaimed roles.
Isabelle Huppert as Michele Leblanc in Elle
Isabelle Huppert has already received critical acclaim for her role as Michele Leblanc in the popular French film Elle. She won Best Actress at all the major critics choice awards, at the Independent Spirit Awards, and at the Golden Globes. The film is a complicated thriller that begins with Michele getting raped by a masked intruder in her home. It received a seven-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival and was directed by Paul Verhoeven’s.
Ruth Negga as Mildred Loving in Loving
Loving is a historical drama about the life, romance, and Supreme Court case of Richard and Mildred Loving. Because Richard was white and Mildred was black, the couple experienced prejudice, imprisonment, and was ostracized from their home state due to anti-miscegenation laws that made interracial couples illegal. Ruth Negga received nominations for her role in Loving at many other awards shows this season. This is her first Academy Award nomination.
Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy in Jackie
Natalie Portman won an Oscar in 2011 for her performance as a mentally ill ballerina in the film Black Swan. Tonight, she is nominated again for her role as the titular character in the historical bio-pic Jackie. Portman plays former first lady Jackie Kennedy as she deals with the aftermath of her husband’s assassination. Portman is up against some stiff competition and won’t be attending tonight’s ceremony due to her pregnancy.
Emma Stone as Mia Dolan in La La Land
Emma Stone is the favorite for her role as Mia Dolan in La La Land. La La Land is a musical about a struggling actress and Jazz musician who fall in love. Set against the backdrop of modern Los Angeles, the film has received critical acclaim and swept every other awards show held this season. Therefore, it is expected to take home the most Oscars at tonight’s Academy Awards. Emma Stone, who was nominated in 2015 for her role in Birdman, is poised to win.
Meryl Streep as Florence in Florence Foster Jenkins
Florence Foster Jenkins is another historical picture on the list but is more light-hearted than the rest. Meryl Streep plays the New York heiress who became an Opera singer despite her inability to sing. Florence Foster Jenkins outperformed expectations at the box office and critics were generally delighted by the mix of comedy and drama presented. This is Meryl Streep’s 20th Academy Award nomination as a Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress, and she has won three times.
The general sense of this year’s awards show is decidedly nostalgic, with three of the five films taking place in another time period. La La Land is set in the modern era, but is reflective of Hollywood itself and a throwback to the town’s roots by being a musical. Elle is the only foreign film on the list. Will the Academy elevate Ruth Negga to stardom? Or will they give Meryl Streep a fourth Oscar?
Although each actress listed was recognized for her talent, only one can take home the prize.
[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]