Frontrunners are already forming in the Oscar race for Best Supporting Actress race, according to early predictions at Gold Derby. While many films in contention have not yet been released, some were seen recently at the Toronto, Venice and/or Telluride Film Festivals. We’ve confirmed most category placements with studios or campaigners, but some decisions are still outstanding.For example, Gold Derby lists Jennifer Lopez (“Hustlers”) in both lead and supporting races in our prediction center and the placement fates of all three “Bombshell” actresses — Margot Robbie, Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman — have yet to be determined.
Here are the current top 10 supporting actress picks according to racetrack odds based upon our users’ predictions as of Sept. 17:
1. Laura Dern (“Marriage Story,” premieres at the Venice film festival): No one does fierce, feisty and whip-smart better than Dern (witness her work on the second season of HBO’s “Big Little Lies”). She plays the crackerjack lawyer who represents Scarlett Johansson‘s TV actress in her contentious divorce case against her playwright husband (Adam Driver). She gets to butt heads with opposing lawyers in the form of a fusty Alan Alda and aggressive Ray Liotta.
Oscar history: Dern was nominated as a lead for her sweet but over-sexed young woman who changes the lives of the family that takes her in as a domestic servant in 1991’s “Rambling Rose.” She earned a supporting slot as Reese Witherspoon‘s sickly mother in 2015’s “Wild.
2. Annette Bening (“The Report,” opens in theaters on Nov. 15 and streams on Amazon Prime starting Nov. 29): Senator Dianne Feinstein is lucky enough to be brought to life by Bening in this drama about the Senate Intelligence Committee as she looks into the accusations of torture being used by the CIA after the 9/11 attacks. Adam Driver is Congressional staffer Daniel Jones who is tasked to lead the investigation into the brutal interrogation techniques as the White House tries to block the truth from getting out.
Oscar history: Bening’s seductive con woman in 1990’s “The Grifters” was the source of her lone supporting actress nod. She was also nominated for three lead roles including her cheating housewife in 1999’s “American Beauty,” as an aging theater diva whose young lover falls for an ingenue his own age in 2004’s “Being Julia,” and as Julianne Moore‘s lesbian partner in the comedy “The Kids Are All Right.”
3. Shuzhen Zhou (“The Farewell”): The Chinese actress is Awkwafina‘s Nai Nai — grandmother — whose terminal cancer diagnosis is kept from her so she can enjoy being in the company of her family as they stage a fake wedding as an excuse to gather together. Her understated performance defines her matriarch as a beacon of love, joy, strength and playfulness.
4. Margot Robbie (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”): Robbie encapsulates starlet Sharon Tate’s natural glow, sweet nature and sense of fun perfectly — especially in the scene in the movie theater when she is watching herself in the 1968 spy comedy “The Wrecking Crew,” starring Dean Martin as Matt Helm. For those who know their Manson Family lore, this is a way to pay homage to this beautiful gifted blonde whose life and career was cut brutally short.
Oscar history: The Aussie actress was nominated for her lead role as disgraced Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding in 2017’s “I, Tonya.”
5. Jennifer Lopez (“Hustlers”): While J.Lo’s category fate is up in the air for now, her performance in this fact-inspired tale of Manhattan strippers who cash in on their wealthy male customers after the economic downturn of 2008 caused quite a buzz after premiering at the Toronto film festival. Any 50-year-old actress who can pull off a 10-minute pole dance like that deserves some kind of honor. Consider that she hasn’t had a live-action film with a positive score on Rotten Tomatoes since 1998’s “Out of Sight.” Who doesn’t love a comeback.
6. Meryl Streep (“The Laundromat,” opens Sept. 27): A widowed tourist (Streep) takes a dream vacation to Panama City, only to get entangled in an illicit offshore tax scheme — dubbed the Panama Papers — that is run by a pair of shady yet seductive lawyers (Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas).
Oscar history: Streep has been nominated four times as a supporting actress — for 1978’s “The Deer Hunter,” 2002’s “Adaptation” and 2014’s “Into the Woods.” She won for the 1979 divorce drama “Kramer vs. Kramer.” And she has had more than few lead nods, too.
7. Meryl Streep (“Little Women,” opens Dec. 25): Streep takes on Aunt March, a traditionalist when it comes to minding one’s manners. In Louisa May Alcott’s novel, strong-willed March sister Jo (Saoirse Ronan) works as the rich widow’s companion and takes care of her spoiled lap dog. The two butt heads regularly but, deep down, this dowager does want the best for her four nieces
8. Scarlett Johansson (“Jojo Rabbit,” opens Oct. 18): In this World World War II comical satire, Johansson is a German single mother of a misfit lad who attends a Hitler youth camp and speaks to an imaginary fuhrer. His world goes topsy-turvy when he realizes his mom rebels against nationalism by hiding a Jewish girl in their attic. Somehow, Johansson has never been nominated.
9. Florence Pugh (“Little Women,” opens Dec. 25): The “Lady Macbeth” actress is the youngest March sister, Amy, who is rather full of herself and scorns the ambitions of her tomboyish sibling Jo (Saoirse Ronan) to make a living as a writer. The character, who often is considered the least likable character in the novel, has no guilt about being materialistic and tries to impress by being a proper lady.
10. Nicole Kidman (“Bombshell,” opens Dec. 20): This true-life drama about the Fox News sexual abuse scandal involving the cable news channel’s founder Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) focuses on three of the female on-air talents who helped bring forth his downfall. Kidman plays Gretchen Carlson who, after her contract with Fox expired in June of 2016, filed a lawsuit against Ailes claiming sexual harassment. Her act compelled other victims to come forward and the chairman and CEO was forced to resign while Fox settled her suit with a payment of $20 million.
Oscar history: Kidman has been nominated four times. She was a lead actress candidate for the 2001 jukebox musical “Moulin Rouge!,” and the 2010 drama “Rabbit Hole” while winning for her take on depressive author Virginia Woolf in 2002’s “The Hours.” She also competed as a supporting actress in the 2016 biopic “Lion.”
Be sure to make your Oscar nominee predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before nominees are announced on January 13. And join in the fun debate over the 2020 Academy Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.