16 Best Actress Oscar nominees or winners in musical biographic roles

There is a long Oscar tradition of nominating lead actresses who bring singing legends to musical life over  the years. The 2021 Best Actress race is no exception, what with Viola Davis bringing the Mother of the Blues to vivid life in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and Andra Day tackling a legendary jazz singer in “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.” Jennifer Hudson, who won a supporting trophy for a fictional singer in the 2006 musical “Dreamgirls,” was considered to be a likely contender for her portrayal of Aretha Franklin in “Respect.” But the COVID-19 pandemic caused the film’s opening date to move several times. It is now slated for August 13, 2021.

At the most recent Academy Awards, Renee Zellweger touched voters and won as Best Actress with her performance in “Judy” as singer and actress Judy Garland in her final years. Other champs in our photo gallery include Marion Cotillard (“La Vie en Rose”), Liza Minnelli (“Cabaret”), Barbra Streisand (“Funny Girl”) and Reese Witherspoon (“Walk the Line”). You’ll also find nominees such as Julie Andrews, Angela Bassett, Jessica Lange, Bette Midler, Diana Ross, Meryl Streep and more.