Like that seen with the nominees for the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, the talented people on the Best Actress list is considerable. The nominees for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role are Sally Hawkins, Frances McDormand, Margot Robbie, Saoirse Ronan and Meryl Streep.

Before getting to the crux of the article and predicting a possible winner, the lack of a person of colour in the Best Actress line up is overtly apparent. Were there no performances turned in by African American, Hispanic or black actresses worthy of a Best Actress nomination?

Sally Hawkins as Elisa Esposito in the Guillermo del Toro directed fantasy adventure drama “The Shape of Water” (2017)
Hawkins

Hawkins, nominated for the award for her performance as Elisa Esposito in the Guillermo del Toro directed fantasy adventure drama “The Shape of Water,” has been part of the entertainment industry for more than 20 years.

Even though Hawkins has dyslexia, the quality of her work has been nothing but exemplary.

Playing a diverse range of characters, Hawkins has appeared in television productions such as “Casualty,” “Doctors,” “Tipping the Velvet,” “Fingersmith,” “Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky” and “Little Britain.”

In 2014, the actress could be seen in the Paul King directed “Paddington” playing Mary Brown. Based on characters created by children’s book author Michael Bond, Hawkins reprised her role for the more recently released “Paddington 2.”

Hawkins, a 1998 graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, is equally at home treading the boards of live theatre as she is with performing for television and film cameras.

In 1998 Hawkins could be seen at the York Theatre Royal playing Juliet Capulet in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”

Other Shakespeare productions the thespian appeared in are “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Much Ado About Nothing.” Performed at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Hawkins played Hermia and Hero, respectively.

Further to staged Shakespeare plays, Hawkins was seen playing Eleanor in a television adaptation of “Henry VI Part 1.”

Along with “Richard II,” “Henry IV, Part 1,” “Henry IV, Part 2,” “Henry V,” “Henry VI Part 2” and “Richard III,” “Henry VI Part 1” part of the two season mini-series “The Hollow Crown.”

Frances McDormand as Mildred in the Martin McDonagh directed crime drama “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (2017)
McDormand

For her performance as Mildred in the Martin McDonagh directed crime drama “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” McDormand was nominated for the much-coveted golden statuette.

If you recall, in 1997, McDormand was nominated for and won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance as Marge Gunderson in the 1996 Joel CoenEthan Coen co-directed “Fargo.”

Having already picked up the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role, there is a good chance McDormand will see the same success at the Academy Awards.

With having graduated in 1979 from West Virginia’s Bethany College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre, in 1982, McDormand went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Yale School of Drama.

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is not the only high-profile drama McDormand has worked on. In the late 1980s, the actress appeared in both “Raising Arizona” and “Mississippi Burning.”

Further to the McDonagh directed crime drama, in three decades of working within the entertainment industry, McDormand has accumulated 63 acting credits.

In the mid-1980s, the actress could be seen in the popular police drama “Hill Street Blues.” From there, she went on to appear in both “Spenser: For Hire” and “The Twilight Zone.”

Margot Robbie in the title role of the Craig Gillespie directed biographical dramedy “I, Tonya” (2017)
Robbie

Robbie plays the title character in the Craig Gillespie directed biographical dramedy “I, Tonya.” It is for her work in this film, Robbie has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

Like a lot of Australian entertainment professionals, during her early career, Robbie could be seen in the popular soap opera “Neighbours.” Further to Robbie, to illustrate the significance of this soap opera, other prominent Australian actors that appeared in “Neighbours” include Alan Dale, Guy Pearce, Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, and the Hemsworths: Liam, Luke and Chris.

From “Neighbours,” Robbie went on to appear in the short lived American period “Pan Am.” While “Pan Am” was a quality production, it did not garner audience levels ABC was looking for in a prime-time drama. Consequently, it was cancelled after only 14 episodes televised.

With having played Harley Quinn, Robbie is scheduled to reprise this DC Comics character in no fewer than four films, inclusive of “Untitled Standalone Harley Quinn Film,” “Untitled Joker-Harley Quinn Project,” “Gotham City Sirens,” and “Suicide Squad 2.”

Saoirse Ronan in the title role of the Greta Gerwig directed dramedy “Lady Bird” (2017)
Ronan

For her title role in the Greta Gerwig directed “Lady Bird,” Ronan picked up a nomination for the Best Actress award. If you are not familiar with Ronan’s work, it includes but is not limited to “Atonement” (2007), “City of Ember” (2008), “The Lovely Bones” (2009), “Byzantium” (2012), “The Host” (2013) and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (2014).

This is not the first time Ronan has been nominated for an Academy Award. In 2008, for her portrayal of the 13-year-old Briony Tallis in the 2007 Joe Wright directed romantic period drama “Atonement,” Ronan was nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

In “Atonement,” when seen aged 18-years-old and as an elderly lady, Briony is also played by Romola Garai and Vanessa Redgrave, respectively.

In 2016, Ronan made her theatrical debut in a Walter Kerr Theatre staged production of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” in which she played Abigail Williams.

Meryl Streep as Kay Graham in the Steven Spielberg directed biographical period drama “The Post” (2017)
Streep

In anyone surprised Streep has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role?

Considering the quality of the actress’ work, you shouldn’t be.

Spanning almost 50 years, Streep’s career is exemplary. With credits such as “The Deer Hunter” (1978), “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979), “Sophie’s Choice” (1982), “Out of Africa” (1985), “Postcards from the Edge” (1990), “The Bridges of Madison County” (1995), “The Hours” (2002), “The Devil Wears Prada” (2006), “Mamma Mia!” (2008) and “The Iron Lady” (2011),  describing the actress’ career as accomplished is an understatement.

Despite this point, of the 20 Academy Award nominations Streep has received during her career, it is surprising the actress has only successfully picked up three. For her portrayal of Joanna Kramer in the 1979 Robert Benton directed Academy Award winning drama “Kramer vs. Kramer,” Streep received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Three years later, for playing the title role in the Alan J. Pakula directed “Sophie’s Choice,” Streep received the award for Best Actress.

The coming awards ceremony sees Streep with her twenty-first Academy Awards nomination. In the Steven Spielberg directed biographical period drama “The Post,” Streep plays Kay Graham.

To lend historical context to the film, Graham was the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, “The Washington Post.” A graduate of the University of Chicago, Graham oversaw the publication of the newspaper during its coverage of Watergate and the eventual resignation of President Richard Nixon.

The focus of Spielberg’s film, spanning the four presidencies, is Graham’s successful unprecedented battle between the press and the government.

This is of course not the only time Streep has played a historical figure.

In 2011, for a performance that can only be described as being extraordinary, Streep more than earned the Best Actress award for her portrayal of the now late Baroness Margaret Thatcher in the Phyllida Lloyd directed biographical drama “The Iron Lady.”

Prediction

The Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role could go to any of the nominated ladies. Even though it was difficult to select an actor for the male counterpart award, it is even more tricky to select an actress for this award.

Streep as Graham in “The Post”

Each of the actresses nominated turned award winning performances. Having been nominated for 18 Best Actress awards for her title role performance, Robbie has won five of the awards with a further five award ceremonies pending. That of course includes the Academy Awards.

Despite the many awards Robbie has garnered for her work on “I, Tonya,” one should not ignore Ronan. With no fewer than 25 nominations for her work on “Lad Bird,” Ronan has seen just as much success as Robbie. Of the numerous awards Ronan was nominated for, the actress has seen eleven of them come her way.

Although the numbers are impressive, with the way in which Streep played Graham, part of me hopes to see her pick up the Academy Award for Best Actress.

For the purposes of selecting an individual actress, the predicted winner is Meryl Streep.

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