The Oscar for Best Actress has seemingly become very predictable, but let's run down the nominees to see if there's any potential for an upset.
The race for Best Actress at this year's Oscars has mostly boiled down to one contender, but it's always possible that another nominee could come out of nowhere to take the victory. Brie Larson's performance in Room has received rave reviews from the jump, and her momentum continues with victories at various award shows.
But there are a few actresses who could be hot on her tail. Let's break down the Best Actress nominees in a ranking from least likely to win to most likely.
5. Jennifer Lawrence - Joy
Joy was hyped up as a major project for several months leading up to its actual release in December. But when reviews started coming out, it became clear that this wasn't going to be the major contender people thought it would be. Regardless, Lawrence was able to get a nomination for her performance as entrepreneur Joy Mangano. Her performance is notably understated compared to her manic roles in such movies as Silver Linings Playbook or American Hustle, but she does carry the whole film. However, she just won her first Oscar three years ago and there's no indication the Academy is ready to give her another at the age of 25.
4. Cate Blanchett - Carol
This is Blanchett's seventh Oscar nomination, with two wins under her belt. Her performance in Carol is that of elegance and beauty, showing off just how bewitched and charming the actress can be as socialite Carol Aird. She gets several big scenes throughout the movie that help her stand out, and in a weaker year she could have been cleaning up at all the awards. But considering she just won this category two years ago and her movie did not receive a Best Picture nomination as expected, it seems unlikely that she has enough support to win over the other contenders.
3. Charlotte Rampling - 45 Years
Some may have considered Rampling's inclusion here a big surprise on Oscar nominations morning, considering she was not nominated at the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards or BAFTA, but she did receive major critical praise. In 45 Years, Rampling plays Kate Mercer, a woman who learns devastating facts about her husband the same week as their 45th wedding anniversary. It is a powerful performance and she is the most veteran actress in this category, despite this being her first Oscar nomination. Considering she has yet to compete with her fellow actresses in many of the other award shows, she may still have a shot to win, but who knows if voters even sat down to watch 45 Years, considering this is its only nomination.
2. Saoirse Ronan - Brooklyn
Leading up to the big award shows like the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards, some pundits were curious if it would be Larson or Ronan that would pull ahead, but the tide has certainly shifted in one direction. Ronan's performance as Irish immigrant Eilis Lacey is a warm one; she is probably the most likable character in this category by a long shot. Brooklyn allows Ronan to go through all emotions from homesickness to falling in love to the unease of moving to a new country, which the 21-year-old more than lives up to. Brooklyn also received a Best Picture nomination, and considering Ronan is on screen for a vast majority of the movie, it can be assumed that the Academy really likes her. But the precursors show that she'll probably end up being the bridesmaid and not the bride this year.
1. Brie Larson - Room
Larson has swept all the major precursors leading up to the Oscars: the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards, the Critics' Choice Awards and the BAFTA. It is very rare for an actor to then lose the Oscar with such a powerful combination. Her performance in Room as Joy Newsome, a woman trapped in a shed for seven years, is very powerful and checks off all the boxes for an inevitable Oscar win. She de-glams, she cries, she gives monologues, she has a huge emotional, sympathetic arc and to top it all off, her movie is nominated for Best Picture and Best Director. Larson likely has this win in the bag, but there are still outside shots for Ronan or even Rampling if the tide shifts.
The Oscars will air live at 8:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. PT on ABC.