I missed Kathy Bates (are we SERIOUSLY nominating her for this piddling role???!!! UGH), predicting Jennifer Lopez for Hustlers instead. Academy, open your eyes to Lopez's incredible talent. This is unacceptable.
AS FOR THE WIN:
Odds-makers are saying this is Laura Dern's to lose. Now, I LOVE Laura Dern, and I think she is SOOO due for an Oscar, and I'd love to see it happen. But I don't think that role spells Oscar, and grabs the crowd the way you'd want it to to feel good about those odds. That said, she keeps on trucking ahead in her front-runner status, and did just win the Globe; so it does seem more likely than anything else at the moment. It'll help that she's in a big best pic contender, centered on its performances, and that Marriage's other two performances are not all that likely to win.
But don't count out an upset here!!
Margot Robbie definitely has a shot here - after her tremendous work in I, Tonya, and paired with her valued (if valueless) work in Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, she could conceivably ride through on the back of her shooting star stature. And the Academy does love ingenues.
And I could see ScarJo winning as her odds of a best actress win wane - she could ride the Jojo love to the podium, as an acknowledgment to her strong year too.
But yeah - Dern is beloved and due for an Oscar and also has had a strong year (or few years, though largely on TV), so I think this is solidifying as a "we love you in general" Oscar. Ugh, fine. But I know what's going to happen - she's gonna turn in an INCREDIBLE performance in something in the next few years, and then not win because she won too recently, and the world will feel out of order, all because the industry jumped the gun here. (Just like when Russell Crowe lost for A Beautiful Mind because he had just won for Gladiator.) Mark my words!