Loading

21st Annual Black Reel Awards Predictions outstanding actress

Past Winners

  • 2000 - Nia Long | The Best Man
  • 2001 - Sanaa Lathan | Love & Basketball
  • 2002 - Halle Berry | Monster's Ball
  • 2003 - Angela Bassett | Sunshine State
  • 2004 - Sanaa Lathan | Out of Time
  • 2005 - Sophie Okonedo | Hotel Rwanda (Drama)
  • 2005 - Irma P. Hall | The Ladykillers (Comedy/Musical)
  • 2006 - Kimberly Elise | Diary of a Mad Black Woman
  • 2007 - Keke Palmer | Akeelah and the Bee
  • 2008 - Queen Latifah | The Secret Life of Bees
  • 2009 - N/A
  • 2010 - Gabourey Sidibe | Precious
  • 2011 - Kerry Washington | Night Catches Us
  • 2012 - Viola Davis | The Help
  • 2013 - Quvenzhane Wallis | Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • 2014 - Danai Gurira | Mother of George
  • 2015 - Gugu Mbatha-Raw | Belle
  • 2016 - Teyonah Parris | Chi-Raq
  • 2017 - Ruth Negga | Loving
  • 2018 - Natalie Paul | Crown Heights
  • 2019 - Kiki Layne | If Beale Street Could Talk
  • 2020 - Lupita Nyong'o | Us

State of the Race

This year's Outstanding Actress race could see the "Mother of Blues" Ma Rainey vs. "Lady Day" Billie Holiday. Viola Davis, a 3-time Black Reel Awards winner, who took won in this category in 2012 for The Help, plays Ma Rainey in August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. The role is arguably Davis' most transformative role to date. If nominated, Davis would tie with Sanaa Lathan for the most nominations in this category with five nominations. Taking on the role of Billie Holiday in her film debut, is Grammy-nominated and Black Reel Award nominee, Andra Day. Day could join the likes of past Outstanding Actress winners, Keke Palmer (Akeelah and the Bee), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious), Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and Kiki Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk) who each took home this award for their big screen debut.

Past Outstanding Actress nominees, Nicole Beharie (Miss Juneteenth) and Rashida Jones (On the Rocks) are both on the hunt to receive their second nominations in this category respectively.

This year's Renaissance woman, Radha Blank is poised to earn a potential Outstanding Actress nomination in addition to competing in various categories as a writer, producer, director and musician.

After setting the small screen on fire, BRATs winners Zendaya (Malcolm & Marie) and Issa Rae (The Photograph) are hoping to spark the same magic to the big screen with a nomination.

Other contenders in this category includes Madalen Mills (Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey), Jasmine Batchelor (The Surrogate), Wunmi Moasku (His House) & Janelle Monae (Antebellum).

Predicted Nominees

1.

VIOLA DAVIS

MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM

BRA HISTORY: 9 NOMINATIONS | 3 WINS

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS - "DOUBT", 2009

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS - "THE HELP", 2012

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS - "FENCES", 2017

2.

NICOLE BEHARIE

MISS JUNETEENTH

BRA HISTORY: 3 NOMINATIONS | 0 WINS

3.

ZENDAYA

MALCOLM & MARIE

BRA HISTORY: NEVER NOMINATED

4.

ANDRA DAY

THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY

BRA HISTORY: 1 NOMINATION | 0 WINS

5.

TESSA THOMPSON

SYLVIE'S LOVE

BRA HISTORY: 5 NOMINATIONS | 2 WINS

OUTSTANDING BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE - "FOR COLORED GIRLS", 2011

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS - "CREED", 2016

Spoilers

6.

RADHA BLANK

THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION

BRA HISTORY: NEVER NOMINATED

7.

RASHIDA JONES

ON THE ROCKS

BRA HISTORY: 4 NOMINATIONS | 1 WIN

OUTSTANDING DOCUMENTARY FEATURE - "QUINCY", 2019

8.

WUNMI MOSAKU

HIS HOUSE

BRA HISTORY: NEVER NOMINATED

9.

ISSA RAE

THE PHOTOGRAPH

BRA HISTORY: NEVER NOMINATED

10.

MADALEN MILLS

JINGLE JANGLE: A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY

BRA HISTORY: NEVER NOMINATED

Darkhorses

11.

JASMINE BATCHELOR

THE SURROGATE

BRA HISTORY: NEVER NOMINATED

12.

ZAINAB JAH

FAREWELL AMOR

BRA HISTORY: NEVER NOMINATED

13.

BUKKY BAKRAY

ROCKS

BRA HISTORY: NEVER NOMINATED

14.

JANELLE MONAE

ANTEBELLUM

BRA HISTORY: 5 NOMINATIONS | 1 WIN

15.

ELLE LORRAINE

BAD HAIR

BRA HISTORY: NEVER NOMINATED

Other Contenders (Unranked)

  • Keira Chansa | Come Away (Never Nominated)
  • Tiffany Haddish | Like a Boss (2 nominations, 2 wins)
  • Zora Howard | Premature (Never Nominated)
  • Issa Rae | The Lovebirds (Never Nominated)
  • Fathia Youssouf | Cuties (Never Nominated)

Credits:

Created with an image by stux - "black board chalk traces"