After breaking down the Best Picture category, one of the most intriguing awards at this year's Oscars will be for Best Actress. This category's nominees have a ton of star power, and each of them gave performances that were worthy of winning the award. Here are my breakdowns of their work this year, and who will take home the hardware at the 2018 Academy Awards.

Meryl Streep, 'The Post'

Meryl Streep has already won two Oscars in this category with 17 nominations for Best Actress in a Leading Role. She has an additional Oscar win and four nominations as the Best Actress in a Supporting Role, so she knows her way around an Academy Awards ceremony.

Streep only takes the best roles that come across her desk at this point in her career, and she got a great one in "The Post."

Streep plays Kay Graham, who owns the Washington Post, and is forced to make a difficult decision whether to run a story that may get her newspaper shut down by the government. She has some wonderful monologues in the film, but there isn't anything about the performance that separates her from the pack this year.

Sally Hawkins, 'The Shape of Water'

Sally Hawkins' role in "The Shape of Water" included learning sign language, lip syncing a musical number from the '60's, and multiple scenes where she makes love with a lizard-man. Not many actresses would be brave enough to take on this role, and that's why Hawkins will be walking the red carpet at the Oscars.

Hawkins' character also proves to be pretty badass throughout the film, which gives incredible depth to a person that only speaks a few words in the film. I have a lot of respect for Hawkins' performance in this movie, but it wasn't quite enough to crack my top three this year.

Saoirse Ronan, 'Lady Bird'

"Lady Bird" is a coming-of-age film for the millennial generation that needed a charismatic performance by a lead actress to make the film work, and Saoirse Ronan provided exactly that.

Ronan has a thick Irish accent in her everyday life, but she ditched that for a laid-back California accent for this film. Lady Bird's relationship with her mother is both heartbreaking and heartwarming, and her spunky attitude throughout the movie provides entertainment without being annoying or overdone.

I couldn't stop thinking about Ronan's character for a week after I saw the film, which is the sign of one spectacular performance.

Margot Robbie, 'I, Tonya'

Tonya Harding provides one of the most complex and interesting characters I've ever seen in a movie, and Margot Robbie hit it out of the park in "I, Tonya."

Like Ronan, Robbie had a lot of work to do in changing her Australian accent into one of a backwoods self-proclaimed redneck from Oregon. There were also a ton of extreme close-up shots throughout the film that magnified every facial expression Robbie gave in playing Tonya.

Two incredible scenes will surely be on her Oscar reel.

The insanity surrounding Harding's performance at the '94 Olympics was well-portrayed in this film, and the director essentially had an iso camera on Robbie that showed how emotional Harding must have been during that time.

The other iconic scene involved another long camera shot on Robbie's face as she received her sentencing from the Nancy Kerrigan case. Robbie's emotions perfectly encapsulated what one would feel like when all their hopes and dreams are taken away at just 23 years old.

This film was perfectly engineered for Robbie to give an Oscar-worthy performance, and she delivered big-time in "I, Tonya."

Frances McDormand, 'Three Billboards'

Frances McDormand's role in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" was also tailor-made for an Academy Award-level performance, and she couldn't have done a better job of portraying Mildred in this film.

The way McDormand was able to show her character's strong-willed, no-nonsense attitude along with the emotional vulnerability of Mildred after her tragic loss was stunning.

She brought both comic relief and the heaviest moments of the film to life, and it had audiences everywhere laughing through their tears.


In my opinion, Frances McDormand gave the best performance of anyone nominated in this category, but Margot Robbie really gave her a run for her money.

According to odds from Las Vegas, McDormand is an extremely heavy favorite to take home the hardware with Saoirse Ronan as the second-favorite. I expect McDormand to give a memorable acceptance speech after she's handed the Academy Award on March 4th.