Two pieces of important information have come to light recently that may impact the Best Actress race: Anne Hathaway will be campaigned for lead as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises and Jessica Chastain will also go lead for Zero Dark Thirty. Whether either of them will break through in a crowded race is a different story. Much will likely depend on the nominations at the Globes, then the SAGs and the Critics Choice Awards. By then, a consensus will have emerged. Those early awards are great for pruning the crowd. Once the nominees are named, voters get to sit on judgement about whether those are deserving nominations or not, whether there are more deserving names that got left off the list, and how each nominations or win would make them feel.

Most of the best actress performances this year function as supporting female characters, even when they’re leads. There are a few that don’t, especially if they were made in other countries. Go to the Cannes Film Festival if you want to see movies about women as people rather than women as mattresses, eye-candy or ego-propper-uppers. In these films a woman’s internal life and character arc are important on their own, and don’t depend on the male’s story arc. Movies like Beyond the Hills (Romania’s foreign language entry), or Rust and Bone, or Amour present audiences with a whole different spectrum of life than we’ve become conditioned to see over here. In most of the movies popular at the box office and in the Oscar race, women are mothers, girlfriends, wives, lovers. It is different on TV. Look at Carrie on Homeland or Olivia on Law and Order SVU. The pressure to make bank isn’t as urgent on TV or in films made on a smaller scale in other countries. This scarcity of strong leading women on the big screen is uniquely American. That’s the free market for you. Leave it up to the suits in the corporate suite and it’s all white male all the time.

Harsh? It is. But we don’t fuck around here at Awards Daily. Now let’s look at our slate of Best Actress contenders, starting with the frontrunners. All we mean by frontrunners, of course, are those actresses currently being predicted to land in the top five. Have a look at Gold Derby’s list. 

These appear to be the top five:

Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
Keira Knightley – Anna Karenina
Quvenzhané Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild
Marion Cotillard – Rust & Bone
Emmanuelle Riva – Amour

And indeed, these are all remarkable performances with their own character arcs. Lawrence is currently in the lead not just because she is great in the part, but because Best Actress, like Best Actor, Director and Screenplay are all tied in with Best Picture most of the time, though surely not always. But if you are tied to a strong Best Picture contender your job is always going to be easier to slide into those categories than it would be otherwise, unless the performance on its own is exceptional, like Charlize Theron in Monster, Halle Berry in Monster’s Ball, etc. Of these five contenders, Silver Linings Playbook is the one sure bet for Best Picture. Right after that is Beasts of the Southern Wild. The other three are still long shots. But that doesn’t mean Lawrence has it in the bag. She’s close to having it in the bag. She doesn’t appear to have much competition for the win. Marion Cotillard is probably the one that would give her the most heat if the Oscars were held today.

There are so many unknowns in the race right now, however. Some of the big question marks that remain would be Helen Mirren in Hitchcock, Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty, how well Silver Linings Playbook does with critics, box office and the Academy, who gets a surprise nomination at the Globes.

Other names currently in the conversation would be:

Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
Naomi Watts – The Impossible
Helen Mirren – Hitchcock
Meryl Streep – Hope Springs
Anne Hathaway – Dark Knight Rises
Greta Gerwig – Frances Ha
Elle Fanning – Ginger and Rosa
Leslie Mann – This is 40
Emayatzy Corinealdi – Middle of Nowhere
Elizabeth Winstead – Smashed

I want to talk a bit about the performances I’ve personally seen that I’ve found to be the most moving. A good writer and director can make all the difference when it comes to a performance. There has to be a healthy amount of risk involved. To win an Oscar, an actress usually has to step outside her comfort zone a little bit — even when that translates into wearing a shorter skirt, a lower-cut top, and high heels — like Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich and Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side. Oscar likes his leading ladies to be on the sexually loose side, with a heart of gold to boot. Sex, in America, is an Oscar contender’s best friend when the voting demographic is over 50-something straight white males. Pitch a tent in their pants and they’ll vote for you. (thanks Mel S)

Of course, that might mean scrubbing off the makeup and showing up pretty and clean on the red carpet, like Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren and Marion Cotillard had to do. Kate Winslet sort of had the whole thing in the bag when she starred in a movie about Nazis whilst getting naked and having lots of sex. To that end, we have three very strong contenders — in the lead is Jennifer Lawrence, whose character not only has a mild sex addiction, not only chases relentlessly after Bradley Cooper, but also spends much of the movie in a tight danskin top bouncing up and down joyfully. That’s not to take away from her performance which is very very good. Her character is deeply wounded, grappling with mental illness and really just wants someone to love her. Lawrence brings so much to the character that wanting to see her happy is much of the reason the film succeeds. She is also queen of the box office in 2012, having brought the Hunger Games to $400 million. That is no easy feat. Sandra Bullock brought in $200 million and that was considered unheard of. $400 million? Thus, Lawrence has many factors going for her this year, including her performance.

Second in the running would be Marion Cotillard, who spends much of Rust and Bone mostly naked. Her character spends the whole film wanting to get laid. But since she’s lost most of her legs that’s makes it difficult to attract a mate. Hers is brilliant work, but there is also just enough sex to keep her in the forefront. She also happens to be one of the most beautiful women in the world, which never hurts, especially with that much talent. What is so memorable about Rust and Bone is that the filmmaker isn’t uncomfortable telling both stories, of the man and of the woman. If it were an American film, Cotillard’s part would likely be shaved way down, to only be a support to the male figure. But here, she must find her own strength, her own reason to go on living, her own worth beyond her beauty. It’s her best work since La Vie en Rose but having already won an Oscar makes it a little more difficult to win again.

Third would be Keira Knightly, who continues her sexploration after really going for it last year with A Dangerous Method. Had it not been for the contortions of her face in that early scene, she would have been a shoo-in. But in Anna Karenina she is a container of pent up sexual frustration that can not resist a lover — that lover — even if it ends up ruining her life. Knightley delivers a complicated Anna Karenina. She’s not easy to pin down, seems stormy on the inside, but the driving force is lust. To make it an Oscar winning performance she also needs a deeply tragic flaw — her flaw here is that she’s consumed by passion outside her marriage and she has a son. The film is not easy on her, sort of blames her for everything, which might be a boner-killer. On the other hand, has Knightley ever delivered such a fully realized performance before?

The other two, Quvenzhané Wallis and Emannuelle Riva must enter the Oscar race without the sex card. But that’s okay because these are two of the best performances of the year, period. Both of them are better than everyone else yet neither has a good chance of winning. Riva, because she’s a foreign film actress, and because she’s in a movie that is a hard sit. She, like Naomi Watts in The Impossible, takes herself to the depths of humanity, the edge of death, and that is never fun, particularly to a boomer crowd getting near to the end themselves. Downer movies are often hard to reward because a vote is often a feelgood expression of support. I would have a hard time not saying Riva deserved to win the whole thing. But the other part of me that wants to reward the one I “like” best would have a hard time doing that. I suspect that will be the dilemma of many a voter.

Wallis is a revelation in Beasts of the Southern Wild. Director Benh Zeitlin has said that when he met her she was like one of those child prodigies who can play Mozart at the age of 5. Somehow she was able to find Hush Puppy. It is dazzling work from someone so young. There is never a moment in the film where you don’t believe her. She moves easily between reality and fantasy, nails the scene where Hush Puppy finally meets her mother, handles the crying scenes like a pro, and has the ability to read the beautiful lines of dialogue by Luci Alibar and Zeitlin with the kind of feeling and maturity of a much older actress. Though I won’t be surprised if she isn’t nominated, given her age — just five years old when they started shooting. She also isn’t eligible for a SAG award because the film wasn’t union, which makes her chances even more slim. But that is no reason not to count hers among the best performances this year.

I remain thoroughly moved by Meryl Streep’s extraordinary work in Hope Springs. Both she and Tommy Lee Jones take it deep. Streep finally won last year, though, which might mean she is ignored this year to let other actresses have a shot. But if we’re strictly talking about acting here, Streep’s is one of the standouts of the year. She plays a wife whose husband has turned away from her. It is the opposite of Amour. Streep and Jones must find a way to connect with each other again. What should be an average work is elevated because of the two of them. Does that mean anything? Streep will be nominated at the Globes for Comedy. That might give her a bit of a boost.

Beyond those, though, Helen Mirren is probably wonderful in Hitchcock. Judi Dench is supposed to be equally good in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Maggie Smith is rumored to be exceptional as always in Quartet. One of the year’s breakthroughs ought to be Emayatzy Corinealdi. A few journalists have picked up on her work in Middle of Nowhere but there aren’t yet enough of them and other actresses have more buzz at the moment. I will soon be seeing Leslie Mann in This is 40, Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty.

Currently predicted five:

Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Keira Knightley – Anna Karenina
Quvenzhané Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild
Marion Cotillard – Rust & Bone
Anne Hathaway – The Dark Knight Rises
Dark horses: Emanuelle Riva, Jessica Chastain (still an unknown)

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  • John

    My predicted 5 + my other main contenders (all in no partic. order):


    Those 9 for the 5 slots.

  • Ricky

    Sasha… you REALLY have Anne Hathaway in your top 5 predicted? I see the odds of her getting a nomination sitting roughly around 1%. This is both because of and having nothing to do with Les Miserables coming around the bend. Even if the movie bombs or she somehow bombs, it will be the more high profile work that people are paying attention to. Furthermore, her work in TDKR just doesn’t hold up next to her best work, (Rachel Getting Married), nor will it hold up to the other major contenders in the category I imagine. This is, by the way, coming from someone who loved TDKR and thinks the fact that Tom Hardy isn’t more in the conversation is a sad fact.

  • g

    Cotillard has to get a nomination, and Wallis she was amazing, and I really liked Anne Hathaway in TDKR..

    Can’t wait to see Riva!

  • Rather than resort to default criticism, which I’m trying to curb these days, Sasha, I’m just going to applaud you for your audaciousness.

    I don’t agree with your Hathaway pick, but bravo anyway.

  • Winston

    Having Anne Hathaway positioned as Best Actress is appalling since Michelle Pfeiffer’s portrayal of Catwoman remains to be the best.

    How crazy is this? If anything Pfeiffer should’ve won Best Actress in the year of 1993! Anyone still talking about Emma Thompson’s win in Howard’s End still?! Noooo I don’t think so. She should’ve been nominated at the very least in supporting actress.

    To insinuate Hathaways performance is far superior than Pfeiffer with a Best Actress nomination is simply ridiculous!!

  • Winston

    PS…. I think the top 5 are:

    Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone
    Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings
    Helen Mirren, Hitchcock
    Emannuelle Riva, Amour
    Naomi Watts, The Impossible

  • Pretty awesome that Chastain has risen to this level in 1 year. Sort of defines the “overnight sensation that was a decade in the making.”

    Shame Rachel Weisz isn’t even getting her name tosses up for The Deep Blue Sea, which was a phenomenal performance filled with heartbreak and, yeah, sex appeal.

  • d2

    @Winston….many feel (my own mother included) that Nicholson’s Joker is the best, as it is closer to the campy source material than Ledger’s. Yet, it was Ledger and not Nicholson (who was snubbed over the lead/supporting category confusion) who was nominated.

  • Tina

    I don’t see what’s the big deal, Anne isn’t going to be nominated for TDKR (nobody in that movie will be). However, there’s no harm in Warner Bros trying!

  • Glenn UK

    No way Hathaway for lead. Also the 5 test audiences raved about Streisand’s performance in The Guilt Trip which should and will earn a GG nom …. will it transfer to Oscar during her 50th anniversary celebrations in the industry …… its a strong possibility!

  • Raygo

    Helen Hunt will knock someone off this list. Hopefully. Please no more Helen Mirren.

  • Is Frances Ha getting released this year?

  • Manuel

    Please please no no Helen Hunt. She’s just playing herself, just like Julie Roberts.

    Mirren looks GOOOOD in Hitchcock and I hope that Naomi Watts get the attention she really deserves

  • Jeremy E

    Frances Ha official release date is now May 2013, so not possible here. Personally, found Gerwig’s performance to be one of best I’ve seen all year. IMHO, second only to Riva’s in Amour.

  • Cyrus

    In 1959 and 1962 Emmanuelle Riva gave amazing performances in Hiroshima Mon Amour, Kapo, and Thérèse Desqueyroux.

    That is over 50 years ago. Finally, I hope she gets the recognition she so truly deserves for her heartbreaking brilliant performance in Amour

    EMMANUELLE RIVA FOR THE WIN ~~~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Tom

    Anne Hathaway in DARK KNIGHT, ah, ah, big joke !
    I think you forgot Dame Maggie SMITH in QUARTET. Great actress.
    And also Jessica Lange in THERESE no ? But may be for a supporting role. We’ll see.

  • Raygo

    Sorry, but I doubt an Emmanuelle Riva win is happening at the Oscars. If they wouldn’t give one to Peter O’Toole, they’re not giving one to Emmanuelle Riva. Jessica Chastain’s role in Zero Dark Thirty seems more like a “plug-n-play” role, e.g. substitute any plucky/brainy heroine in that part and the results are more or less the same. The subject matter is the star, not the performers. I think the early response to Helen Hunt in The Sessions speaks for itself. She is clearly not playing herself. And yeah, it’s a shame Rachel Weisz isn’t getting any buzz. She’s always good.

  • Gary

    I have to say I loved Marion Cotillard in “rust and bone”. I don’t care if she wins or not but I really really think she deserves a nomination. A nom would be so huge for her, she doesn’t really need to win. She is very respected because she won her first oscar by the most honorable way possible; by her talent and not her degree of fame. She was totally unknown at the time. The problem is the academy refused to nominated her for past deserving work (Nine / Midninght in Paris) and like I said a simple nomination would means a lot because she would have multiple nominations and will definitely confirm the fact that she is a great actress. Every review I saw about the movie praise her performance and a few called it her best work since “La vie en Rose” so if she don’t get a second nom now I really don’t know what she has to do for getting one.
    If Jennnifer Lawrence wins that would be amazing for her because she is a very good actress and Hollywood should support this kind of young girl which don’t hesitate to take difficult roles and out of her comfort zone. I mean she has 22 and she plays a widow! Any other actress with the same age would have turn it into a weird/bad TV movie.

  • Aragon

    Jennifer Lawrence is a good actress and she did a good job in the Hunger Games but she did NOT bring its box office to 400 million…that movie had already a built in audience because of the books and luckily she didn’t give a performance that ruined the movie. But saying that she did bring the movie to 400 million is a bit far fetched….
    And Marion Cotillard….such a great combination of beauty and talent…always great to see her quite vulnerable face on screen.

  • rufussondheim

    There’s no way Jessica Chastain is not getting a nomination for Zero Dark Thirty and I’m going out on a limb and saying that she will win. Again, this is premised that Zero Dakr Thirty hits it out of the ballpark and all signs are pointing to the fact that it will.

    She appears to be the emotional core of the film, a film that will no doubt carry lots of emotion. And that emotion will come from her character’s determination to complete the job at hand. She will, no doubt, have many emotional lows and of course some emotional highs. She has the most expressive face of the new actresses that have emerged in the last decade or so.

    She comes off a great year with fivequality performances in five quality films. She clearly has a great shot of becoming the next great actress.

    Her advantages over Jennifer Lawrence to win this category are several. Chastain is the main character arc, not an add-on. She’s in the weightier film as well. True, she doesn’t have that 400 million blockbuster behind her, but that blockbuster is for teens, so it doesn’t have the gravitas that, say, The Help, gave Chastain last year.

    A lot will go towards which film gets the BP nomination. Maybe both will, maybe neither will. With all of the competition who knows.

    But I suspect it will be a close race.

  • Hannah

    My picks: Lawrence, Riva, Wallis, Watts & … Mirren or Knightley

  • Steve75

    I don’t think that Anne Hathaway would be nominating for Dark knight rises because her performance wasn’t a big thing but I do think she will be ricing for Lesmesirables role (Fantine)and she will win the supporting role for this role .

  • JFK

    Hathaway is only lead in TDKR so that she doesn’t compete against herself in Les Mis and lose steam for that performance.

    With that said, if you twisted my arm, I might spout out:

    Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
    Keira Knightley – Anna Karenina
    Helen Mirren – Hitchcock
    Marion Cotillard – Rust & Bone
    Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty

    Dark Horses: Emayatzy Corinealdi – Middle of Nowhere, Emmanuelle Riva – Amour, Naomi Watts – The Impossible

  • Aragorn

    You may have a point. And. Wouldn’t have any problem with her winning. She already proved that she is quite a versatile actress with reliably good performances. In my mind, she even deserved to win last year but oh well. Maybe this year. If not, definitely soon. And in June she may win her first Tony as well. She is definitely shaping up a good career.

  • Zed

    Q. Wallis is 8 but she was only 5 when the movie was shot! I can’t possibly believe she is a real contender and listed by many critics.
    IMO it would be unfair for many actresses who actually really work for a role and I think it could discredit a bit the academy for nominating a five years old performance in the future or even now. Everybody won’t see “Beasts” and for those people it’s gonna be even more incomprehensible.

  • Jc

    My five picks:
    Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
    Helen Mirren – Hitchcock
    Marion Cotillard – Rust & Bone
    Naomi Watts, The Impossible
    Emannuelle Riva, Amour
    Helen Hunt, The Sessions

  • Great article! And while I want to criticize even the notion that Anne Hathaway has any shot at all for TDK, I hesitate and remember that in my own predictions I still have The Hobbit as the #9 film for Best Picture. It is fun to go out on a limb, and it’s not like you’re predicting her to win.

    My choices are a bit more vanilla right now:


  • Raygo

    Rufus, you wear your heart on your sleeve regarding Jessica Chastain, but Zero Dark Thirty isn’t really a “leading actress” vehicle. It’s an ensemble. I’m not even sure she’s playing a real person. Her role could be a composite. No acting nominations from ZDT, that’s my prediction.

  • Maxim

    Zed, I’m not sure I follow your point. Why would a great performance by a young actress be incomprehensible? Or are you implying that a 5-year old cannot act?

  • Maxim

    “I still have The Hobbit as the #9 film for Best Picture”

    Why is that such a big stretch to everyone?

  • Jackson

    I think cottilard and lawrence have to be the favorites at this point. Keira has a shot, and period is what she does best. Helen Hunt may just act like herself on camera, but she always seems so natural which may propel her into the race, but for me there may be a dark Horse.
    In my opinion,this has been a huge year for jessica Chastain and the academy knows it. They will definitely consider her in this category, especially because of her professionally trained backround
    Here are my top five in no order
    Marion cottilard, rust and bone
    Jessica Chastain, zero dark thirty
    Helen Hunt, the sessions
    Jennifer lawrence, silver linings playbook
    Keira knightly, Anna karenina

  • Jason


    I think out of all the potential Oscars films that we haven’t seen yet, The Hobbit is the one that will have to be truly fantastic for it to get nominated (I think it will be, but we’ll see). Regardless of what the Academy thought of The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit is still a fantasy film, and one that’s part of a larger piece of work that they may feel they have honoured enough. I’m really curious to see how it does this year. It’s a lock to get nominated in most (if not all) of the technical categories, and we’ll see how it fairs in the “bigger” categories.

    As a massive fan of Peter Jackson’s original trilogy, I’m really rooting for it, but I’m trying to look at it from an unbiased point of view.

  • Raygo

    Zero Dark Thirty … the story of one woman’s quest to capture the most wanted man in history. Did I miss that trailer? Look, Chastain is terrific, but this is not her Oscar film.

  • Zed

    The Oscars is kind of the gold for any actor in the business. The AMPAS elevated the statue of the Oscars to the rank of the ultimate award. All I’m saying is people are gonna think “what a hell, they didn’t find better than a 5 year old girl ?” I’m not saying she can’t or didn’t act, she did. But she didn’t create anything around her character, the direction is outstanding and that’s the reason why she is so touching. She couldn’t create what she did by herself and that’s the difference between her and the other “grown-up” actresses. Sure she deserves some spotlight awards but an Oscar, no I’m sorry it feel very weird for me. I swear I have nothing against this adorable and without any doubt talented young girl. And it was her first movie ever.

  • Houstonrufus

    I’m thinking Riva gets in. I think her chances of a nomination are even better than Cotillard. Amour has been praised like few films coming out of the festival circuit. It is the certain favorite for the foreign language oscar. I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see Amour get a nomination or two in other categories. Haneke is one of the more high profile european auteurs, well known even among oscar voters. I think the admiration for the film will help Riva secure a nomination.

  • Casey

    When does Therese come out with Jessica Lange and Elizabeth Olsen?

    Lange needs another Oscar stat

  • Zed

    I was thinking “Rust and Bone” won the London film fest and I’ve read somewhere that Jacques Audiard won two Bafta for best foreign film in 2005 for “The beat that my heart skipped” and in 2009 for “A prophet”.
    In England he is considered as one of the best filmmaker of this generation so he could become the only triple Bafta winner ever in only 7 years. Beyond the fact that it would be crazy it would be historical and worth to be mention. It was better received than Amour in London and It certainly won’t hurt Cotillard’s chances at the Bafta and all this exposure will certainly help her even more in her “Oscar campaign”.

  • steve50

    Maybe it’s the fact I haven’t seen much, but it appears that most of the noise is about Lawrence, Hathaway and Hunt – all of whom could be headed for the supporting category. Chastain is an unknown for ZD30, Mirren is a mystery (are either of them lead?). Watts and Smith. maybe?

    The only certified leads that have been seen and have their excellence confirmed are Riva and Cotillard.

    Certainly not the potboiler category of last year at his time, at least, not yet.

  • Craig Z

    The studio is only pushing Hathaway lead because they want to make sure she doesn’t split votes and cost her any votes for Les Mis. She isn’t happening for lead. They won’t vote for her just for being sexy. They have Jennifer Lawrence for that.

  • Chris138

    “Anyone still talking about Emma Thompson’s win in Howard’s End still?!”

    I do. It’s one of my favorite performances of the 1990s.

  • Chris138

    And I agree with everyone else above who says Hathaway has no chance whatsoever of getting nominated here.

  • Jake

    Anne Hathaway deserves the Best Actress nomination. She’s given the best performance of the year so far and is the best Catwoman ever(Shes way better than Pfeiffer). She really does something very special as Catwoman that no other actress could have done. My predix:
    1)Emmanuelle Riva – Amour
    2)Anne Hathaway – The Dark Knight Rises
    3)Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
    4)Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
    5)Naomi Watts – The Impossible

  • phantom

    I think it will be

    1. Naomi Watts (I have a hunch she will win.)
    2. Jennifer Lawrence (IT girl of epic proportions)
    3. Marion Cotillard (near-lock status since Cannes)
    4. Keira Knightley (true female lead character AND an iconic role)
    5. Jessica Chastain (finally an actual lead for her…she will NAIL it)

    Unfortunately I don’t see the Academy falling in love with ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ enough to give it a Best Actress nod, although they MIGHT fall in love with Quvenzhané Wallis, even if they don’t appreciate the film as a whole.

    I’ve just seen Amour and while I fully support the notion that Emmanuelle Riva gives one of the best performances of the last few years, I think she will need HUGE precursor-support to register with the Academy, especially because there is already another contender in a foreign language film who seems to be stronger at the moment and it’s unlikely they would go for both when they have several of their faves (Streep, Mirren etc.) in the mix, too.

    The Academy probably won’t feel much pressure to recognize Oscar-winning living legends Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, Maggie Smith, mainly because their films seem light which isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker and certainly doesn’t take away anything from their individual work, but definitely won’t help them in the long run considering their massive dramatic competition.

    Gerwig, Fanning, Coriealdi and Winstead will be probably way too indie to even register in the race, having said that, the critical love they are receiving at the moment, definitely helps them move to the next level and will most certainly open a lot of doors for them in the near future.

    If there are potential surprises in this category, I agree, Anne Hathaway could be one of them. One of the two, actually. Sure, she doesn’t seem to stand a chance, but she WAS widely considered as the standout in the film and if the Academy decides to recognize this franchise as a whole and go for ‘Rises’ in a big way, she could sneak in. Problem is, that’s a huge IF…they didn’t feel the need to recognize the widely acclaimed ‘Deathly Hallows Part II’, so they probably won’t start sweating when it will come to ignoring Nolan’s final Batman film. Still, this could help Hathaway, voters could EASILY go ‘OK, I won’t vote for you in Lead at all, but I WILL put you 1st in supporting’.

    The other potential shocker/last minute entry could be Alicia Vikander, who has been quietly building buzz since ‘A Royal Affair’ premiered to great acclaim at the Berlinale AND most recently received a rare standing ovation at the Toronto Film Festival AND is one of the frontrunners in the Best Foreign Language Film category. She also has a well-received supporting turn in ‘Anna Karenina’ which could still surprise and be a stronger-than-at-the-moment-expected contender, so all in all, she is having a GREAT, breakthrough year. If critics go for ‘A Royal Affair’, she could have some early precursor-love…and considering how early the voting ends this season, those early little wins could be crucial.

  • McGregor

    So is the consesus that Helen Hunt is being campaigned Lead? If so, she’s definitely getting in. Critics are behind her. There’s no way she’s winning, but she will get nominated.

    I agree about Jessica Chastain. Lord knows I adore her, but ZDT doesn’t feel like her Oscar film. I’m sure she will kill it, but the film really isn’t about her. I could be wrong…

    Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
    Helen Hunt, The Sessions
    Marion Cotillard, Rust & Bone
    Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
    Naiomi Watts, The Impossible

    I think Watts could be ousted if people get behind Knightley, but I just feel like the film has been so quiet as of late. I know she will get a push from the BAFTAS, which means she could pull off a “Gary-Oldman” sort of nomination, but… she’s not Gary Oldman.

  • david

    I think now that meryll has win here third oscar her nominations will cease

  • Question Mark

    I’d say Lawrence and Cotillard are locks for nominations. If Helen Hunt is pushed as a lead performance, she’s probably a lock too. I’ll guess that Hunt/Chastain are the two “lead or supporting?” question marks of this year, so one of those two will get a nomination.

    That leaves two open spots for Watts/Riva/Wallis/Smith/Mirren/Knightley. I’d rank them this way…

    Riva: best shot of this bunch given her great performance and her great “Oscar narrative” of a longtime star finally getting a nomination in her twilight years.

    Watts: This movie looks like prime Oscar material, so if it’s any good, I suspect Watts gets the nod.

    Smith: We’re in a Maggie Smith revival what with Downton Abbey, Marigold Hotel and now Quartet, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see her get her seventh nomination. Remember, Smith is a two-time winner, so the Academy loves her.

    Wallis: Her age will work against her, I’m afraid. She just might be a little too young to be recognized as a performer rather than as a precocious tot. It also seems like some of Beasts’ awards heat has cooled off over the months.

    Mirren: Seems like attention will be paid more to Hopkins in this film, plus ‘Hitchcock’ just feels to me like a pretty minor work. A poor man’s My Week With Marilyn, if anything.

    Knightley: I fear voters will see this as ‘just another’ Keira Knightley period piece and not pay much attention.

    So my final picks are Lawrence, Cotillard, Riva, one of Watts/Smith and one of Hunt/Chastain. I agree with the consensus that this seems like Lawrence’s Oscar to lose at this point. Good performance, good movie, already one nom to her name, and the huge Hunger Games box office working in her favour — it’s a lot of momentum to overcome.

  • keifer

    Any buzz about three of my favorite actresses:

    Maggie Smith, in “Quartet”?
    Charlotte Rampling or Judy Davis in “Eye of the Storm”?

    I would love it if any of these three cracked the top five.

    I think Chastain will get in, especially since she’s only the best young actress out there right now. What an incredible two years this actress has had . . . nobody heard of her until 2010.

  • Nice write-up Sasha but I have one serious complaint. When in prediction business you can’t let you emotions decide who’s going to be nominated. And if one does so, he or she is never going to get it right. You have to be objective.

    You know as well as I do, that Anne Hathaway is more of a fancy selection and she is never going to get nominated for Dark Knight Rises. I can bet million bucks on that.

  • flor

    I love JLaw to win an Oscar some day but for a role that truly deserves it. I feel like she should be campaigning for supporting and win there but I guess she and Harvey want it HARD. I just don’t think she deserves it this year for this movie.

  • ChrisFlick

    Glad to see all the assumptions that Helen Hunt belongs in the Actress category rather than Supporting. I hope to see the movie this weekend but that is my sense too of where she really belongs. To me the Lead category is rather wide open and will be more of a merit year than most, as there are no real look-at-me vehicles. I would hate to see Jennifer Lawrence recognized this early in her career, for her sake. I think nothing good comes of it and clearly she is in it for the long haul.

  • deadspotter

    Cotillard, Lawrence, Watts, Wallis, Chastain.

    -A second win for Cotillard would be well deserved. Gave the most emotionally charging performance of the year.
    -Lawrence is the front-runner right now. The light performance but it is pitch-perfect.
    -I think Wallis could win some critic awards which is a boost. Her film is holding in to its promise.
    -Chastain is in a film that is full of buzz.
    -And finally Watts which I think will receive the late buzz and could potentially win. Her film is a hit in Spain and a lot of people seem to like the trailer #2 for The Impossible. It will open in December 21 which is a perfect time.

  • alan of montreal

    Zed, it doesn’t matter how long an actress is in the business–if she doesn’t give a performance that’s noticed, then that’s just the way the ball rolls. Wallis happened to come out of nowhere and managed to garner attention for a rather fierce performance. If Keisha Castle Hughes can get nod for Whale Rider, then so can Wallis (AMPAS seems to be a little more taken with young actresses than actors).

    I don’t think Streep will not get a nomination because she won last year. I think she won’t get one because the movie just didn’t do spectacularly well critically or commercially.

    By the way, Hilary Swank is set to play a woman afflicted with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Hello Oscar number 3.

  • rufussondheim

    Are people not seeing the same trailer I am for Zero Dark Thirty? Even though Chastain doesn’t speak in it she’s at the center of most of it. The action is clearly revolving around her. The one scene has Joel Edgerton and Chris Patt discussing something and they refer to Chastain, “(I believe her) because of her confindence.” There’s another scene “If you’re right, everyone’s going to want in on this.”

    She’s clearly the center of the movie, whether she’s a real person or a composite or whatever. It’s her story, it’s she we will follow as the plan to kill Osama bin Laden transpires from beginning to end.

    Now Kathryn Bigelow is a smart filmmaker, she knows that to make this material work as a film rather than as a newsreel, she will need to have a character that the audience can empathize with, so we can feel the disappointmens, the triumphs. Without it, it’s just a series of clips thrown together hurtling toward an ending we already know. Chastain will be the one Bigelow trusts to carry most of the dramatic tension. And Chastain will be successful in achieving that.

    Trust me on this one.

  • houstonrufus

    Like many here, I admire the cheer section for Hathaway in the lead, but I see no way of that happening. Granted, this category seems especially thin this year, but still not happening. But, she can console herself with her likely supporting actress oscar. 🙂

  • PaulH

    Two slots from foreign language films? No. And let’s make one thing clear; Hathaway IS the female lead in TDKR. Cotillard is supporting. And I say the Oscars are duty-bound to nominate Lawrence’s best performance; from The Hunger Games. Resist the urge, AMPAS, to kiss Harvey’s ass for once in your stinking lives (re: Silver Linings Playbook). It’s Lawrence, Knightley and 3 women named Jane.

  • phantom

    Come to think of it, Zero Dark Thirty with its premise and strong female central character reminds me A LOT of ‘Homeland’…and that’s a great thing, especially because the film has excellent potential to NAIL the topic as well as that show does…and Jessica Chastain – just like the wonderful, feature-wise criminally underrated/underused Claire Danes – definitely has the acting chops to EXCEL a carriemathisonesque role. So yes, I think she WILL make the final cut and she will be accompanied by Naomi Watts, Jennifer Lawrence, Marion Cotillard and Keira Knightley.

  • steve50

    “duty-bound” Oh, they’ll like that.

    If Chastain is lead, like rufus said – she’s in like flint. Probably Lawrence will be promoted for SLP. So just for fun, I’ll add the two fer-ners and the li’l girl, with the eldest favored for the win.

    Nobody’s too old, too young, too foreign, too popular or too new to the game to be considered..or win.

  • Raygo

    This talk about Zero Dark Thirty being about Jessica Chastain’s character arc is delusional.

  • Joseph

    Helen Hunt’s campaign is supporting (even though it should be lead). Conversely, Jennifer Lawrence’s campaign should be supporting but it’s lead.

    Saw The Impossible at TIFF, Naomi Watts WILL NOT win. She doesn’t have the material that Cotillard, Riva, Wallis, Lawrence have.

    It would be sad if Riva is snubbed for such a phenomenal performance.

  • tipsy

    “I love JLaw to win an Oscar some day but for a role that truly deserves it.”

    Pitty they won`t campaign her for iconic Katniss. SLP is a make-up for that omission like Downey`s Tropic Thunder nom was a make-up for Iron Man snub for which he should have been nominated.

    I hope Hunt and/or Chastain knock off Knightley. She`s young enough to have time to a) learn how to be natural and not so stagey and fake, b) control her really annoying self-conscious tics and mannerisms from her modelling days (pouting, come-hither-half-opened-mouth, jaw-stricking) and c) develop some range. I don`t care that AK is an iconic role when KK isn`t iconic in it.

  • menyc

    In one way this is an incredibly weak BActress year, but also so exciting that it opens it to more interesting nominations than most years. Jennifer Lawrence should be feeling pretty great this season. Nothing sounds close. At all.

  • Kiwi

    Sasha, everytime you discuss Jennifer Lawrence’s role in Silver Linings, you always call her character “sexually loose”, which makes no sense. I’ve seen a screening of the film and yes, the character is a sex addict but Jennifer doesn’t participate in any explicit sex scenes that would make Oscar voters’ pants tent up. Jennifer was absolutely charming as Tiffany and her performance went beyond the script. If she wins, she’s not going to win for playing a sexually loose character. Marion Cotillard had far more explicit sex scenes in her films. In fact she’s nude in Rust and Bone. I love Marion but let’s get real, she just won an Oscar like 4 years ago. I doubt she’s winning again and so soon on top of that. Keira Knightley has been off Oscar watch since Anna Karenina premiered at TIFF. She’s been recieving mixed reviews which isn’t going to push her for an Oscar nomination and don’t even get me started on Anne Hathaway lol. Great list and arguments. As of now, Jennifer Lawrence has the win in her bag.

  • Nightingale

    If Jennifer Lawrence wins for Best Actress… can you imagine what this will do for her career? She’s only 22 and will bcecome the youngest BA winner ever. I’m afraid she is going to win because there’s no competition this year.

    Sasha, I really hope you write an article on that. You always tell it like it is and never mince words. From an honest point of view, do you think this will be a blessing and a curse? People starting to expect above and beyond from Lawrence and her career tanking? It has happened to other actresses and Lawrence is only 22. I personally think this will cement her as the best actress of her generation and Hunger Games is making her into a major movie star who can carry blockbusters on her own.

  • James

    JLaw should stand for Jude Law, it’s much closer (pun intended), think of another shortcut for Jennifer Lawrence. Nonetheless, Keira Knightley will be this year’s winner. Amanda Seyfried stands a huge chance for a nomination for Les Miserables. And Meryl Streep will get another nomination of course. C’mon, haven’t we all learned from lessons past?

  • oscar

    Marion Cotillard – Rust & Bone
    Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
    Helen Mirren – Hitchcock
    Maggie Smith – Quartet
    Quvenzhané Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild

  • JD

    Anna Karenina was such a disappointment. Keira Knightley has been dropped from predictions all together. All she does is period films. Will the Academy really nominate her for another period film? She needs to go out of her comfort zone and do something different to be nominated again. As for Anne Hathaway, I can’t even begin to fathom how ridiculious it is that people think she’s up for an Oscar nomination for Catwoman. Yeah she was good but not that good. There are far more deserving and this my top 5 in order:

    Jennifer Lawrence
    Marion Cotillard
    Helen Mirren
    Emmanuelle Riva
    Quvenzhane Wallis

  • unlikely hood

    I like Phantom’s bold style. Really.

    This race is already fun and is gonna get more fun – until the Guilds come out. Reading these comments, you’d think that the guilds are gonna split five – even ten – ways. But that never happens. Two or three performances are gonna win the lion’s share, maybe even just one or two. So try to think who those lucky performers are gonna be.

    I’m thinking Cotillard and RIva, oddly. Maybe Watts.

    After that, BP buzz will figure strongly. If you’ve got it, great, if you don’t, beware. In previous years the Oscars didn’t have more than 1 or 2 leading actresses in probable BP-contenders to choose from. This time they will, and it’ll make a difference, because voters will have bothered to see their films.

    So after the two guild favorites establish themselves, watch out for Lawrence, Hunt, Chastain, and Wallis.

    No one will feel bad about keeping Hathaway out of the BA race, because she’s a shoo-in for a BSA nod and a frontrunner to win it.

  • Kannada

    Jennifer Lawrence will become the youngest best actress oscar winner ever in February. I just can’t see anyone else winning unless Marion Cotillard comes out with a serious push from both critics and distributors. There are new reviews on rotten tomatoes for The Silver Linings Playbook and critics are seriously pushing Lawrence for the best actress nomination. In fact, they’re all vouching for her to win. She has a lot of buzz going on for her. For now, Lawrence has not only the nomination but the actual Oscar locked and sealed in her bag.

  • bee

    This year is so hard to predict. I think Marion Cotillard and Jennifer Lawrence are totally locked in but I’m not sure about the rest because none of the other three actreses out there have it locked in. Anyways, I think this year Jennifer Lawrence is winning. Insane considering her age but she’s totally winning.

  • Cline M

    The Knightley hate is seriously archaic. She’s as much as in the game as Watts. I think Wallis and Lawrence are the only locks at this point and the rest is pretty much up for grabs. Chastain, Knightley, and lots of other have yet to be seen by American critics so anything can happen.

  • Jake

    I don’t think its a weak year, I think its a unique and cool year. You have two foreigners, a sexy and badass cat dressing thief, a young breakthrough who’s gettin a huge shot in a comedy, another breakthrough playing a real CIA operative, a well known playing a tsunami survivor, a brit playing a classic character, a young girl in the midst of the hurricane, a legend playing Hitchcocks wife, and the most nominated actress playing a lower key role, thats as great as the rest of her roles. Pretty intersting if you ask me!

  • I HOPE “Beasts” gets SOMEthing. BestAdapted Screenplay might be all in the end. Why? Because hands down the Writer’s Branch USUALLY gets it right.

    Jennifer Lawrence is 22? Well, then they’ll think “WOW! The youngest best actress Oscar winner in History!” and be satisfied that they’ve done the right thing in serving youth…

    THe Actor’s Branch however has the SNOB factor playing big time. ALWAYS. And so “Beasts” is getting the reaction from them that Jeff Wells had when we first saw it. Look it up.

    Me? I LOVE “Beasts” and would personally vote for it all over the place, but I’m not an AMPAS member. If I were, I couldn’t write all that I do about all of this. It’s forbidden.

    AND they are NOT watching “Amour” The Octogenarian Academy are finding it too upsetting. I wonder if it will even score in Best Foreign Film…

    And “Anna Karenina” is not dead, by any means. Focus just told the press to hold EVERYTHING til November and then the flood gates will burst. They love Keira and she’s more mature and complicated in this dark, complex take on Anna. I think the Academy is going to like what they see and they WILL watch that screener. Or screening.

    “Hitchcock”s Helen Mirren was so good (She plays Alma, Hitchcock’s interesting wife) Mirren was so good that Fox Searchlight(who knows what they are doing) moved “Hitchcock” and Mirren’s Alma RIGHT into the middle of the awards season, just as they moved Helen Hunt to Supporting and more or less gave up on “Beasts” ‘QW….I’ve heard people make fun of her unusual name. Pete Hammond in particular. Tom O’Neil calls her “Miss Unpronounceable” and has said, they both agreed, in fact, that the Academy would not nominate some one who’s name they can’t pronounce.

    AND she’s STILL not a member of SAG! She and Dwight Henry should’ve joined immediately to stop this whole SAG thing. I’m sort of shocked that they didn’t.

    And back to Jennifer Lawrence…she’s got Harvey. AND Harvey’s also got Dame Maggie Smith giving a career capping performance as a difficult if not plain nasty retiring Opera Diva in “Quartet.” They are calling it “Harvey’s Christmas Suprise.” And TWC won’t be doing much until then, but then LOOK OUT! Dame Maggie COULD win it all! Either way, Harvey wins.

  • Zooey

    I have this feeling (maybe it’s because the performance is simply GENIUS!) that Emmanuelle Riva will be one of these very rare wins for a foreign language performance. The year in lead actress is so weak that when Riva starts winning critics’ awards, it could feel like a foregone conclusion. And there isn’t the big Hollywood star in a serious role to beat her. Cotillard has an Oscar and winning a second for another pure Oscar bait in French will be difficult. Jennifer Lawrence is simply too young. It could be a problem, no matter what everybody keeps saying. And being the early front-runner is always tricky as is being in a dramedy. You don’t know how voters will react to her performance. If the film is a surefire picture winner, she’s going to win. Otherwise I think it’ll be a close race. No more Mirren, really. From the trailer alone her performance is simply too much Helen Mirren pretending to be Hitchcock’s wife. I liked Imelda Staunton more. Keira has no shot. The film bombed and she isn’t that well-liked. I have a suspicion that it’s here where Maggie Smith will pop up. No buzz, but Tommy Lee Jones got in a few years ago with no buzz at all.

    Right now I’d say:


  • Tero Heikkinen

    Right now I’m thinking (and this is weird because we usually pretty much “know” this category’s lineup at this time of year):

    – Jessica Chastain
    – Marion Cotillard
    – Jennifer Lawrence
    – Emmanuelle Riva (winner)
    – Maggie Smith

    I think it could be cool to see a French actor giving the trophy to a French actress.

  • David

    “Pitty they won`t campaign her for iconic Katniss. SLP is a make-up for that omission like Downey`s Tropic Thunder nom was a make-up for Iron Man snub for which he should have been nominated.”

    Huh? Sorry but neither of those performances (Lawrence for THG and Downey Jr for Iron Man) are worthy of Oscar consideration.

  • Zooey

    @ Stephen Holt,

    I’m surprised that you don’t know it but Lawrence will be 23 and not the youngest best actress winner. Marlee Matlin will remain the youngest winner unless Wallis wins.

    On Maggie: She won’t win. The film’s got mixed reactions in the UK and Smith gets the ink as part of an ensemble, not a standout, which hurts.

  • Mattoc

    Out of the ones I’ve seen Riva is the standout. I’m thinking;

    1. Riva (Amour)
    2. Cotillard (Rust & Bone)
    3. Wallis (Beasts…)
    4. Lawrence (The Hunger Games)

    Of films I haven’t seen, but based on opinion I trust

    5. Watts ( The Impossible)

    I don’t agree that Amour is a downer.

  • Jake

    judi dench wont get a Best Actress nod, and neither will maggie smith. Quartet is way too light and i read that Maggie could do the role in her sleep. TBEMH is good but Judi Dench isnt in it enough nor is she strong enough in it to get a BA nod.

  • Jenna

    @zooey Ummm no. Jennifer Lawrence just turned 22 this past August. She’s not turning 23 until next year… in August.

  • Mattoc

    The only possible noms for Best Exotic are Smith or Wilkinson. I did not like this film very much though.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    Judi Dench would have a better chance for Best Actress from Skyfall, but that would be the biggest surprise ever. Yes, Best Actress, Dench is a lead, if you didn’t know.

  • vv

    I think it will be (in order of likelihood):

    Jennifer Lawrence
    Marion Cotillard
    Quvenzhané Wallis
    Helen Hunt
    Emmanuelle Riva

  • caleb roth

    Rachel Weisz, please

  • steve50

    “I think it could be cool to see a French actor giving the trophy to a French actress.”

    I agree – that would be a great moment.

    “AND they are NOT watching “Amour” The Octogenarian Academy are finding it too upsetting. I wonder if it will even score in Best Foreign Film…”

    That’s ridiculous. I don’t see either the film or Riva being denied a nomination, at least.

  • Wallis for best actress nom? What was so special about her acting that she merits a nomination? Will Smith’s daughter could have done it as evenly.

    And Hathaway for BA nom? I think this is just her manager’s methodical way of getting her the BSA award (and not just a nom). Because if someone else is much deserving in the BA category then perhaps voters will give her the BSA award for Les Miserables.

  • GoOnNow

    Anne Hathaway for Best Actress? That’s a joke 😀 😀 😀

    I’m not even going to talk about screen time, or her Catwoman being nothing more than a Batman wannabe at the end.

    But what pisses me off the most is how her performance has the “Oh look at me, I’m such an ambitious actress” vibe

    It’s a good performance, the character is given a great start and after that there’s nothing.

  • murtaza

    well i can’t stop laughing seeing HATHAWAY for the lead, this is so stupid and totally absurd.

  • Parker

    Jennifer Lawrence – performance, fuckability, box office.

    It doesn’t matter who the other four nominees are; they ain’t winning.

  • Sonja

    I love Hathaway, I really do, but I don’t think she’s getting double noms.
    She’ll get nominated (and pretty sure will end up winning) best supporting actress for “Les Miz”.
    Colour me deeply surprised if she does.

    Jennifer Lawrence has a strong chance of winning right now (she has Weistein at her back and her film’s a crowdpleaser), but if Jessica Chastain becomes a frontrunner for the Drama Globe, then she could also become a threat for the Oscar.
    (the Academy does prefer drama over comedy after all….)
    Two young beauties fight for Oscar could very well please the Hollywood staight white old men club, now that the “pressure” of giving a legendary actress her third award is gone. (Finally!)

    It’s all waaaayyyy to early to tell, we’ll see how everything will turn out the next few months.
    But just looking at the talk of best actress race last year in September 2011 (where most people did not even thought Meryl would be NOMINATED for TIL)…. everything IS possible and you can loose your “frontrunner” status faster than you think. No one is safe at all.

  • Raygo

    While we’re talking about the ridculousness of the BA race and, let’s face it, an INCREDIBLY WEAK year for leads, let’s toss in Nicole Kidman for The Paper Boy, shall we? NOTE: Jessica Chastain is not the star of Zero Dark Thirty. She is merely first billed. There’s a difference people.

  • James

    @Stephen Holt

    Yes, Quvenzhané Wallis is this year’s Q’orianka Kilcher!

  • Nik Grape

    Predicting Hathaway in the top 5 is a bold move but I suspect you’ll revoke that prediction pretty soon. If we’re going to call Lawrence, Cotillard, Wallis and Knightley locks (though I’m not so sure about Knightley..) I seriously doubt Hathaway stands a chance next to Riva, Chastain and Watts all vying for that final slot.

    Hathaway as lead in TDKR is like Winslet’s “lead turn” in The Reader. The small difference is that one’s a comic book movie about a flying man dressed like a bat, the other is a Holocaust film dripping with sentimentality.

    It’s not happening.

  • GoOnNow

    @ Nik Grape, you can’t compare Hathaway to Winslet

    I practically hate Winslet’s win that year, but to me she is a lead in that film.

    While she’s one of the 2 essential characters in The Reader,
    Hathaway is one of MANY essential characters in The Dark Knight Rises, it’s just different.

  • Nik Grape

    @GoOnNow, they’re both female leads in male-centered films. I’d agree that Winslet’s character has the bigger impact to her story than Hathaway’s Catwoman does in TDKR, but at the end of the day, they are both the female leads which is how I guess the studios justify their campaigns. It just so happens that TDKR is more of an ensemble than The Reader, but that doesn’t change anything.

    Neither play the main character of the story, that’s what I meant.

  • Jerry

    Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
    Quvenzhané Wallis- Beasts of the Southern wild

    Keira Knightley – Anna Karenina
    Helen Mirren – Hitchcock
    Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty

  • Keira Knightley IS very much liked and respected. She got a Best Actress nomination for “Pride and Prejudice” also a revisionist look at a classic directed by Joe Wright.

    And one of Sasha’s maxims “Never underestimate Harvey Weinstein” could very well prove true in BActress this year, too. Nobody’s talking about “Quartet” (which I saw in TOronto) because they haven’t really started screening it yet. They are concentrating on “Silver Linings Playbook” now and will be giving it the full Weinstein PUSH.

    And yes, at this time last year, NO ONE was talking seriously about Meryl Streep winning. I still don’t feel that SHE won that award. THey should’ve just handed it to Harvey. HE did that for her. And I think that pretty much he can work his magic again on one or both of his female contenders, Lawrence OR Dame Maggie.

    The reception by the audiences of “Quartet” in Toronto was tumultuous. AND Dustin Hoffman did a VERY good job directing it. Audiences went wild over HIM, too.

  • Jerm

    Wallis has the most overrated performance ever. Not understanding why we are all even considering it among the best of the year, same goes for Henry who also won’t be nominated……..But anyways here’s how I see it.

    Watts/Hunt/Chastain (Watts if Hunt and Chastain go supporting, otherwise it’s a throw down)

  • TOM

    Anne Hathaway for TDKR really has no business being in the BActress slot. Seems like her team wants to go the 2for1 route – if I can’t win in 1 category, vote for me in the 2nd. (Didn’t particularly work for Sigourney Weaver).
    I’ll have to hold judgement for Marion/Jessica/Riva/JLawrence until I actually see the work. (Ditto anything in Lincoln/Les)
    DreamsofSWild ‘a lock’ for Best Picture? If 7 slots only are filled this year, this film might not make the cut.

  • mel

    JLaw may be good in SLP but The Academy does not award comedies and I feel they would give it to her if she does an outstanding job, something you cannot ignore, something that could become a classic performance, something that would be iconic in 50 years, does she give that? I don’t think she is at that level. Not yet.

    And I don’t thik she is the best actres her generation. She still have weak point and if she does not count with a good direction she falls hard (like in that scene in THG when she is about the get inside the arena where she overacted). BTW, THG, she did not give a good performance, she carried the movie but it was not memorable and she overacted her way through the movie; her chemistry with her costar was nonexistene; her performance,campy and the little girls stole all the scenes they shared.
    The thing is that there really is not another contender for the award if Knightley is falling shortly. They are not going to give it to a foreigner (again). So come down to Chastain and Smith. The Academy already knows about Chastain and how good she is. She hasworked with a lot of people and studios which means they will support her for the win. Plus, no one can deny her talent and she is really nice in interviews.
    I could see them giving it to Watts because she is someone who has done many movies and a veteran by now and she seems to get a good role once every five years.
    Do not get me wrong, Lawrence is good but she still needs to grow. She has too much buzz around her but she is not Meryl (to put it nicely), she is overrated. I don’t see her getting it this year unless Harvey moves his cards wisely (as always).

  • GoOnNow

    @Stephen Holt, thanks for saying that about Quartet.

    With only two leading ladies this year at the Winsteins’ corner, isn’t it blatantly clear that Harvey will devote mind, body and soul to getting them both nominated.

    Also isn’t it again blatantly clear that he’s pushing Silver Linings Playbook first, as he did My Week With Merilyn last year?

    And Quartet right before the awards season, like he did with The Iron Lady last year? (the limited December 28 release).

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Oscar voters will be watching the Dowager Countess on their TV sets during the Oscar voting period. This is when Season 3 opens in the USA.

    I find it funny that people ignore all of the above.

  • AD

    My predictions:

    Mirren or Riva

  • Bennett

    Sasha Stone, Anne Hathaway for TDKR? Are you kidding me? Are you dreaming? Are you “Stone”d?

    It´s laughable even if the was pushed as supporting, because she’s just ok onscreen. Her role, by the way, could have been replaced by any other and the narrative wouldn´t be affected.

    But let´s focus on what has been the issue: finding the five “best actresses” out there. I guess it will go something like this:

    Emanuelle Riva (in a weak female year she could pop up as an alternative foreign great choice, just like Fernanda Montenegro in Central Station, 1998… remember how great she was).

    Marion Cotillard

    Jennifer Lawrence

    Keira Knightley

    Naomi Watts or Helen Mirren

  • KB

    If “The Impossible” is a critical and financial success in the U.S., I can see Watts being a potential winner. Lawrence is way ahead at this point, but imo, Watts is the only conceivable alternative winner.

    My Top 5 atm:
    1. Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”
    2. Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”
    3. Helen Mirren, “Hitchcock”
    4. Marion Cotillard, “Rust and Bone”
    5. Keira Knightley, “Anna Karenina”

    6. Quevenzhane Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild” (I’ve seen it, and personally do not get the hype).
    7. Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”
    8. Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”
    9. Meryl Streep, “Great Hope Springs”
    10. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, “Smashed”

  • John

    I’m forgetting the perfect storm that is Maggie Smith + Dustin Hoffman influence + Harvey! + 12/28 release + British voting bloc + Downton Abbey on tv, etc.

  • Jake

    A lot of Anne Hathaway haters on this website. She deserves the nomination for TDKR! You commenters have been brainwashed by the Academy Awards and only like things that are considered to be oscar bait.

  • rufussondheim

    Well, I liked Hathaway in TDKR, she was the best thing in it most likely. But I’d still put Jennifer Lawrence above her for The Hunger Games.

    But neither will happen.

  • Houstonrufus

    Jake, huh? I would guess that most people here like Hathaway very much. We’re just being realistic based on what the academy has historically nominated. And I’d also guess that many here think Hathaway will be nominated for supp actress for Les Miz.

  • rubyman1

    Anne Hathaway was definately the stand out performance in The Dark Knight Rises… However, she has so much buzz for Les Miserables, that no one is even gonna think about her role in the Batman film. Besides, if they are going to give The Dark Knight Rises any credit where it’s do; it will be a Best Picture nomination (along with the effects categories of course)…

  • Seriously Anne Hathaway is never going to get even near Oscar nomination for Dark Knight Rises, anyways she is going to most probably win for Les Mis.

    But I would like to draw attention towards Naomi Watts. I think people are not realizing this but she might be able to pull the rug from under the feet of all other actresses. If Impossible becomes as big a hit as it has turned out in Spain [ biggest grosser with figures estimated to reach 35 million dollars there alone] going on to gross 200 million worldwide, I see her winning Best Actress.
    The only issue here is the the film is releasing very late and hence there won’t be any figures to show before nominations. The Production house should realize this and if they are wise enough, preponing the film’s release might give more breathing space to Watts and also the film itself which might fancy its chances at the Best Picture nomination.

    Let’s wait and watch. As of now, the truth is if things don’t change she might find it difficult to crack the nominations. But if everything goes her way, be ready for surprise this Oscar season.

  • TOM

    Regarding AHathaway – if LesM wasn’t showing up at the end of the year, I would most definitely be support of her being nominated for BSupporting Actress in TDKR. No way was she the ‘lead’ female, much like Heath/Joker being Lead Actor. But, she completely wowwed the screen with her Selene Kyle and that performance should be nominated.
    So, seeing that she can’t be nominated twice in the same category, her bets seem to be riding on the December release of LesM. Unless she’s awful in this role, she’d probably want to ride the wave with both films. (Not that her Selene is at fault, but that film does still hold the taint of the Aurora shooting…)
    As for the other potential top 5 – Watts for The Impossibles…haven’t seen it, but wouldn’t voters want to reward her for the Princess Di role around the corner than for a disaster movie? (I’m already tsumania fatigued after watching Hereafter)>
    Mirren for Hitchcock -haven’t seen it…but isn’t the movie about him…not her? (Might be, but that never stopped Reese and WtheLine…)

  • Tom, she had far more screen time than Cotillard, so therefore Hathaway was the lead actress in TDKR. And what better way to say MOTHER FUCK YOU, James Holmes, than for AMPAS to go all-in on TDKR and nominate it to hell and back.

  • Bennett

    Did anyone think before saying Anne HAthaway is the LEAD in TDKR?

    Come on! If you say Heath Ledger was CO-LEAD in TDK I’ll understand, and pretty much agree. Tom Hardy is the new villain around here, so he could be considered CO-LEAD this time. Although, he is SUPPORTING (not only speaking Academicaly).

    So why on earth ANNE HATHAWAY and Selina Kyle can be considered LEAD? The film is NOT about her character, her character DOES NOT influence the main narrative (her actions could be done by any other character), she DOES NOT have the most onscreen time…

    SO why?

    This point seems lunatic to me.

    YOu may not believe, but I do like her very much, I think she is a great actress, could be a formidable winner for Supporting in Les Miserables. I loved TDKR too. I just want to keep it rational.

  • TOM

    Regarding AHathaway trying to be placed in Lead for TDKR – the ‘vibe’ I get from her is that she desperately(!) wants an award and she wants it to LesM. She’s playing shell games by pushing her as Lead so that that performance doesn’t overtake the ballots. What could be a bigger nightmare for her than to watch the nominations read and them announcing ‘For Best Supporting Actress…AH for TDKR’ – and no nod for LesM 🙂 She’s surely lose to somebody.
    Also – I know she had more screen time than MC, but I still wouldn’t consider her character Lead Actress at all, unless Catwoman appeared in The Help.
    As for a royal burn, the distributors of BoftheSWild should just take the Tatum O’Neal route and place QWallis in the BSupporting Actress slot. Both of them had 95% of the screen time, could be classified as under the age of 10 ‘juveniles’ and both were/are unknowns. I’d love to see the camera shot of AH if QW won in that category.

  • VVS

    the stand out in TDKR was Anne Hathaway? Did we watch the same film? I was impressed that she was able to drop her usual goofy bubbly act and play a serious damnsel in distress, but no way did she do anything unique or new in that role. So how is she the stand out? Meanwhile, Tom Hardy tried to do something completely new and foreign to us, by bringing a dichatomized performance by differentiating his work through the voice, and the body.

    I predict, Jessica chastain will win. She is by far the best actress on this list, and if her role in Zero turns out to be heavy, she will simply wow critics.

  • Chris138


    Or maybe some of us just don’t think that The Dark Knight Rises is the undisputed masterpiece to rival The Godfather that you seem to believe it is. I like Anne Hathaway, but she is nowhere near Oscar-worthy in her performance as Selina Kyle.

    And this is coming from someone who thought The Dark Knight was snubbed for Best Picture and would rank TDKR as my #2 of the year so far.

  • keifer

    If they can nominate Judi Dench for “Mrs. Henderson Presents”, there’s every conceivable possibility she’ll get a nod for “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”. And whether you liked the film or not, let us not forget that AMPAS membership is made up of the very octogenarians who made this later film such a big hit. It played in first and second run theaters for over six months here on the west coast!

    I think Judi Dench is a shoe-in for a nomination, despite a crowded field. And she is very, very good in the movie.

  • Zooey

    @ Jenna,

    okay, but she’s turning 23 in the year when she’s supposed to win the Oscar. Marlee Matlin turned 22 in the year she won. And she is born in August, too. So if Lawrence wins, she’ll be a year older than Matlin at the time of her win.

  • Me34

    Well, probably nobody will see this (I arrived too late at the discussion), but what if Melissa Leo gets in for “Francine”? The woman is enormously talented and so underrated, but has managed for some reason to make critics and award voters recognize her out of little (to non-existent) buzz most of the times (I still can’t believe she has an Oscar… I actually couldn’t even believe she received an Oscar nomination for “Frozen river”, in which she was so great). I know about “The trick is not minding”, but one can dream though… 🙂

  • gabriel

    I think Riva will be like Swinton last year.

  • Jessica Chastain is now being campaigned for Best Actress, not Supp. in “Zero Dark Thirty.” She’s the new Meryl Streep. She could get nominated for reading the Canadian phone book.

  • Simon Warrasch

    Right now i would predict for Lead Actress and Lead Actor:

    Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

    Marion Cotillard – Rust & Bone
    Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
    Quenzhane Wallis – Beast of the Southern Wild
    Emanuelle Riva – Amour
    Mary Elizabeth Winstead – Smashed

    Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

    Joaquin Pheonix – The Master
    Daniel Day Lewis – Lincoln
    John Hawkes – The Sessions
    Hugh Jackman – Les Miserables
    Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook

  • Simon Warrasch

    As Runner Ups i would predict:

    Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

    Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
    Naomi Watts – The Impossible
    Keira Knightley – Anna Karenina
    Helen Mirren – Hitchcock
    Helen Hunt – The Sessions (If she goes Lead)

    Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

    Richard Gere – Arbitrage
    Denzel Washington – The Flight
    Anthony Hopkins – Hitchcock
    Ben Affleck – Argo
    Jean Louis Trintignant – Amour

  • Simon Warrasch

    If i would be an Academy Award Member i would nominate as follows:

    Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

    Marion Cotillard – Rust & Bone
    Maria Hofstätter – Paradies: Liebe
    Steffie Kühnert – Halt auf freier Strecke
    Emanuelle Riva – Amour
    Birgit Minichmayr – Gnade

    Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

    Omar Sy – The Intouchables
    Joaquin Pheonix – The Master
    Mads Mikkelsen – The Hunt
    Matthias Shoenarts – Rust & Bone
    Milan Peschel – Halt auf freier Strecke

  • dave

    what does everyone think of Knightley’s chances? Most people are predicting her and her reviews are pretty strong

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