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By most estimations, Jennifer Lawrence has the Oscar race for Best Actress sewn up. The one-two punch of her work in Silver Linings Playbook, currently receiving very good reviews, and the $400 million she generated for the Hunger Games franchise, gives her the edge heading into the race.

But there are a few competing factors at play. The first, Jessica Chastain is about to hit with Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty. Chastain carries the film. Unlike Lawrence, she isn’t “the girlfriend” but is the CIA agent obsessed with the capture of Osama Bin Laden. Imagine that, after all is said and done a woman gets to take credit for that? It is arguably among the best characters of the year.

But, as far as we know, no one has seen Zero Dark Thirty. Strangely, Steve Pond just put Zero Dark Thirty in his number one spot on Gurus of Gold to win. If that’s so, Chastain’s chances to win just shot up.

Meanwhile, there is the powerful, most moving performance by the young Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild. If there is a role she can be compared to most it’s Tatum O’Neal in Paper Moon and she did win the Oscar in supporting for work in that film. Sometimes a heartbreaker like that is undeniable. Can Lawrence top a performance that is as surprising and moving as Wallis’?

Sony has two strong Best Actress contenders competing – and both seem likely to be nominated as well – Marion Cotillard for her stellar work in Rust & Bone and Emannuelle Riva for her work in Amour. Knowing how Hollywood works, Cotillard would have the edge, being that is so Je ne sais quoi.

But many are calling Riva’s performance the best performance of the year as she slipped from her mortal coil before her husband’s eyes in Amour, a downer of a film but a truthful story about the pains of loss, the bonds of love and what it means to really say “in sickness and in health.”

And then there is Keira Knightley, ravishing and cold as ice in Anna Karenina. Is it Knightley’s best work to date? It very well might be. Her Karenina is a much more complex one that we’re used to. She dips into longing, desire and ultimately madness. Since we’ve been watching her from her teens years one we’ve been afforded the opportunity to see Knightley evolve as an actress. To evolve one must take risks, and that is what she’d one here. The film itself is a risk – Joe Wright saved on production costs making what would ordinarily be a sweeping epic (and an easier sell for Oscar) into a tightly closed theater-like setting. That makes it an unexpectedly edgy art piece. Can Knightley push through and if so, whom does she bump?

Helen Mirren is a last minute entry for her work in Hitchcock. If she went supporting she’d have a much better chance but you can’t put Mirren in Supporting for a role like that. And then there’s Naomi Watts in The Impossible – a Tsunami survivor searching for her husband and son.

You can see how shit gets real as we close in on the end of the year. Gone are the hopes of fringe dwellers who have the slimmest of chances to get in. With only five slots the reasons why some get in and others don’t have to do with things we’d all rather not admit to – like looks and popularity. The bigger the star, the better the chance for a nomination.


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  • alan of montreal

    I think it’s going to come down to Lawrence vs. Chastain. I think Lawrence has the edge because she’s in a crowd-pleaser, but Chastain also has a larger body of quality work to draw from, plus she’s getting raves for her work in The Heiress on Broadway right now, which just screams “serious actress,” so that might even things out a little. I suppose the critics awards will give us some small indication at the very least. The other three spots, quite frankly, are anybody’s guess.

  • VVS

    Chastain vs Hathaway

    by the time the last big Oscar films come out, Lawrence will probably be hanging on by a strand of hair

  • Jerry

    @alan of montreal: The New York Times and other influencial newspapers slammed Jessica Chastain’s Broadway performance of The Heiress. Not that it matters since those Broadway snobs are usually not nice to movie stars. No one in Hollywood will care about negative or positive Broadway reviews. When it comes to the Oscar race I think Chastain will have the edge playing an important female character. The Academy would want to reward such a role. Daniel Day-Lewis also has the edge playing one of our most important American Presidents.

  • Jerry

    @WS: If you think it will be between Chastain Vs. Hathaway I suggest you read Les Miserables or watch one of the DVD concerts. I won’t spoil it for you but trust me Anne Hathaway’s role is significant but small. You can’t call it a lead role by any stretch of the imagination. The trailers are deceiving. Jennifer Lawrence haters will just have to suck it up and get used to her staying in the race. She ain’t going nowhere baby.

  • Raygo

    The first, Jessica Chastain is about to hit with Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty. Chastain carries the film.

    Still not convinced, based on the trailers, that she “carries” the film. I feels like an ensemble. If I’m wrong, then I’d be looking at her more than Lawrence, because SLP feels lightweight.

  • Thanks Jerry. Great point! Also many of the contenders are in movies that have NOT been seen by most. Nice to speculate but it’s a loooooooooooong way to go and quite a few movies still to be seen.

  • Cyrus

    Great post but wish you didn’t ____ [spoiler discretely removed — Ryan]

    A lot of us haven’t seen it yet 🙁

  • murtaza

    saw rust n bone, wasn’t quite impressed by the film, one doesn’t get to see what he expects in an amazing story like this which is wasted here. although acting was good, perhaps the only strong essence in the film but still cotillard doesn’t deserve to win this year.

  • I must reiterate my objection of Lawrence being nominated for the wrong performance, which the People’s Choice Awards did its best to correct today with their 2013 movie nominations:
    The Amazing Spider-Man
    The Avengers
    The Dark Knight Rises
    The Hunger Games
    Snow White and the Huntsman
    Channing Tatum, Magic Mike
    Johnny Depp, Dark Shadows
    Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Looper
    Robert Downey, Jr.. The Avengers
    Will Smith, Men in Black 3
    Anne Hathaway, The Dark Knight Rises
    Emma Stone, The Amazing Spider-Man
    Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games
    Mila Kunis, Ted
    Scarlett Johansson, The Avengers
    Emma Thompson
    Maggie Smith
    Meryl Streep
    Michelle Pfeiffer
    Susan Sarandon
    The Amazing Spider-Man
    The Avengers
    The Dark Knight Rises
    The Hunger Games
    Men in Black 3
    Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth, The Avengers
    Christian Bale, The Dark Knight Rises
    Will Smith, Men in Black 3
    Anne Hathaway, The Dark Knight Rises
    Emma Stone, The Amazing Spider-Man
    Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games
    Kristen Stewart, Snow White and the Huntsman
    Scarlett Johansson, The Avengers
    21 Jump Street
    Dark Shadows
    Pitch Perfect
    What to Expect When You’re Expecting
    Adam Sandler, That’s My Boy
    Ben Stiller, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
    Channing Tatum, Magic Mike
    Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, The Campaign
    Cameron Diaz, Bad Teacher
    Emily Blunt, The Five-Year Engagement
    Jennifer Aniston, Horrible Bosses
    Mila Kunis, Ted
    Reese Witherspoon, This Means War
    The Lucky One
    Magic Mike
    The Perks of Being a Wallflower
    The Vow
    Bradley Cooper, The Words
    Channing Tatum, The Vow
    Jake Gyllenhaal, End of Watch
    Liam Neeson, Taken 2
    Zac Efron, The Lucky One
    Charlize Theron, Snow White and The Huntsman
    Emma Watson, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
    Keira Knightley, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
    Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
    Rachel McAdams, The Vow
    The Avengers
    The Dark Knight
    The Hunger Games
    Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man
    Chris Evans as Captain America
    Chris Hemsworth as Thor
    Christian Bale as Batman
    Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man
    Emma Stone / Andrew Garfield, The Amazing Spider-Man
    Jennifer Lawrence / Josh Hutcherson / Liam Hemsworth, The Hunger Games
    Kristen Stewart / Chris Hemsworth, Snow White and the Huntsman
    Rachel McAdams / Channing Tatum, The Vow
    Scarlett Johansson / Jeremy Renner, The Avengers

  • Sonja

    Jennifer Lawrence is the frontrunner right now. She has Harvey Weinstein at her back and we all know if Harvey really wants something he gets it.
    He might not get a Best Picture, Best Director or Best Actor win three times in a row, but a second Best Actress win is possible.

    Though…. I voted for Chastain, because if she gets rave reviews and wins the Drama Globe, she’s at least a real threat.

    Wallis will win the break through awards.

  • helios

    Marion Cotillard is everywhere. She is working hard for that nomination.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    Will this be the category with no excitement on Oscar night? I mean, half of AD readers bet on the same person. It probably happens, too.

  • Yashar

    Come on. Lawrence has already won this one. Academy tends to award the characters they like / enjoy and not the actual actors or their abilities. Lawrence’s character is sex addict that is kinda “cured” (In their mostly old and stupid mind) in a feel good movie. Oscar in the bag unless there was a visual transformation case…

  • Good point, Cyrus.

    We’ll rephrase the post to be more obscure, and I’ll remove the same spoiler from your comment too, ok?

  • I mean, half of AD readers bet on the same person.

    Then the other half of us need to speak up, yes? This isn’t a done deal. Likewise Hathaway. I’m not wild about handing Ann Hathaway an Oscar based on 20 seconds we’ve seen of her in a trailer. I don’t care how many thousands of hours of talk shows she does.

    Jennifer Lawrence takes on a helluva astonishing role next year in Serena. Can we please try not to pre-ejaculate all over her just yet?

  • Yogsss

    Its Lawrence to lose at this point. A weak year for Best Actress I must say.

    Also: Anne Hathaway, The Dark Knight Rises. Not sure if serious :lol

  • Its Lawrence’s to lose at this point.

    Who else was clinging to that cocksure phrase on November 5th?

  • Silver Linings Playbook had a Metacritic score of 78 for weeks because there were only 9 early reviews.

    Today the number of reviews doubled to 18. The score remains 78.

    2 scores of 100 for the past month. 3 scores of 100 now.

  • Macarena

    It might be too son for Lawrence but I agree there is no one else right now to put on a fight. Also, can we stop saying that she was the one responsible for THG success? Their love for the book was the only reason why people went to see the movie; she, like Stewart and Pattinson are lucky to be cast with huge franchises and BO numbers.

  • Unlikely hood

    Unlike some races – say, Best Actor – this one is so up in the air that year-end awards are gonna make a big difference. So I think we’re not predicting the nominees as much as predicting who will win the NYFC, the BFCA, etc. Where I agree with Sasha is that a star has a much better chance of sneaking in without such a laurel. That’s why you can’t count out Keira Knightley to make the five. Wallis will really need such “outside” support; Lawrence won’t. I think cotillard and riva are both in only if they both win a lot of these pre-awards, like say Julie Christie and Ellen Page both did 5 years ago. But I think that’s unlikely – only one of them will win a lot of them, and that will be Sony/france’s nominee.

    Hard to say now but this lineup wouldn’t surprise me:


  • Bill

    Am I the only one hoping for a last minute surge by Naomi Watts? I hope the fact that Diana comes out next year doesn’t hurt her chances this year for Impossible.

  • It might be too son for Lawrence but I agree there is no one else right now to put on a fight.

    If Lawrence can pull it off, she’ll be the second youngest woman in Oscar history to win Best Actress.

    Marlee Matlin was 21.

    current #2, Janet Gaynor won in 1927 when she was 22 years and 222 days old.

    on Feb 24th next year, Jennifer Lawrence will be 22 years and 193 days old.

  • For while my favorite is Helen Hunt, great and heartbreaking in The Sessions.
    She´s not supporting, she´s really leading.
    Hope Academy can be smart and make justice, like Did to Winslet, going as leading for The Reader.

  • Pink

    I got to see Silver Linings Playbook in New York last week and I can say that the trailers show nothing regarding performances, especially Jennifer Lawrence’s. She knocks it out of the ballpark in the film. She has a big scene with Robert Dinero and holds her own really well. Watch the film before you say, “oh she can’t win for a romcom!”

  • Fabinho, I’m not buying into Helen Hunt as supporting either. I call foul. It’s unfair to actual supporting contenders when they have to compete against an actress who occupies the central starring female role in a film.

  • AD

    Well it seems like at this point in the game Lawrence has the edge on the win but who knows. I am not convinced that Chastain’s role is a main role but more of an ensemble more like Argo’s cast. But I am definetely curious. Mirren is also a question mark since she has the name brand but it doesn’t seem to be such as hit movie as Searchlight predicted (or hyped it).
    For now I say:
    Cottillard (or Chastain)

  • Glenn UK

    So many movies to be released – Watts, Chastain ….. and dare I say, Streisand! It’s a popularity contest remember – who is going to work the circuit the hardest – that is what is all comes down to. In the Actress race, the actress can indeed phone in their performance and win, as has been seen occasionally.

  • Ryan, I agree.
    It´s really indelicate and unfair put leadings as supporting, like Jake Gyllenhaal in Broceback Mountain, Cate Blanchett in Notes on a Scandal and now Hunt in The Sessions.
    If Thelma & Louise was a movie from 2000`s, who would go for supporting, Sarandon ou Davis?
    It´s a shame!

  • TOM

    Of the actresses listed – I’ve seen Beasts – Only this website is keeping her alive. Though her performance had it’s moments, voters will probably only see this on a screener and its effect would’nt be the same as seeing in a darkened theater. I’d place her in the Sidibe ‘Precious’/Top 5/Thanks for coming category.
    I’d like to think that Riva has a shot….but I suspect that the subject matter will give older Academy voters the Away From Her/About Schmidt ‘it sucks to age’ avoidance.
    Chastain – Renner didn’t win for The Hurt Locker, so, I’ll decide when I see it. (I feel that the whole Libya scandal/CIA sex scandal will taint the whole essence of anyone wanting to root for this film.)
    Lawrence – She seems to have ‘the heat.’ It really would be remarkable to see someone like her to win (as opposed to the sleepwalking Kristin Stewart or some T&A bimbo.)
    Watts – I like her, but Hurricane Sandy probably washed away anyone wanting to see this ‘holiday’ film.
    Streep/Mirren – both headed for the “Honorable Mention” category…
    Cotillard – I want to see this film.

  • Streisand nominated this year for The Guilt Trip?
    IT WOULD BE AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!
    But better would be she winning for Gypsy and after as director for Skinny and Cat. 😀

  • “Of the actresses listed – I’ve seen Beasts – Only this website is keeping her alive.”

    Tom, you said everything.
    No more words about thar child and that terrible movie!

  • Winston

    This site loves Chastain, the 35 year old “ingenue.” Nothing against her but she is just a competent, attractive actress, no more, no less. The simple fact is that two dozen actresses can do what she does. Also, Chastain’s character in the upcoming film seems like unmitgated nonsense. “The intrepid woman who singlehandedly tracked down Bin Laden.” LOL. Because no one else was looking for him. Not to mention that Bin Laden was found based on a tip for a reward. Did she lead the Seal Team too? Giving points for playing an important woman should at least have some basis in reality. This whole “it’s the right type of film” is annoying. Acting skill should be what matters. Shoud be.

    Honestly, Wallis is completely underserving. She didn’t act. Why? Because she was six. Credit her director, but any talk of instinct or precociousness is a joke. Even worse than Castle-Hughes. If she can truly act she will have oportunities to prove it later on. But it reeks of condescension.

  • As I write this, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith both have one vote each. Helen Mirren has nine. That’s equal to Anne Hathaway.

    Aye fuck Anne Hathaway has a better shot than Judi Dench or Maggie Smith. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Quartet are so far up the Academy’s street! At least one of those two will surely make it in, as will Helen Mirren, I expect. This is typical fanboy behaviour, neglecting the chances of the older, less ‘fuckable’ contenders in favour of the younger, sexier actresses from the major blockbusters. They’ll shit their pants when Anne doesn’t make it for TDKR.

  • Genadijus

    My predictions for nominations:
    Jennifer Lawrence (will win)
    Naomi Watts (must/should win)
    Helen Mirren
    Jessica Chastain
    Marion Cotillard

  • There’s SUCH a Jennifer Lawrence Love Fest going on right now whereever I go, I just can’t believe it!

    And Jessica Chastain’s here-to-fore unblemished reputation as a serious actor’s actor who never makes a wrong step is now damaged forever by the flop “The Heiress” is makin on Bway. I saw it. I couldn’t believe how bad it was. And she’s the main reason, unbelievably.

    Bad, bad timing, right in the middle of Oscar season.

    This is going to be one of those lock-steps to the podium where perhaps the same four people keep winning everything and Jennifer is the strongest bid Harvey’s got this year to win.

    Maybe the only one even.

  • jorge

    for me its riva or knightley to lose… dont know why, im not even sure if they are going to make it, i like jennifer lawrence so much, but i really think she is very young to win…

    wallis is in…

  • Casey

    I think watts could be pushed to the win.
    My vote will go to Emmanuel riva.
    But I feel it will be between Lawrence vs. watts with watts pulling out a surprise win

  • Well, Naomi Watts currents stands 2nd in the polling and having seen her Impossible, I am just waiting for it to open officially in US. For me, she is the trump card this season. The Impossible has to hit the same notes in US as it has in Spain where it became the biggest all time blockbuster and then you are actually looking at Watts pulling out the rug from Lawrence’s feet. Wishful thinking ? It isn’t.

  • Zach

    I voted for Jennifer Lawrence because everyone else is bandying about her performance like she’s a shoo-in, but come on, from the trailer alone, she looks more like Helen Hunt in As Good as It Gets than Charlize Theron in Monster. No shoo-ins in this category, it seems. That said, she’s a bankable beauty with a prior nod, which means it’s foreseeably “her time.” The Academy is not going to want to nominate a nine-year-old girl. Keira would look great on paper except that the movie looks too Baz Luhrmanny for the Acad’s taste, plus she plays the same part in every movie. Maybe Marion Cotillard should win. It’s pure Oscar-bait, foreign-language or not, and she has been less affected by the Best Actress curse than probably anyone over the last decade other than Helen Mirren, who won’t be winning just for playing Mrs. Hitchcock. Chastain is at least starring in an “important film,” and hell, she’s going to be the Kevin Bacon of her generation. Yet it still feels too soon for her to win Lead.

    Where are all the good roles? And very OT but what is so great about Denzel in Flight? Just seen it and nothing special when you’ve got Day-Lewis, Phoenix, and Hopkins in the mix and career-bests from Hawkes, Jackman, and even Bradley Cooper. For the record I’ve seen much better, more interesting movies about alcoholism such as Days of Wine and Roses and Leaving Las Vegas. Denzel doesn’t come close.

    Rant over from a long-time AD reader who has to distance himself from the sport of Academy forecasting for several months at a time.

  • phantom

    1. Jennifer Lawrence (I don’t think she’ll win, though. I know…shocking.)
    2. Marion Cotillard (Solid near-lock status since Cannes.)

    3. Jessica Chastain (Chastain in a carriemathisonesque role ? OSCAR!!!)

    4. Naomi Watts (I consider her the ‘most likely to surprise’ contender.)
    5. Keira Knightley (If the Academy screening goes well…IF)

    6. Quvenzhané Wallis (She has to overcome the often damaging early release date.)

    7. Helen Mirren (I know, I know…she will probably make the cut.)
    8. Emmanuelle Riva (Year-best, but the film is too depressing for the Academy.)
    9. Maggie Smith (Great potential considering her IT ‘Girl’ status + Weinstein.)
    10.Meryl Streep (They will probably wait for ‘August’.)

    11. Helen Hunt (So is she going supporting ? Are we SURE ?)
    12. Anne Hathaway (If the Academy showers TDKR with important nods…unlikely)

  • All this talk of Naomi Watts potentially winning is giving me palpitations. I WOULD D-I-E!!!

  • Zach

    Naomi Watts is so effing overdue – and so versatile in terms of her castability – it’s not even funny. Jennifer Lawrence is what, three years old?

    I’m sure Tatum O’Neal, a very deserving winner, helped by (1) being misplaced in supporting, (2) being in a wide-release American movie that everyone saw, and (3) being Ryan O’Neal’s kid. Of course, she certainly surpassed his own wildest expectations with her performance in that film.

  • ChrisFlick

    Well hallelujah, some common sense comments on lead vs. supporting. HH is defnitely a lead and would make a more interesting contender than some names being bandied about. While on the subject if people would only disabuse themselves of the idea that Philip Seymour Hoffman has a featured role in The Master. Why is that, because he is not in the first scene? He dominates that movie as much as Phoenix, it is a two-hander. See: Midnight Cowboy, Becket, Mutiny on the Bounty, Network…

  • Sylvia

    I think Jennifer Lawrence is going to win. Oscars isn’t just about good performances. It’s also a POPULARITY CONTEST. Everywhere you go, every website you click on, twitter, reviews, everyone is going on and on about JENNIFER LAWRENCE. On Goldderby, every critic voted for Jennifer to win. Every critic is literally campaining for her to win in their reviews for the film which is odd. I’ve never seen this much support and campaigning for an actor before, excluding Heath Ledger in Dark Knight. I think Jennifer is going to win and I can’t imagine what this will do for her career. She’s already stealing roles from other actresses left and right.

  • deej

    People are forgetting one thing, Sandra Bullock won for Blind Side. It wouldn’t shock me if Jennifer Lawrence won for Silver Linings. Also Michelle Williams was nominated for best actress for her role in Brokeback Mountain… Ummm she appeared in the film for about 20 minutes max. Right now, the race is tied down to Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence. Both have been nominated only once and don’t have much experience in the film industry. If Lawrence wins, she will become the second youngest actress ever to win BA. I’m really looking forward to awards season.

  • Vincent

    In my opinion, there are only 2 actresses that I would even consider calling “locks” at this point: Jennifer Lawrence and Marion Cotillard. Keira Knightley is a very strong contender as well, and I say that not because she plays one of the most tragic, iconic literary heroines, but because she has been hitting the stroll EXTRA hard this season (I mean, did anyone see her Allure cover?). As for the rest of the nominations, they could go to just about anyone at this point. I must say that this is shaping up to be one of the most lackluster Best Actress races in at least the past decade.

  • clawed

    No way! Jennifer Lawrence is too young. I don’t think the Academy will award her the Oscar even if she wins every single award during awards season. I have no doubt she will win the Golden Globe award for best actress in a comedy/musical however not an Oscar. I have a feeling Jessica Chastain will win because she’s in her 30s and stars in a war film meanwhile Jen is in a romantic comedy. Marion Cotillard is no way winning her second Oscar in less than 5 years.

  • deej, Michelle Williams was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Brokeback Mountain, not Best Actress. Ummm she deserved the nomination.

    Also, clawed, Hilary Swank won two Oscars in five years. Marion Cotillard can easily do it too.

  • Niles

    Its still too early to tell, it’s a pretty weak year for actresses. I can’t really see Lawrence winning this award. It’s definitely going to win at Golden Globes but it’s going to have competition with Les Miserable which looks pretty epic.

  • Robert A.

    This year is so wacky for Best Actress, I think the only nominee who’s locked in for a nod is Jennifer Lawrence.

    Cotillard looks like she has a pretty good chance of getting nominated, but I’m not as certain about her nomination as some are. Interestingly, Nat Rogers over on The Film Experience has Cotillard listed as a “longshot” for a nomination. His argument is that people don’t seem to be responding to the role from an awards standpoint. She was rumored to be a possible Cannes winner, yet didn’t win, but perhaps more tellingly, wasn’t even nominated for a European Film Award as Best Actress. Not that voters of the EFA are the same as the Academy, but it is kind of interesting that Cotillard didn’t make the Top 5 in her own home turf, so to speak. (Riva was nominated, by the way.) My guess (not having seen the film) is that Cotillard still has a pretty good chance at a nomination, but there’s a voice in the back of my head saying to proceed with caution.

    I still maintain that Riva/Cotillard/Wallis will not all get nominated. Two foreign language performances plus a child performance nominated in the same category…I don’t see the largely mainstream Academy going for it. My best (confused) guess at this category:

    1) Reserved for Lawrence
    2 and 3) Two more Hollywood-y actresses (Chastain, Watts, Knightley, Mirren?, maybe Hunt if she’s deemed lead)
    4) Foreign language (Riva, Cotillard)
    5) Elder stateswoman (or does Mirren belong here? Smith, Dench) OR a wee child (Wallis). Advantage Wallis?

    This category is so deliciously…unsettled.

  • Vincent

    As of right now, here are my nomination predictions:
    Jennifer Lawrence, The Silver Linings Playbook: previous nominee, simultaneous release of box office juggernaut The Hunger Games, Weinstein, BUZZ, film is a strong Best Picture contender, character is fuckable, most respected and praised American actress of her generation)

    Marion Cotillard, Rust & Bone: previous winner, heavy, harrowing drama, physical transformation, Cannes cred, support from European Academy members, has consistently delivered excellent performances in high-profile (American) films since her win


    Keira Knightley, Anna Karenina: previous nominee, tragic, iconic literary heroine, has been snubbed more than once for strong performances since her nomination for Pride and Prejudice, box office cred (Pirates of the Caribbean), support from British Academy members. And maybe more important than anything else is how very evident it is that she wants the nomination. In my opinion, she has hit the press circuit harder than any Best Actress contender this season. There is no question that she WANTS, CRAVES, NEEDS that nomination, and she is willing to work the stroll EXTRA hard for it. Yes, the film may be getting lukewarm reviews, but Keira is getting raves for her performance. The Iron Lady wasn’t so warmly received, but Meryl still got the nomination. I see the same thing happening for Keira. (Oh, don’t get your panties in a knot! I did not just put Keira in the same league as Meryl! I just think her performance will outweigh the negative reviews Anna Karenina has been getting just as Meryl’s turn as Margaret Thatcher overshadowed the flaws in The Iron Lady).

    Helen Mirren, Hitchcock: previous winner, frequent nominee, support from British Academy members, beloved actress both in America and across the pond. Her nomination solely depends on how Hitchcock fares with the critics.
    Emmanuelle Riva, Amour: never nominated veteran actress, Cannes cred, stellar reviews, film directed by the very highly revered Michael Haneke, support from foreign Academy members.

    I only really see Jennifer Lawrence and Marion Cotillard as locks. The other 3 nominations are really a toss-up. They could go to any actress at this point. That being said, I think this category will have much more clarity once Hitchcock and Zero Dark Thirty are released and we have a better idea of their critical reception.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    Yeah, this is why Lawrence gets the most votes. She’s the ONLY lock here. How weird is that?

    I have to make my official FINAL predictions for a magazine next Wednesday. Yes, way too early. Right now I think I go with:


    I think I can still show my face around with these. Three (or maybe four even) of them should be correct. But which ones? Predicted winner will be an old actress from France (crazy, right?) over ‘Lawrence of America’. I have too much faith in Academy. 😀

    I will change my personal predictions during the following weeks. This is just what gets printed.

  • kiwi

    People everywhere are predicting that Jennifer Lawrence is going to win unless Jessica Chastain comes out of nowhere and impresseses everyone with her performance in Zero Dark Thirty. Jennifer has the Oscar locked in her bag as of now.

  • Vivian

    Jennifer Lawrence is the most respected actress of her generation so she has the nomination locked. Accorting to New York Magazine, all the Academy voters were rooting for her after Silver Linings screening in NYC. She has Harvey Weinstein, critics, and now Academy voters campaining for her. It would be insane if she wins though.

  • rufussondheim

    I really think Chastain is the favorite with Watts being a strong second and Lawrence being an even stronger 3rd.

    As for the last two, who knows?

    But I think The Impossible is going to be the surprise film with a lot more nominations than we expect.

  • alan of montreal

    sorry, I should have qualified my statement about The Heiress by saying the review I read that lauded Chastain’s performance was in EW.

    I have a funny feeling that there’s going to be a performance nominated that absolutely no one saw coming

  • paul

    “most respected of her generation” because she is the ONLY one, right? Because, honestly, there is no one that would put on a fight with her. It’s crazy to think that there is not another American actress capable of doing what Lawrence is (which, in my opinion, is not as good an incredible as people think). She gets the votes because she objectifies herself and men like that.

  • @paul

    @paul, Show me another actress actress around her age who can act as well as her. I would have to say she’s the best as of now. Emma Stone comes in second and Soairse Ronan comes in third.

  • paul

    well I have not said she was not the best. i said that i cannot believe america has not produced another one with actual acting technique. how can you put emma stone in second when she has not showed extreme drammatic range like lawrence and ronan and when she has not really proved herself as the movie star everyone believes she is. her magazines covers do not sell which means women are no interested in her

  • GoOnNow

    I voted for Jessica hehehz 😛

  • EL

    I like Jennifer Lawrence a lot…think she’s got a real personality and is a great actress. She was great in SLP, although I had the same issues Sasha had with the film. However, I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that she gave a better performance in SLP than Riva in Amour or Cotillard in Rust and Bone. Let’s not forget Helen Mirren, although I haven’t seen Hitchcock so that’s not really a fair comparison. Even without seeing Hitchcock, Mirren vs. Lawrence? Then again, the Oscars are not always about who gives the best performance. Lawrence possesses a relatable beauty, is charming, very talented, and has Harvey backing her up. Not to mention the successes she has had so far in her career. Who knows? I’m going all out like a few posters and betting on Chastain, regardless of how her Broadway play was received. The topic is relevant and Bigelow is incredible…Add in it’s a strong female role without being dragged down by being the girlfriend and the serious subject matter, and I think she’s got a good shot without even seeing the film.

  • steve50

    While I think Chastain is the better actor, Lawrence fits the image of wholesome golden girl that Hollywood has missed since Grace Kelly/Audrey Hepburn – and I’ll bet the farm they are going to acknowledge that, especially if that’s how Harvey sells it.

    Until I see them both, however, I’m rooting for the old broad..er, proven veteran – Riva.

  • I was going to vote for Meryl Streep, for the lulz, but I didn’t. I can’t vote, I’ve only seen Anne Hathaway. It looks like it’s going to be another crappy year in Nowheresville for me. We don’t even get LINCOLN tomorrow looks like. That’s a bad sign for me seeing the other Oscar stuff.

  • Jerry

    @Paul: how is Jennifer Lawrence objectifying herself? She is one of the few actresses under 40 who hasn’t had a nude scene. She is fully clothed in SLP. Why don’t you call Marion Cotillard, Helen Hunt, Kristen Stewart objectifying themselves with all the nudity in their films? Rooney Mara had all these naked sex-scenes riding middle-aged Daniel Craig’s dick. Why no one calling her out as a male fantasy? Or the completely gratuitous scenes in Girl With the Dragon Tattoo when she is just sitting around her hotel room showing her tits while eating McDonalds? Is it because Jennifer Lawrence just naturally has a more banging body and a beautiful face that is desired my men? Is being born beautiful a crime? Would all the bitching stop if she were ugly and flat as a board?

  • I had the strangest experience with Jennifer Lawrence in “Silver Linings Playbook.” I wanted not to like her, or it. I didn’t GET her stardom. Until she makes her first pop-op appearance in SLP. And I thought “Oh!” but also “Uh-oh!” Like it “Oh by, George, she’s got it!”

    And then I thought as the film and her performance went “Oh, it’s Sandra Bullock in ‘The Blind Side’ time again.” And then as I watched unbeliving she morphed from Sandra Bullock level acting into The New Elizabeth Taylor. The new, dark, photogenic sex siren beauty that Hollywood has been yearning for — and HERE SHE IS!

    “Here she is, boys! Here she is, World. It’s Jennifer Lawrence”

    Yes she became utterly her own star by the end of the film, and also, she made the film becoame ABOUT HER. When it’s supposed to be about Bradley Cooper, y’know. But it’s NOT.

    She’s the one you come to care about.

    She’s the complete package AND she’s got Harvey. How can she lose?

  • phantom

    Stephen Holt

    ‘She’s the complete package AND she’s got Harvey. How can she lose?’

    Smart money says she simply CAN’T. I think she’ll lose the same way most comedy/dramedy performances do : a strong dramatic performance emerges and BAM. My money is on Naomi Watts or Jessica Chastain. Having said that, I do see how Lawrence has it all and will be hard to top in the end. ‘The Impossible’ and ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ will need unanimous critical praise, strong Best Picture consideration and better-than-expected Box Office, if neither can pull that off, IMO Lawrence won’t even have serious competition or a close runner-up to fight off. My two cents.

  • Holly

    Three points :

    1) About Marion Cotillard :
    To me this is Tilda Swinton in We Need To Talk About Kevin all over again. That film also got the award at the London Film Festival and Swinton missed the award at Cannes just like Cotillard. But then Swinton won a few critics awards and yet she still missed because at the end of the day not enough Academy members watched her film – it was a small film.
    Now Cotillard’s film is in French, it’s a small film as well and it is being overshadowed by Untouchables as the French film of the year and by Amour as the European film of the year. Plus I think Riva will overshadow Cotillard when it comes to critics awards.

    2) About Jessica Chastain :
    Comparisons have been made with Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs. Yet Jodie had her face and her name on the poster, Chastain doesn’t. She seems to be the lead by default. She’s got the lead FEMALE role, but is she really the lead ? It feels more like an ensemble.

    3) About Naomi Watts :
    Her film might be nominated for Best Picture. Its subject matter is relevant, and while it may be emotionally manipulative, it has never stopped the Academy to nominate such a film. Also Watts has strong reviews and she is seen somewhat as due. It also helps that she’s worked with the right people (Jackson, Eastwood…). I think she’s not a threat for the win but she’s the filler nominee. Watch out for her in the next two years with Diana and that Gertrude Bell movie, these two roles are super baity.

  • Mohammed

    If Lawrence wins I’ll know how it felt for those who rooted for The Social Network and saw The King’s Speech win. From the trailer and friends who’ve seen the film a Lawrence win will degrade the Best Female slot by considerable degrees. On my part it’ll take more than an Argo win to come over such a travesty.

  • Robert A.

    “If Lawrence wins I’ll know how it felt for those who rooted for The Social Network and saw The King’s Speech win. From the trailer and friends who’ve seen the film a Lawrence win will degrade the Best Female slot by considerable degrees.”

    How soon we forget Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side!

  • Mohammed

    PS: Is there an american movie actress who can act or are we all buyingt into the photogenic-card ? Even the best of males seem to flote on the familiarity card and good-will with the audience. This includes the great Denzel Washington who I’ve yet to see ACT in a long time. Somehow I can not shake of the feeling that this delludes our perception of what GREAT is when mediocracy is the only pick on the menue.

  • Jessie

    First of all I’d like to point out that Jennifer Lawrence is only 22. There is no way she’s winning right now. Yes, she has everything going on for her and while I think she will take home all the awards, the Academy will reward an older actress at the end. As for Marion Cotillard, I don’t think she will be nominated. Why? Because if Emmanuelle Riva, who is also in a French film getting great reviews, gets nominated, Marion will not be nominated. The Academy will NOT nominate two actresses in foreign films. Because Emmanuelle’s film is getting better reviews, I think she will be nominated over Marion.

  • Mohammed

    Robert A: I did not like The Blind Side, but that film at least had some dramatic scenes where Bullock squeezed out some emotions that were better than what she had done in years. Instead of performances we are now putting more value in buzz-words like “juggernot”, or if an actor had a “hot” movie that made a killing in the box office. It reminds me of a guy I used to know who unlike most of us wasn’t very interested in soccer. One day while watching a game he came over and we asked him who he was rooting for. He said; ” Whoever is a victor”. Here on this site many are like this man now. Instead of going with their gut-feeling about a performance+ reviews etc, people are now only judging on buzz.

    I was almost certain that because of the weakness of the female field this year that Sasha was gonna write about why this is and perhaps start a useful comparison with the male-field. It’s a crime against audiences and award-groups to now consider mediocre acting as somewhat worthy of awards.

    I’m getting a bit bothered with this Lawrence-hype. Should cool of now.

  • Tory Smith

    I feel the progression in Hollywood is happening, however, Best Actress is my personal favorite category, but this years it’s quite dull. Nothing is peaking my interest. And that happens to every category on some year. But this year’s important race, and the performances that have touched me the most have been Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress performances.

    So in a year where it’s just a weak year for this category, I’ll give the edge to Jennifer Lawrence. I have yet to see the movie, but due to politics and my own feelings, she could be one of the youngest to win, and it’s the best time for that type of thing to happen here. So yeah….(secretly it would be cool to see Knightly win, but people and voters will feel as if the performance is easy for her to portray because it’s period, and I don’t think that. But people are simple)

  • Question Mark

    Lawrence is a near-lock for a win at this point. The only thing that could stop her at this late date would be if Chastain’s role ends up being a showstopper (given that nobody’s seen the movie we can only speculate) or if Watts gains sudden momentum for The Impossible.

    Lawrence and Cotillard are definitely getting nominated, and were I a betting man, I’d say that ONE of Watts/Chastain will be nominated. The fourth and fifth spots are total wild cards — could be Mirren, could be Riva, could be Knightley, could be the other of Watts/Chastain. I don’t think Wallis has a chance of being nominated; “Beasts” already seems like yesterday’s news.

    Re: the lead/supporting debate. It’s a tough distinction to make since while a role might technically be a ‘lead,’ it’s still clearly a supporting performance. For example, take Dark Knight Rises and Hathaway. Ok, I guess you could argue that she is the ‘lead actress’ in the sense that she’s the woman with the biggest part, but everyone in that movie is a supporting character to the role of Bruce Wayne. In watching “The Sessions,” the movie was more than anything John Hawkes’ story, and Helen Hunt was the most important of the supporting characters but not a ‘lead.’

  • Matt O’Callaghan

    Let’s not forget the average age and demographic of the Academy is 104 white male. I think people are forgetting Emmanuelle Riva gets her ‘funbags’ out in Amour.

  • Holly

    Again, can somebody explain to me why exactly is Cotillard a lock ? She missed the award at Cannes, she missed a nomination at the European Film Awards, Schoneaerts got an award at Valladolid Film Festival but not her, and yet quite a lot of people make it seem like she’s a lock. Her film is not even the French contender for the Best Foreign Picture Oscar. Yes she’s on the cover of a few magazines (so is Miley Cyrus) and got a few tributes (so did Kidman…will it help her get a nom for Paperboy ? No.).

  • Matt O’Callaghan

    I wouldn’t say anyone is a lock, others will disagree and may be right.

    I think Riva, Cotillard, Knightley, Wallis, Lawrence, Watts are even money for a nomination. That’s six. And I can see any of them being left out or in.

    Chastain and Mirren are the only others I think are possibilities. Based on the trailer and my wild imagination, Chadtain’s character looks like she’s put through the ringer and she may excel here. Mirren is always good, so who knows.

    Based on what I’ve seen and opinions I trust, Riva or Watts for the win.

  • TOM

    If it’s Chastain vs. Lawrence – For Chastain – (and I haven’t seen SLP or Zero): I can’t picture her winning for an action movie. (It reminds me of SWeaver in the Aliens slot). I think Chastain is just getting her momentum…She has better roles ahead of her. (I still believe that she was the worst character in The Help and didn’t deserve that nomination. Her drunken/throw up scene was an embarrassment.)

    Lawrence – For those who insist that she’s just in the ‘girlfriend’ role – what was Reese Witherspoon in WTLine? She was ‘the girlfriend.’ DORussell was able to get great performances out of Bale and MLeo for The Fighter, so if the buzz is legit, I’ll be a believer. She does seem to have the potential to ride the ‘It’ popularity (like the hated Bullock) all through award season.

    QWallis – In retrospect of her performance – She did not move me as much as KC-Hughes in Whale Rider. Now, that ‘child-actor’ performance stunned me to silence. Hushpuppy only made me verkempt when she went to visit (her mother) out on the sailing barge. That was the only time that I really felt for that child. (Most times, I was distracted by her lack of upbringing and was wondering where the DCFS officials were.) And to compare her performance against TO’Neal’s is really a stretch. Tatum hit every level with that performance…(was there any laughter in Beasts?) In this post-racial world that we supposed live in, I don’t see QW (at this point) having any ‘lock’ of the Top 5. If the Academy would bring back their Honorary Award to best Juvenile Performance of the year, I could see QW getting throw that. *This honor should’ve also been given to AnnaC for My Girl…but that’s just my opinion.) Voters just might perceive Beasts as a one-hit wonder performance and might not see any type of future for QW (But, they still voted for Keisha/Whale Rider).

  • ChrisFlick

    It still seems to me that Bradley Cooper needs to be nominated in order for JL to get that kind of traction. I understood this movie was meant as a vehicle for him. He’ll have a tough time getting in to a crowded field and that could suggest to some that the movie doesn’t quite work in a sense. I am sure this is navel gazing, I wish they’d be honest enough to reward her for The Hunger Games.

  • Jason

    Don’t let Lawrence win just yet! I’d love to see more of her brilliance!

  • mel

    THG? That performance was so campy. She overacted her way through that movie and it seemed forced at times. It was ridiculous but I have to agree that that is, actually, her only main lead performance of the year capable of giving her an actual Oscar and not the supporting role she has in SLP.
    Also, what is it with actors in a supporting role upping themselves to leads? The same goes for Chastain (if the movie is seen as an ensemble).
    @paul. Your aargument, even though it makes sense, at the same time, doesn’t because all the actresses (except Riva and maybe Chastain) objectify themselves. But I agree that in SLP Jennifer’s body is a character on itself and the way they filmed it is quite creepy but that is what is goign to give her the votes, to be honest (and Harvey in her side).
    Finally, to that idiot that said Jennifer has that wholesome image of Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly. Are you kidding us? Do you even know what kind of beauties they were? Jennifer is subjectively pretty but she is not stunning like those ladies. Nor does she have the class and elegance they had (and still have in pictures). You are ridiculous.
    Jennifer has everything to win however, we will have to wait and see how she carries herself during the season. She has a foot in her mouth problem and that could easily make her lose.

  • Nic V

    You know this is the kind of year in film that always throws big surprises come Oscar time. A good number of people seem to be holding their breath hoping that Lincoln gets screwed over. Many others are hoping that Lawrence wins because of, and this is my opinion; her Hunger Games role. Sadly I’m not a Bradley Cooper fan so Silver Linings isn’t on my playlist.

    As for the actress category this year. Weak at best. If Knightley has taken Anna Karenina to the same extent she went in Dangerous Method then Tolstoi will turn in his grave and most of the Academy will hand him a shovel. I think we’re in for a very big surprise and I bet it has Riva written all over it. I love Chastain she is an amazing actress and proved that time and again last year. Lawrence has reached the Chastain level yet. She doesn’t the depth. She will in time but she hasn’t found it yet. Mirren could pull off a second. Coitlard? Don’t think so. Hathaway? Damn she was good in TDKR.

    The contenders in my opinion, Lawrence, Chastain, Mirren, Riva, and Coitlard. Still a weak bunch compared to the men this year.

  • Claire

    Cannes, it’s 7 people voting and 83% of European awards voters are German. Heneke is German (They even submitted one of his film to the Oscars) and Rust & Bone hasn’t been released in Germany yet so;
    ” She missed the award at Cannes, she missed a nomination at the European Film Awards,[…]”
    All of That is totally irrelevant. Of course Cotillard will get a nomination and she is a member of the academy unlike Knightley, Watts, Wallis and even Lawrence (But she is already a lock) and she was in 3 multiple academy awards nominated pictures ( Inception won 4, Nine & Midnight in Paris won 1). She enjoys an incredibly respected reputation now and as much as I love and respect Swinton, Cotillard has more stardom than her. People thinking that Riva will shut down Cotillard’s chances are very wrong, the academy is not afraid to nominate two foreign performances, they did it before and they will do it again. What better year than this one?
    Amour is critically acclaimed but a lot of critics praised more “Rust & Bone” and everybody knows after “Amour”, it’s undeniably the foreign movie to watch. The academy put James Gray’s “Nightingale” screenplay on their black list which means they are really expecting that movie and of course the performances as well. They really like her and they always follow her work, she will get her nomination.
    IMO Lawrence is a big joke!All the buzz around her is because of the Hunger Games’ success and 4 or 5 critics’ fantasy!

  • Ninja

    Speaking as someone who has seen Silver Linings Playbook, I can say that all the praise Jennifer Lawrence has been recieving is well deserved. There is a preconsumption that just because SLP is a romantic comedy, the movie doesn’t deserve all the praise and awards. Especially JL because Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon have also starred in romantic comedies so what’s so special about her performance? Well, let me start by saying that the trailer for SLP reveals NOTHING. Not the amazing performances by the whole cast, not the funny witty scenes, the ending, and definitely not JL’s amazing performance. I suggest you watch the film before judging the film and performances. Jennifer Lawrence goes head to head with Robert Dinero and holds her own. She is funny, emotional, crazy, wild, and sexy in the film, even without taking her clothes off or doing an explicit sex scene. It speaks volumes.

  • Jerry

    ” Of course Cotillard will get a nomination and she is a member of the academy unlike Knightley, Watts, Wallis and even Lawrence”
    ———Wrong. Lawrence is part of the Academy too. Invited to join in June 2011 after her nomination for Winter’s Bone where everyone loved her because she wasn’t a threat to their self-esteem, her body was covered in 10 layers of clothing and her natural beauty toned down (same with Hunger Games covered in survival gear). Wrong again about Lawrence only getting good reviews from 4 or 5 critics because she is their male fantasy. Lawrence is getting universal praise from both male and female critics, heterosexuals and homosexuals alike, the young and the old. Black, White, Hispanic, and Asian critics. Sorry to disappoint you with the truth:D The Europeans are lukewarm on Cotillard’s performance in Rust and Bone but the Americans are loving it so she could still get in while Riva doesn’t. Unless the European members of the Academy band together to support Riva. Low chance they both get in but never say never. Watts could pick up momentum if her film is as big a hit in the U.S. as in Spain. Disaster films are popular here.

  • Naruse

    From what I have seen this year and from the pure performance point of view,

    Riva > Cotillard > Lawrence.

    Can someone please tell me what’s so freaking special in Lawrence’s performance from SLP?

  • AD

    Knightley is part of the Academy too after her nomination for P&P.

  • EricD

    a shame more people aren’t talking about emayatzy corinealdi. i believe it’s only because not enough people have seen the film – which will be it’s downfall. participant could have a nominee on it’s hands but is doing near to nothing to support it. a real shame.

  • Reno

    Who’s handling the awards campaign of Amour. They need to step it up big time! Emmanuelle Riva SHOULD win!

  • stella

    Best Actress – Lawrence Vs. Watts Vs. Chastain

  • Frampton

    It should be french duel, but I guess it won’t be.

  • steandric

    At least one good thing about this year is you can’t drop her from your list.

  • TOM

    For those who doubt that members would select 2 foreign actresses (Riva & Cotillard): I hope they do! What better way to shame the industry to offer better leading roles by telling them that the stuff they put out isn’t as great as what’s overseas?

  • Mohammed, thanks for the memory for The Great “The Social Network”. The moral winner.

  • Just one question: if Chastain is a supporting going as lead, why is Hunt a leading going as supporting?

    A point to think.

  • steandric

    No surprise the best of the lot is again played down to one line while the chosen are hyperboled and promoted with photos. Year after year , the stage is once again set up for the lazy Oscar voters to play culprits to help complete the queen-making process.

  • Duck Soup

    While I don’t hate Lawrence in SLP, I do think that she would be more deserving for The Hunger Games.

    I do hope Chastain wins.

  • Holly

    So apparently Chastain is the real lead of her film and she delivers. She UNRAVELS. She has a part as interesting as Jodie Foster’s in Silence of the lambs. Zero Dark Thirty will probably be nominated for Best Picture and its topic is relevant, so I think it will be a close fight between Lawrence and Chastain. One is charming as a co-lead in a popular dramedy, the other is the true lead of a big, important drama.

  • Holly

    @ steandric

    Don’t worry Naomi Watts will be nominated for The Impossible. Her reviews are strong and her film well-received. Its also making money, which doesn’t hurt either. She won’t win but it will pave the way for her win next year for Diana or the year after for Queen of the Desert.

  • steandric


    Thank you but I’ve been hearing these comforting words year after year and many years now that she should wait for the next or another year and her year would come coz someone else a somebody darling had to be crowned that current year. Messiah is coming.

  • Holly

    Watts just was announced as the recipient of the Desert Palm Achievement Award. It went to Michelle Williams, Natalie Portman or Anne Hathaway in recent years… but also to Cotillard in 2009 (lol). But still, Watts is firmly in the race. Jolie hyped her and her co-stars and the film the other day at a special screening in London. Watts’ campaign is in full gear it appears. I think she’s the filler nom of the year, but she has no chance at a win because her character doesn’t have an arch and she doesn’t really have a strong narrative (I don’t think having to conquer one’s fear of water is enough frankly).

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