- Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn)Iconic role + decent overall reviews + Weinsteins...definitely sounds like a winner.
- Viola Davis (The Help)Huge BO + great notices for her BUT not everybody buys her as the lead and that could be a problem.
- Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)Third Oscars rarely happen for meidocre films...but then again, she IS Meryl Streep!
- Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs)The overdue status should help her a lot, she could pull a 'Jeff Bridges' this year. The question is : could an understated, quiet lead performance get more votes than Marilyn Monroe, Margaret Thatcher and THE most likeable character of the race ?
- Tilda Swinton (We need to talk about Kevin)Even though I consider this her best performance to date, I am not that sure that she will make it...unfortunately the Academy tends to ignore her.
- Charlize Theron (Young Adult)Unlikeable FEMALE lead of a contemporary comedy ? Well...it will be definitely tough road.
- Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene)She REALLY needs the critics groups to stay in the race.
- Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia)Ditto.
- Keira Knightley (A Dangerous Method)Ditto.
- Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
- Felicity Jones (Like Crazy)Elizabeth Olsen seems to be her big competition.
- Adepero Oduye (Pariah)IF critics groups create a sweep for her, then MAYBE.
- Saoirse Ronan (Hanna)Ditto.
- Mia Wasikowska (Jane Eyre)Ditto...although it IS a critically acclaimed, iconic turn in a critically acclaimed Academy-friendly film.
- Olivia Colman (Tyrannosaur)Critics loved her performance but unfortunately she doesn't seem to have enough momentum.
- Ellen Barkin (Another Happy day)Ditto.
- Kristin Scott Thomas (Sarah's Key)Ditto.
- Emma Stone (The Help)Even though she is a rising star and she had an excellent year, internal competition is just too tough. IF Viola Davis had been considered supporting from Day 1, Stone might have had a shot at this, but with Davis in the lead race, Stone doesn't stand a chance.
- Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids)Female lead of a broad comedy...hmm...unfortunately it could be a critically acclaimed, huge BO-hit, it just won't happen for the lead...maybe for the scenestealing supporting player ?
- Juliette Binoche (Certified Copy)If only...
- Rachel Weisz (The Whistleblower)Way too small film and way too early release date.
- Maria Bello (Beautiful Boy)Ditto.
- Helen Mirren (The Debt)It was a solid hit, one that critics liked...and that's about it. Mirren was great as always, but her turn won't be considered Oscar-worthy when all is said and done.
- Michelle Yeoh (The Lady)Word is, she gives a great performance in a bad film...not exactly a viable combination.
- Jennifer Garner (Butter)There was some momentum after Toronto, but now it seems to be forgotten. Harvey is clearly busy with his other – stronger – contenders, but if my memory serves me well, this was promised an Oscar-qualifying week this year...is that still happening ?