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2013 - The Leading Ladies


  1. Naomi Watts (Diana)
      An iconic role played by someone so luminous as Watts, is promising already and if she doesn't win for The Impossible this year, she will have a lot of leftover goodwill, as well.
  2. Meryl Streep (August : Osage County)
      She would be an instant contender even if she played an armchair, but the role of Violet Weston in her hands AND the film backed by The Weinstein Company, basically guarantees at least the nomination.
  3. Kate Winslet (Labor Day)
      Playing a depressed single mom sounds Awards-friendly enough, add the fact that Jason Reitman is great with female leads (Young Adult, Juno), and she might just win her second Oscar in the end.
  4. Emma Thompson (Saving Mr Banks)
      FINALLY a worthy Oscar-comeback in the makings...Thompson – who shockingly enough hasn't been part of the Oscar game for almost two decades now – plays iconic Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers in this Disney Holiday release, directed by John Lee Hancock whose previous leading lady WON the Best Actress Oscar (The Blind Side).
  5. Jessica Chastain (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby)
      This film seems like a daring piece of art, and as such, it could divide critics and audiences BUT if it will be embraced, with all the Oscar-love she has been receiving lately, Chastain could win. The fact that she has her own film (Hers), so does her co-star, James McAvoy (His), just makes this project all the more unique.
  6. Nicole Kidman (Grace of Monaco)
      Olivier Dahan directed one of the best female performances in recent memory (Marion Cotillard in La Mome) and now his new female lead plays another iconic role. Kidman is remarkably talented, so even if the film disappoints, she most certainly won't, what might hurt her chances, is the damaging factor of split votes : she has two VERY baity supporting roles this year (The Railway Man, Stoker), so it might just happen that she will be recognized in that category this time.
  7. Jennifer Lawrence (Serena OR Catching Fire)
      Serena is an excellent role and she most certainly has the chops to nail it, so if the film will be good enough, with the inevitable buzz and success the November release of Catching Fire will bring, she could easily emerge as the frontrunner...that is IF she loses this year.
  8. Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby OR Inside Llewyn Davis)
      Another great actress who could be up for awards in both categories. Daisy Buchanan is a legendary role, one that has 'role of a lifetime' written all over it, meanwhile she could be a memorable supporting player in the Coen film.
  9. Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
      One-(wo)man shows are always risky, but I have great faith in the brilliant Alfonsó Cuarón and firmly believe this could be Bullock's best performance to date whether she receives a nomination in the end or not.
  10. Judi Dench (Philomena)
      The role of a woman who searches for her adult son, who was taken away from her decades ago when she was forced to live in a convent, is baity enough, but in the hands of someone like the great Judi Dench AND directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen), it simply sounds pure gold.


  1. Rooney Mara (Ain't Them Bodies Saints OR Side Effects OR Her OR Untitled Malick)
      After her astonishing breakthrough in David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, she seems to be putting to good use all the acclaim the role of Lisbeth Salander garnered her. Ain't Them Bodies Saints had been already screened at the Sundance Film Festival to great critical acclaim, Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects was also well-received, and she still has a film from Terrence Malick, not to mention Spike Jonze's quirky romance Her. My money is on Her, but if enough critics groups get behind Ain't Them Bodies Saints, maybe even that film could get her back in the Oscar race.
  2. Emmanuelle Seigner (Venus in Fur)
      The Tony Award winning role of an actress who attempts to convince a director how she's perfect for a role in his upcoming production, is a great one, and Seigner has proven herself many times, not to mention she is directed by Academy Award winning Roman Polanski. On the other hand, his most recent attempt for a play-to-film adaptation received lukewarm reception (Carnage).
  3. Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine OR Knight of Cups OR Untitled Malick)
      All three projects are covered in secrecy, so obviously I'm not even sure she is the lead in any of these, but if I had to guess, she probably has a great lead role in Blue Jasmine. Question is whether the film will be a hit or a miss from the famously hit-or-miss Woody Allen AND whether she will be a strong enough contender in the supporting cateogory for The Monuments Men. She might just get a nomination for the Clooney-pic, but when all is said and done, she could pull double duty just like in 2007.
  4. Julia Roberts (August : Osage County)
      Since the film features at least three excellent female supporting roles (Karen, Ivy, Mattie Fae), I think due to her status, Roberts will be placed in lead next to her legendary co-star and though internal competition could be the end of her campaign, the Academy might not be able to resist a Streep-Roberts duo in the end.
  5. Amanda Seyfried (Lovelace)
      She plays against type and Sundance critics praised her performance, but they weren’t that sure about the film. Radius-TWC acquired it and will release it this fall, so I guess if the final critical consensus is decent, Harvey Weinstein might consider a Seyfried-campaign in the end. For what it’s worth, the Academy loves flashy deglam performances and actresses who play 1. against type 2. an iconic real-life person 3. an inspirational victim. I’m getting a very vague Accused/Monster -vibe here, but I could be VERY off, I know.
  6. Reese Witherspoon (Devil's Knot)
      The role of a mother whose son is accused of murder, could be a supporting turn, but under Atom Egoyan's direction, it will be definitely one worth looking forward to.
  7. Julie Delpy (Before Midnight)
      Celine has never been a particularly flashy or Oscary role BUT critics do love her and now that the Before-series is a trilogy and its third chapter is bound to be a highly acclaimed one, I have this pipe dream that the film will receive 5 nominations in THE categories (Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actress, Actor), and yes, I know that for now that's just wishful thinking from my part.
  8. Marion Cotillard (Lowlife)
      Despite delivering one great performance after another, she has yet to receive a second Oscar nomination, something she was supposed to get for Rust & Bone, but the Academy had a different idea. She plays an innocent immigrant woman who is tricked into a life of burlesque and vaudeville until a dazzling magician tries to save her and reunite her with her sister who is being held in the confines of Ellis Island. It does sound like another great role for her, not to mention she can count on the famous Weinstein-push, as well.
  9. Dakota Fanning (Effie OR Night moves)
      This might be the year when this former astonishingly great child actress finally lives up to her great potential. The Emma Thompson scripted costume drama, Effie seems like something right up the Academy's alley, but then again an edgy role in a drama centered on three environmentalists who plot to blow up a dam (Night moves) could be just as effective in the end.
  10. Jessica Brown Findlay (Winter's Tale)
      The Academy LOVES the English roses, and this former Downton Abbey star playing a dying girl in a fantasy story set in 19th Century and present-day Manhattan that revolves around her, a thief, and a flying white horse, might just be magical enough to make the Academy fall in love with her.


  1. Lake Bell (In a World...)
      Early word is excellent and though indie comedies usually have a tough time breaking into the Best Actress race, if she continues to receive raves like this one from Variety, she might just make the cut in the end : To call Lake Bell a magnetic, intelligent, blithely screwball leading lady in the Carole Lombard tradition might be selling her short. With “In a World … ,” a rollicking laffer about the cutthroat voiceover biz in Los Angeles, she proves herself a comedy screenwriter to be reckoned with.
  2. Shailene Woodley (The Spectacular Now)
      Like Bell, Woodley has excellent early word from Sundance, she even won a special acting award with her co-star, Miles Teller, my only concern is that the distributor that acquired the film (A24) doesn't seem to have much experience in Awards-campaigns, also to improve her chances, they might even place her in the supporting race.
  3. Julianne Moore (What Maisie Knew The English Teacher)
      'Maisie' was a late standout last year, a film exactly like The English Teahcer, probably won't stand a chance in 2013, not with the early release date and indie status BUT if the distributor decides to campaign and enough critics groups get behind her at the end of the year, she COULD defy the odds, but it's probably more likely the Academy goes for her Margaret White.
  4. Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha)
      Classic case of 'way too late the previous year, way too soon the next year'.
  5. Elizabeth Olsen (Theresa Raquin OR Oldboy)
      She is one of the most fascinating young talents right now with three promising roles in 2013, whether her title role or the potentially supporting turn in Oldboy, will bring her the first nomination she was supposed to get for her magnificent breakthrough performance (Martha Marcy May Marlene) will probably depend on the distributors' willingness to campaign.
  6. Hilary Swank (You're not you)
      She tends to go for on-paper Oscar-friendly projects (Amelia, Conviction), and this one about a terminally ill woman and the aimless young girl (Emmy Rossum) who becomes her caregiver, seems like another one of those, question is will the material be good enough for a third Oscar nomination ?
  7. Catherine Deneuve (On My Way)
      It's surprising to remember that this iconic screen legend has never won an Oscar, but as a former beauty pageant winner who’s now a restaurateur facing a failed relationship and a failing business, until one day she ups and hits the road on an adventure with her ten-year-old grandson, could garner her only her second Oscar nomination. The plot sounds endearing enough...
  8. Brit Marling (The East)
      She received some good ink at the Sundance Film Festival, but the film already looks too obscure to survive a lenghty awards season.
  9. Olga Kurylenko (To the Wonder)
      Based on early festival word, the film is probably too divisive for mainstream recognition, having said that critics seemed to embrace this former Bond-girl who might not be a serious contender this time, but could ride the wave and land performances in the future that could put her in serious awards consideration.
  10. Keira Knightley (Can a song save your life ?)
      It sounds like another great role for Knightley, this time written and directed by John Carney (Once), but after they snubbed her arguably career-best work in Anna Karenina (not to mention A Dangerous Method, Never let me go, The Duchess, Atonement), I honestly don't know what she has to do to receive a second Oscar nomination...maybe break away from the corsets and do a contemporary little indie like this ? We'll see soon enough !
  11. Paulina Garcia (Gloria)
      Winning Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival was definitely a glorious start, now we just have to wait and see whether this critically acclaimed tour de force performance will be able to pique the Academy's interest.
  12. Helena Bonham Carter (The Young and Prodigious Spivet)
      This could be easily a supporting turn, but as one in a Jean-Pierre Jeunet film, it will be definitely something special.
  13. Helen Mirren (The Door)
      The film has been released in Europe early last year, and in my opinion, her performance was heartbreaking and memorable, but it doesn't seem like producers are interested in a US distribution...or at least it hasn't come up in the last 12 months or so.


  1. Olivia Wilde / Mila Kunis / Maria Bello (The Third Person)
      The film is about three interlocking love stories involving three couples in three cities: Rome, Paris, and New York. I don't know who is the lead or that if there is even a lead. For all I know, the movie could be an epic fail just as easily as a quiet little masterpiece. For now, this Paul Haggis-film is one of the biggest question marks of 2013.
  2. Robin Wright (A Most Wanted Man)
      She has been around for a long time and delivered several worthy performances from The Princess Bride to The Private Lives of Pippa Lee. Whether this could be her first nomination or that her role even qualifies for lead, I have no idea. What I do know, that I would LOVE to see this wonderful actress finally recognized by the Academy.
  3. Penelope Cruz (Los amantes pasajeros)
      Back to being Almodóvar's muse is already a promising start, unfortunately not much else is known about the project OR her role.
  4. Chloe Moretz (Carrie)
      The original garnered Sissy Spacek an Oscar nomination. Could Moretz repeat that ? One damaging factor is that the Spacek-nod came in the 70s when the Academy was much edgier than they are now, a female genre performance rarely piques their interest, so Moretz would need rooneymaradragontattoesque critical response to have a shot at this.
  5. Mia Wasikowska (Stoker)
      As I said, great female genre performances always have a hard time getting the recognition they deserve, and even though Sundance reviews raved about Wasikowska, she not only has to fight genre-prejudice but also the VERY early release date.
  6. Emma Watson (The Bling Ring)
      This former franchise star has some indie cred now thanks to the wonderful The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and considering Sofia Coppola writes women extremely well, Watson is definitely worth watching out for, even though the 'hip' subject matter might not be for the old(er)-skewing Academy.
  7. Jodie Foster (Elysium)
      Another promising genre performance, although this one from a highly acclaimed two time Academy Award winner, and that could make all the difference. But is she lead or supporting ?
  8. Rachel McAdams (About Time OR A Wanted Man)
      This remarkably talented actress is often considered only a romcom girl, but in my humble opinion, she is criminally underrated and possesses the kind of versatility that should garner her much better roles than she has been getting in recent years. She nailed lead roles in drama (The Notebook), comedy (Mean Girls), thriller (Red Eye), and worked with directors like Guy Ritchie, Woody Allen, Terrence Malick and Brian DePalma. I genuinely believe that sooner or later she will get the recognition she so richly deserves, whether it will be this year for either Richard Curtis's time travel romance or Anton Corbijn's A Most Wanted Man, well, that I don't know.
  9. Michelle Pfeiffer (Malavita)
      I feel like I am underestimating this Luc Besson film, even though I would be ecstatic to see Michelle Pfeiffer make an Oscar-comeback.


  1. Amy Adams (Janis Joplin : Get it while you can)
      Four time Academy Award nominee Amy Adams has yet to score a nomination in Lead Actress, but if she nails this iconic part, I think it's safe to assume the Academy who nominated her four times in eight years, won't hesitate to recognize her and though there is a chance they will start shooting soon and finish up for a 2013 release, it's more likely they will take their time.
  2. Lily Rabe (The First)
      For this criminally underused Tony nominee and TV star (American Horror Story), playing Mary Pickford, the first Oscar winning lead actress, could be the big break she so richly deserves. They have been making casting announcements for months, so it might be completed in time to qualify for this year.
  3. Cynthia Nixon (A Quiet Passion)
      Cynthia Nixon, best known for her role in Sex and the City, has already won two Emmys, a Tony and a Grammy, that means she only needs to win an Oscar to complete her EGOT, and this Emily Dickinson biopic written and directed by Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea, The House of Mirth) definitely sounds like a good start.
  4. Anne Hathaway (Get Happy)
      This Judy Garland biopic backed by The Weinstein Company was announced almost four years ago and still not much came from it, no further casting announcements, not even a director signed, nothing. IF it happens, I'm sure Hathaway will knock it out of the park and with Weinstein's help, WILL receive a nomination the very least...but after four (!) years that IF feels rather big.
  5. Elizabeth McGovern (The Chaperone)
      The recently announced The Chaperone (Fox Searchlight) will be directed by McGovern's husband, Simon Curtis (My Week with Marilyn) and scripted by Academy Award winning Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park, Downton Abbey), so she will be definitely in good company. The role of a Kansas woman (McGovern) whose life is forever changed when she chaperones a beautiful and talented 15 year-old dancer nto New York for the summer, while hoping to unearth the mysteries of her past, might just be THE role of her career. Take that Lady Grantham !
  6. Jennifer Connelly (Noah)
      It has been already slated for 2014, I only mention her because the film is already in post-production and it's only February, so I do think there is a chance that if test screenings go well, the studio will move it up to qualify for awards, because the March release date would definitely hurt it next year.
  7. Viola Davis (Untitled Barbara Jordan Biopic)
      There is absolutely no info on this, for what it's worth, if it ever gets made, I hope it will be a phenomenal performance worthy of widespread recognition.
  8. Renée Zellweger (Bridget Jones's Baby)
      Well, her first nomination was for originating this character, so considering her for this even after the disappointing sequel, might not be that far-fetched after all.

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