- Julianne Moore (Carrie)Even though we will see a lot of her in 2013 (What Maisie Knew, The English Teacher, The Seventh Son), I think her baitiest role will be Margaret White, the abusive, mentally ill, fanatically religious mother of the title character, a role that garnered an Oscar nomination for Piper Laurie. Julianne Moore is widely considered as one of the greatest actresses who has yet to win an Oscar, and though I would love to see her take the lead category, a win in supporting could be a nice start as far as her future Oscars go...
- Cate Blanchett (The Monuments Men)With the two Malick-films and Woody Allen's latest, she could have a really great year, and though it is perfectly conceivable she will make the cut in lead (Blue Jasmine), it's not like she couldn't pull double duty just like she did the last time she was nominated (2007).
- Nicole Kidman (The Railway Man)Her genre performance in Stoker, released in March, has been already garnering her critical praise, and she will be definitely in consideration for a lead nomination (Grace of Monaco), as well, but in the end her best shot might be this supporting wife character in a film backed by The Weinstein Company.
- Julianne Nicholson (August : Osage County)Even with massive internal competition, her role is fantastic so if she nails it, she will be able to stand out, not to mention internal competition might not be that damaging in this case, I wouldn't be surprised at all if the film scored multiple nominations in this category in the end.
- Jennifer Garner (Dallas Buyers Club)With few exceptions, she hasn't gotten feature opportunities worthy of her talent, but this definitely sounds like a great role and if she can bring the same sensitivity and intelligence she brought to her criminally underrated turn in Juno, she could even emerge as the one to beat.
- Amy Adams (Her)Although she has several films this year (Lullaby, Man of Steel, maybe even the new David O. Russell film AND the Janis Joplin biopic), in my opinion if this Academy darling receives her fifth nomination, it will be for Spike Jonze's quirky little indie.
- Octavia Spencer (Fruitvale)The extremely likable Octavia Spencer deserves praise for starring in the second (!) critically acclaimed indie since her Oscar win, and since this one was THE Sundance-hit in January AND was quickly snatched up by The Weinstein Company, it's safe to assume she might be back in the Oscar game this year.
- Quvenzhané Wallis (Twelve Years a Slave)Despite her tender age, the big revelation of 2012 already has another great film in her near future, and if the role is significant enough, she could once again find herself on the shortlists. Although it's worth mentioning that Alfre Woodard and Sarah Paulson could have bigger supporting roles in this, and according to Awardsdaily-friend, rufussondheim - who unlike me, actually READ the book - we should watch out for Adepero Oduye (Eliza) and Lupita Nyong (Patsey), as well.
- Juliette Lewis (August : Osage County)Since her big break (Cape Fear), she had been rarely given the opportunity to shine on the big screen, although on those rare occasions she was truly brilliant (most recently in Conviction). Internal competition won't be her friend, but if critics go crazy for the film, Harvey Weinstein will definitely do his best to secure several nominations in this category.
- Margo Martindale (August : Osage County)
- Carey Mulligan (Inside Llewyn Davis)It's unlikely Daisy Buchanan would end up in the supporting category and if she indeed doesn't, Mulligan could be a viable threat here with the new Coen film.
- Jessica Lange (Therese Raquin)A born scenestealer in a VERY juicy role. Even if the film disappoints, Jessica Lange as Madame Raquin most certainly will NOT.
- Jane Fonda (The Butler)There is a chance her screentime is very limited and it is basically just a cameo, nonetheless the first pictures were rather impressive.
- Oprah Winfrey (The Butler)Ditto.
- Catherine Keener (Captain Philipps)This indie queen is looking at her third Oscar nomination this year, and playing the wife of the title character, directed by Paul Greengrass, might just secure her her first victory, just as well.
- Jennifer Connelly (Winter's Tale)She won this category 12 years ago, and now playing the mother of the terminally ill heroine, could easily provide her best material in years.
- Mireille Enos (Devil's Knot)If her stunning work on The Killing is any indication, and her role is even a tiny bit challenging, she will be a remarkably memorable presence in this.
- Laura Linney (The Fifth Estate)Sooner or later the Academy will realize that giving an Oscar to Laura Linney is just a matter of time, whether they will realize that this year, that I don't know. Also Alicia Vikander might have a bigger role than she does.
- Viola Davis (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby)If there is any justice in the world, sooner or later she WILL win an Oscar, and this daring independent film could be her ticket, but then again, so could Prisoners. We'll see, we'll see !
- Kristin Scott Thomas (Only God Forgives)How the Academy has managed to ignore her for all these years despite A LOT of brilliant performances, I don't know. Could this genre film get her back in the Oscar game ?
- Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street)The film seems to be all about the male characters, which could mean she will be overshadowed, but also that she won't have trouble standing out.
- Olivia Wilde (Rush OR Her OR The Third Person)I don't know much about any of those roles, but working with Ron Howard, Spike Jonze and Paul Haggis in the same year, definitely sounds promising...AND she was fantastic in Butter last year.
- Isla Fisher (The Great Gatsby)She could be easily overshadowed by the leads, but playing against type could go a long way with the Academy, so we shouldn't count her out just yet.
- Victoria Summer (Saving Mr. Banks)Even though she has famous and acclaimed female co-stars in supporting roles (Rachel Griffiths, Kathy Baker, Ruth Wilson), playing the great icon, Julie Andrews could give her the edge in the long run...that is if the performance is uncanny and the film is well-received.
- Sienna Miller (Foxcatcher)Another film that seems to revolve around the male characters, but Miller is talented and charismatic enough to stand out, so she might just do that here, too.
- Vanessa Redgrave (Unfinished Song OR Foxcatcher)Her heartbreakingly beautiful performance in Unfinished Song might be overshadowed by the lukewarm critical response and early release date, but if Foxcatcher becomes the big Oscar-contender I expect it to, she could have another shot at a nomination this year.
- Cameron Diaz (The Counselor)With 4 Golden Globe, 2 SAG, 1 Critics Choice and 1 Bafta nominations under her belt, it's rather surprising she has yet to receive an Oscar nomination...maybe this year ?
- Penelope Cruz (The Counselor OR Los amantes pasajeros)The Academy clearly loves her, question is how challenging her role is ?
- Natalie Dormer (Rush OR The Counselor)Even though they love discovering new faces, it's unlikely either of those roles are significant enough to warrant Academy attention.
- Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)Plut undisclosed, but she is great enough to be automatically on the map.
- Elizabeth Olsen (Oldboy OR Kill your darlings)With a title role (Therese Raquin), as well, she will have another prolific year, question is can she make the cut in supporting actress considering Oldoby is a genre film and Kill your darlings is a little indie ?
- Rachel McAdams (A Most Wanted Man)She got some good ink for Terrence Malick's To the Wonder and Brian De Palma's Passion, also she starred in Woody Allen's Best Picture nominated Midnight in Paris the year before, so long story short, she has been building some serious indie cred recently while remaining a very succesful Box Office draw (The Vow). If this film hits all the right notes, she could receive her first Oscar nomination, whether in lead or supporting, that I don't know.
- Reese Witherspoon (Mud)Cannes reviews from last year praised her work in Jeff Nichols's Mud and it is perfectly conceivable that she will be campaigned here for Atom Egoyan's Devil's Knot, too, so long story short, after a lot of silly comedies, this Election-standout seems to be finally back to her A-game.
- Eva Mendes (The Place Beyond the Pines)ANOTHER film about men, and it's not like the early release date doesn' hurt even them. For what it's worth, it's nice to see Mendes taking herself seriously, the role sounds excellent.
- Susan Sarandon (The Company You Keep)Even though she might have just delivered her best performance in years, the film didn't really wow festival audiences, so her work will probably suffer because of it.
- Emmy Rossum (You're not you)After a very promising start that included a crucial role in Eastwood's Mystic River, an expertly executed lead performance in the ill-fated The Phantom of the Opera and a part in the tentpole smash hit The Day After Tomorrow, she failed to get worthy feature opportunities, so she successfully turned to TV. The role of an aimless young girl who becomes the caretaker of a terminally ill woman, could be her most challenging to date.
- Onata Aprile (What Maisie Knew)Child performances usually fare well in this category, problem is the film, though acclaimed, seemingly failed to excite audiences so probably no passionate awards campaign can be expected.
- Angela Sarafyan (Lowlife)I took a wild guess that she plays the down on her luck sister, and if that's the case, she could be one of the big revelations of 2013.
- Hailee Steinfeld (Can a song save a life ?)Could she be back in this category so soon after True Grit (2010) ?
- Rosario Dawson (Trance)Genre performances in general, don't tend to fare well, but ones released early in the year, usually don't stand a chance.
- Jodie Foster (Elysium)It would be great to see her back in the Oscar-game, but for now it seems unlikely it could happen with a sci-fi.
- Paz Vega (Grace of Monaco)Her screentime could be cameo-territory, but nonetheless, she plays legendary opera singer Maria Callas, and that instantly puts her on the map.
- Emma Thompson (Effie)She penned the script, so she probably wrote a great role for herself, but it's more likely she will receive awards attention for playing Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers in Saving Mr. Banks.
- Dakota Fanning (Night moves)This could be a lead role for all I know, and as great as it is to see her challenge herself with edgy roles like this, I don't think she will pique the Academy's interest with this. Effie on the other hand...
- Natalie Portman (Knight of Cups OR The other Malick film)Working with Terrence Malick is clearly a unique experience, one to be proud of etc., but it rarely translates into Oscar-glory.
- Judy Davis (The Young and Prodigious Spivet)How wonderful it would be if this shockingly underrated acting giant could make a big Oscar-comeback this year, but for that, she would probably have to outshine co-star Helena Bonham Carter first.
NEXT YEAR ?
- Julia Stiles (The First)Frances Marion seems like the kind of role that wins supporting actress Oscars and it's also nice to see Julia Stiles making another promising move on the comeback train : first her critically acclaimed turn in Dexter, then a small part in the big awards-magnet Silver Linings Playbook, and now this. Back in the day I considered her a promising young talent and now that her mediocre romcom phase officially ended, it’s nice to see her finally attempting to live up to her great potential.
- Emma Watson (Noah)It's great that she seems to be so focused on her post-Harry Potter career and so far it does feel like she has been making the right calls : My Week with Marilyn, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring and Darren Aronofsky's Noah. Her CV is starting to look very impressive.
- Madison Davenport (Noah)I considered her a promising talent based on her stint on Shameless, so it will be interesting to see what she can do in such a high-profile film.
- Saoirse Ronan / Tilda Swinton (The Grand Budapest Hotel)Both are rare acting talents, but Wes Anderson's films are rarely considered seriously in the acting categories.
MASSIVE INTERNAL COMPETITION
The Ladies of The Way, Way Back
Annasophia Robb, Amanda Peet, Toni Collette, Allison Janney
The (Other) Ladies of 'The Butler'
Minka Kelly (Jackie Kennedy), Vanessa Redgrave (Annabeth Westfall), Melissa Leo (Mamie Eisenhower), Mariah Carey(Hattie Pearl)
The (Other) Ladies of 'Kill your darlings'
Kyra Sedgwick, Jennifer Jason Leigh
The (Other) Ladies of 'The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby)'
Isabelle Huppert, Nina Arianda
The (Other) Ladies of 'Prisoners'
Melissa Leo, Maria Bello
The Witches of 'Oz : The Great & Powerful'
Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis