If the Golden Globes and the SAGs are to be believed, this is going to be a pretty boring category. The big story in this category is which of the new hollywood it-girls is going to win the award: Will it be Jennifer Lawrence's rom-com starturn in Silver Linings Playbook or Jessica Chastain's CIA agent in Zero Dark Thirty?
Those two are the front-runners for the win, and the most likely names to join them at this point are Marion Cotillard, who gives a very good performance in Rust and Bone, Naomi Watts and Helen Mirren. Now, those last two gals are hugely talented and are fine in their movies; but at least in my humble opinion, The Impossible and Hitchcock are pretty weak movies and the ladies' performances not very exciting.
These are the five most likely to be nominated and yet I can't bring myself to predict them. That line-up would just be too boring. There's bound to be someone that will inject life into this list. It could be young and lovely Quvenzhane Wallis, who has been countlessly called "a force of nature" for her work in Beasts of the Southern Wild. It could also be Emmanuelle Riva, who is devastating in Amour. Or Rachel Weisz in The Deep Blue Sea, who got a big boost after she won the Actress Award from the New York Film Critics. I think of these three, the most likely to make the cut is veteran Riva.
But that means one of the presumed lady must miss out. We know Chastain and Lawrence are locks. I think Naomi Watts' performance is way too much in the Academy's wheelhouse as to miss out. It's either Cotillard or Mirren that misses the cut, and since I think Cotillard is a better performance and Hitchcock has been such a critical failure, I think dame Helen won't get a fifth nomination this year.
Who Will Be Nominated? Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone), Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), Naomi Watts (The Impossible)
Who Should Be Nominated? Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), Lea Seydoux (Farewell, My Queen), Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Rachel Weisz (The Deep Blue Sea)