In our final initial assessment of the nascent Oscar race contenders , Gold Derby’s Tom O’Neil and I try to figure out who will be left standing when the five nominees

for Best Actress are announced in January.  This is certainly the strongest lineup of contenders we have seen in many years in the Best Actress race. In fact it harkens back to Hollywood’s golden age when the ladies ruled the roost at Oscar time and the men were left in their dust.  Best Actress this year is a more intriguing race than Best Actor which we dissected earlier in the week.   O’Neil starts it off proclaiming The Shape Of Water’s Sally Hawkins and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri’s Frances McDormand  as the instant front runners.  I put the brakes on that , if only because neither film has yet to open even though they both played brilliantly on the film festival circuit, but c’mon it is early here and , though both of those stars would be incredibly deserving let’s give this thing a little breathing room .  We consider the chances of a bevy of possibilities, most of them still to hit theatres.  Saoirse Ronan,  Jessica Chastain, Annette Bening, Judi Dench, Kate Winslet, Emma Stone ,  Margot Robbie , and of course , Meryl Streep are some of the names we toss around in this smackdown.  And either due to editing or just crazy omissions there are many others we should be talking about including the extraorinary work of Jennifer Lawrence in the ever-controversial mother! to name just one that isn’t on the video. To watch just click on the link above.