OSCARS: Handicapping Lead Actress Race

Although not offering nearly the same level of intense competition as the lead actor race this year, the race for best lead actress is shaping up as one of the more intriguing matchups in recent years, with a wide divide in age, experience, and roles. Although 17-time nominee Meryl Streep finally won her third Oscar last year for The Iron Lady (her first win in 29 years), it is not likely she will four-peat, despite widespread praise for her role as a wife looking to put sexual pizazz back into her longrunning marriage in Hope Springs. She isn’t even letting the studio campaign the performance, which should at least let somebody else out there have a shot, considering Streep is bound to be back in serious contention next year with the much-awaited August: Osage County. So this year there is a large group of Oscar virgins from ages 8 to 85 competing for one of those five coveted slots, but Streep aside, they will have to face an imposing trio of British Dames and past winners Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren, not to mention Oscar’s French crush Marion Cotillard, and an overdue Australian dynamo named Naomi Watts, among others. Here’s the lineup from the top 10 to those looking for a way into the mix.

Jennifer Lawrence, The Silver Linings Playbook
As a young woman coming out of her own personal hell and trying to live life again, 22-year-old Lawrence proves her first best actress Oscar nom two years ago for Winter’s Bone was no fluke. Her scenes opposite costar Bradley Cooper are priceless, and she effortlessly navigates the tricky waters from flat-out comedy to heart-wrenching drama. It probably doesn’t hurt that she also starred in one of the year’s biggest hits, The Hunger Games, to cement her frontrunner status here.

Related: OSCARS: Handicapping Lead Actor Race

Marion Cotillard, Rust And Bone
The great French star, a winner recently for her earth-shattering turn as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose is back and equally fine as an orca whale trainer who loses both her legs in a tragic accident and finds new purpose and love she never knew. Her La Vie en Rose win probably makes a second Oscar so soon less likely, and the film might not be as widely seen as other contenders, but she’s a knockout in the role. (more…)

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2012/11/oscars-lead-actress-handicap-jennifer-lewis-marion-cotillard-hellin-mirren-naomi-watts-373683/