Though it's probably an easier category to predict than Best Actor, I find the Best Actress category is often much less amusing. Right now, however, 6 potential candidates seem to be vying for a top 5 position in my predictions, so it will be fun seeing how it develops over the coming months. As it stands, here are my predictions for Best Actress:
1. Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady
Two-time Oscar winner, and without a win for 30 years, Meryl Streep has accumulated more nominations than any other actor in history, with a total of 16 since the year 1978. It's practically tradition by now to nominate Streep for everything she's in (you won't hear me complain, she's an amazing actress, and has earned every bit of praise that's come her way) and I doubt this year will be an exception. The real question I'm asking myself is will this be the one to break her win-less streak of 12 nominations and give her a 3rd Oscar win?
- 100% chance
2. Viola Davis - The Help
I doubt a win will come her way for this, but nearly every review I've read of The Help has praised her performance and deemed her Oscar-worthy. A one-time nominee, Viola Davis has demonstrated great skill, and in a politically-correct, feel-good movie like this (which has earned critical praise and commercial success), I feel a nomination is imminent. There has been some dispute with whether or not she would be placed in the Leading or Supporting Actress categories, but I feel she will be given the benefit of the doubt.
- 85% chance
3. Michelle Williams - My Week With Marilyn
Though I personally think it's bad casting putting Williams in the role of Marilyn Monroe, everything I've read about her performance tells me otherwise. Biopics always bode well with the Oscars, so it all really depends on if the movie is serious enough to grab ahold of viewers. I'm a little leery of counting this one a guarantee, but it wouldn't be unreasonable to consider it a safe bet.
- 80% chance
4. Charlize Theron - Young Adult
Director Jason Reitman has had a total of 4 Oscar nominated performances in his last two movies, and with an actress as talented as Theron in the lead, I feel another acting nomination is perfectly reasonable to assume. Having been nominated two times herself (one of which she won), it really all depends on how well Young Adult does. But seeing as it's a Reitman movie, I have no reason to expect anything other than a perfectly solid drama-comedy.
- 70% chance
5. Elizabeth Olsen - Martha Marcy May Marlene
Taking up the Winter's Bone slot in the Best Actress category, is the critically lauded performance by the "other" Olsen sister. Everything I've read about the movie and her performance points to a nomination, but will this movie not be big enough to grab any major awards? It may be a risky pick, but I think -- much like Winter's Bone -- this independent feature will pick up steam going into awards season and grab a few key nominations.
- 65% chance
Other potential nominees:
Keira Knightley - A Dangerous Method
- 45% chance
Glenn Close - Albert Nobbs
- 30% chance