Willie Waffle is the movie critic for people who hate movie critics.

Oscar Nominee Predictions - Best Actress

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jenniferlawrencesilverliningsplaybook.jpgOver the last few years, the most exciting Oscar battles have been the ones waged for Best Actress.  Not only did we get some amazing performances, but the depth of possible nominees and the number of great roles for women were bountiful.  It was a cornucopia of estrogen!  

Not so in 2012.

I am not saying the nominees are not deserving, I just think some of the people snubbed last year would have been considered frontrunners this year (Charlize Theron in Young Adult).

Yet, we will have some solid nominees for Best Actress when they are revealed on Thursday, January 10.  Yes, the woman to the left is one of them.

Who will be nominated for Best Actress?

The predicted nominees are:

Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)

Naomi Watts (The Impossible)

Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)

Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone)

Emmanuelle Riva (Amour)

That's alot of women in movies you haven't heard of and seen, which is what makes this category one that is so hard to predict, and one where groups like The Critics Choice Awards, SAG and Golden Globes will have an impact.

Lawrence and Chastain are the sure bets in this category, and the frontrunners to win on Oscar night.  Lawrence, who has a previous nomination for Winter's Bone and immense box office success for The Hunger Games, is one of the hottest actresses in Hollywood.  The only woman who might be hotter is Chastain, who was nominated last year for The Help

The two are at the top of every producer's and director's wish list when it comes time to cast a new movie, and both are so amazingly talented, they could be facing off on Oscar night for years to come.  Lawrence started off as the frontrunner, but, as Silver Linings Playbook kind of wallows in a strange area of being released, but not playing in many places around the country, Chastain has been gaining momentum as Zero Dark Thirty emerges as one of the most anticipated Oscar contenders, which will be released nationwide on January 11.

Cotillard is a previous winner who has benefited from massive critical acclaim, as the movie makes its way through the art house scene.  She, like Watts, earned nominations for Best Actress at The Screen Actors Guild Awards, The Critics Choice Awards and The Golden Globes, which has helped propel both of them into the discussion, even when no one has really seen the movies.

The last nominee is the hardest to predict in this category.  Emmanuelle Riva has emerged as the probable 5th nominee after co-winning Best Actress at the LA Film Critics (Lawrence was the other co-winner), and earning a nomination at the Critics Choice Awards.  Her role in Amour, as an older woman starting to physically and mentally decline, is one that speaks to all of us, especially older voters who dominate The Academy. 

However, a myriad of contenders could sneak into that last slot.  Helen Mirren (Hitchcock) was nominated at The Screen Actors Guild, which should not be taken lightly since so many of those voters also vote at the Oscars. 

Rachel Weisz earned Best Actress from the NY Film Critics, which propelled her into the discussion and into a nomination for Best Actress at The Golden Globes. 

Finally, Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) has been in the Best Actress discussion all year long, and not just as an oddity, since, at 6-years old, she would be the youngest nominee ever for the award.  Beasts of the Southern Wild is one of the most talked about indie films of the year, and Wallis did score a nomination from The Critics Choice Awards.

I just think Riva gets the nomination, which, conversely, would make her the oldest Best Actress nominee ever at the Oscars.

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