With very little left to be seen, several Oscar categories are coming into clear focus. One of these is Best Actress, which seems to have seven serious candidates left vying for five slots. Questions, of course, remain, but if someone outside these seven was nominated, I'd be shocked. Here they are, in order of likelihood to be nominated:
1.) Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
She's back, and apparently just as good as ever. Will she finally get that elusive third gold statue? Could be. But there's absolutely no doubt she'll be among the final five.
2.) Viola Davis, The Help
People respect her, it's a baity role, and she pulls it off spectacularly. Plus, the film will be in the conversation all winter long. Another slam dunk for a nod, and a possible winner.
3.) Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn
With her latest role, Williams transforms from indie darling to genuine movie star. She's one of the most exciting performers working today, and she'll win many statues over what hopefully will be a long, fruitful career. It won't happen this year, but she looks great for a nomination at this point in time.
4.) Charlize Theron, Young Adult
A former winner transforms herself again into a monster, though one much different than Aileen Wuernos. Hard to say how voters will react to Jason Reitman's latest collaboration with Diablo Cody, but if it shows up anywhere, it will be here.
5.) Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Are people still thinking she can win? I think that's a little crazy, honestly. Reactions to the film have been mixed at best, and I'm not certain people will even bother seeing it. I still have her in the race, but only because of the overdue factor.
6.) Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The big wildcard. No one has seen the film, so there's no accounting for the quality of Mara's work, nor the "Oscar-ness" of the film. Fincher is insistent that there's "too much anal rape" for Oscar consideration, but you'd be a fool to rule the future Lisbeth Salander out.
7.) Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene
My favorite performance of the year probably won't be seen by a lot of voters, which is unfortunate. She could be this year's Jennifer Lawrence, but she might have to settle for a handful of critics awards, instead of an Oscar nomination.