lead actress 2012This year we don’t have the fortune of knowing exactly who will win Best Actress. We have five nominees that include two frontrunners, one possible upset and two actresses who should be honored to receive recognition for their work.

And the nominees are:

  • Jessica Chastain- Zero Dark Thirty
  • Jennifer Lawrence- Silver Linings Playbook
  • Emmanuelle Riva- Amour
  • Quvenzhané Wallis- Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Naomi Watts- The Impossible

chastain globesJessica Chastain:

Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain is one of those actresses we can’t help but adore. She had amazing success in 2011  receiving her first Oscar nomination for The Help. This year she headlined Zero Dark Thirty and carried the film as Maya, the woman on the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Chastain won big with the Critics and also took home the Golden Globe. Unfortunately, she missed at SAG and with all the backlash Zero Dark Thirty is receiving, her road to victory might be over. But, Oscar always has a sort of funny way of surprising us. I still consider Chastain a frontrunner, just the runner-up frontrunner.

Jennifer Lawrence:

Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence had the best year of her career. The Hunger Games, which was released earlier in 2012, brought Lawrence to a whole new level of stardom. But her role in Silver Linings Playbook proved she can still hit it big with an Independent film. Do I think Jennifer Lawrence deserves to win an Oscar for her role in Silver Linings Playbook? No, not when she’s up against great performances from her fellow nominees. But, I don’t really get a say in it. The Weinstein’s have been pushing Silver Linings Playbook really hard, so hard that the film received nominations in each acting category. Jennifer Lawrence is a talented actress who is only getting better, but I don’t think this is the role she deserves to win an Oscar for. Lawrence won at the Globes and SAG and is considered the frontrunner to win Best Actress.

emmanuelleriva_amourEmmanuelle Riva:

The Upset. Since the Oscar nominations were revealed, the actress race went from being all about Chastain, to being all about Lawrence, and somewhere in the middle we began to believe in Riva’s ability to upset the race. Amour, the little film that could earned five nominations, and many believe that those who loved the film enough to nominate it will vote even harder for it to win. The oldest Best Actress nominee received nominations from the Critics and BAFTA, but missed with the Globes and SAG. If Riva couldn’t receive a nomination from SAG, is she really a strong enough contender to cause an upset Oscar night?

Quvenzhané Wallis:

When Beasts of the Southern Wild was released, everybody was pushing for Wallis to receive a nomination. When the Critics were the only group to show their praise for her performance, many began to lose hope. Dreams do come true and at nine years old Wallis is the youngest actress to be nominated in this category. She may not win an Oscar for her role as Hushpuppy, but this Oscar nomination taught everyone how to say her name correctly. Thank god for that.

naomiwatts_theimpossibleNaomi Watts:

When Oscar season was just beginning, I was sure that Naomi Watts would not only get nominated, but win for her role in The Impossible. I thought the Academy would eat up her performance about a woman who vacations to Thailand with her family, only to be a victim in the historic and horrific Tsunami that leads her to fight for survival. Watts has received nominations from all the important guilds but has no wins. She may not win this time around, but I’m sure she’ll receive attention later this year for her role in Diana.

If you’re confused about this category, all I can say is join the club. We’ve seen this pattern before; one contender wins big early in the season, then someone else takes over the race and ends up winning the Oscar. We’ve also seen cases where one contender wins everything except the SAG. I believe that Oscar voters can see past the pile of crap surrounding Zero Dark Thirty and vote for Chastain. But I also know that sometimes my head is in the clouds. History says both Chastain and Lawrence have a shot at winning, but right now Lawrence is the favorite to win.

Final Prediction: Jennifer Lawrence- Silver Linings Playbook

Snubs: Marion Cotillard- Rust & Bone, Keira Knightley- Anna Karenina, Rachel Weisz- The Deep Blue Sea