Jennifer Aniston looks like she’ll be the first “Friend” to get an Oscar nomination. I can’t believe it. And I believe she is FANTASTIC in her film, likely my personal winner of the year. With a film so small, from a new production company, you wouldn’t think she stood a chance but here we are. I wonder if her assurance could edge out someone like Rosamund Pike for “Gone Girl” to make room for either Marion Cotillard, Hilary Swank, or Emily Blunt? We’ll see.
AND THE PREDICTED NOMINEES ARE
1. Julianne Moore
It's one of the best turns of her career and those really no one else that has been contending. It's her time. Even publicists from rival companies say Best Actress is over.
2. Felicity Jones
The Theory of Everything
Her film is coming on strong and in any other year, she'd likely be our winner based on the Academy's past trends with Best Actress winners.
3. Reese Witherspoon
She stands above some of the film's more obvious flaws and it's good to see her doing great work again. If she hadn't won for "Walk the Line," she'd be more of a possibility.
4. Rosamund Pike
Globes and SAG have kept her in the conversation since there was a moment that looked like a Pike snub could be coming our way. She's still not out of the woods yet but she seems safe for now.
5. Jennifer Aniston
One of the ballsy calls of the season paid off because she was coming on strong in the past few weeks. Globe and SAG have noticed. BFCA needs to capitalize as well.
THE NEXT FIVE CONTENDERS
6. Emily Blunt
Into the Woods
Looked like the sure-fire Globe winner but Adams will put up a fight now. Even if she does win the Globe, AMPAS would have turned in their ballots already.
7. Hilary Swank
Roadside Attractions put together a very thorough campaign for her but it doesn't seem to have paid off. Her screen time isn't as hefty as you'd like a Lead Actress to be.
8. Amy Adams
It's one of her most complex and refreshing performances yet but the film has a stigma around it that she just can't shake. Globes noticed but SAG passed.
9. Marion Cotillard
Two Days, One Night
Has been winning her lion's share of Best Actress mentions so far but for combined films. Cotillard just has bad luck getting her second nomination.
10. Anne Hathaway
Paramount is conducting a strategic campaign on the actors and she benefits from a seemingly "weak category. She could be a dark horse choice.
OTHER TOP-TIER CONTENDERS
11. Marion Cotillard
Harvey has put the gas pedal down with her work in James Gray's film, especially with her winning a few critics notices along the way. Is it too late?
12. Gugu Mbatha-Raw
An outstanding breakthrough performer this year with this and "Beyond the Lights." She needed one of the major guilds to notice her though.
13. Jessica Chastain
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
Harvey is trying to get her into a five but the guilds and critics are focusing on "A Most Violent Year" and "Interstellar." Better luck next time.
14. Shailene Woodley
The Fault in Our Stars
She's probably the frontrunner for the MTV Movie Award but Oscar just doesn't go for this type of film.
15. Jenny Slate
An SNL alum that gives a very rich performance. There are vocal lovers for the work. The snub from the Golden Globes is painful. Indie Spirit noticed though.
16. Scarlett Johansson
Under the Skin
Was in the conversation at NYFCO and other groups have praised her work. The film is too small in this crowded field.
17. Anne Dorval
Foreign contender that has received much praise. Qualifying run by Roadside Attractions.
18. Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Beyond the Lights
No Globe. No Chance.
19. Helen Mirren
The Hundred Foot Journey
The Golden Globes nominated her but some eyebrows were raised by it. Does anyone remember the movie?
20. Jessica Chastain
The film premiered at TIFF and she received decent enough reviews but not enough buzz for her remained.
ALSO IN CONTENTION
21 Keira Knightley – Begin Again
22 Tilda Swinton – Only Lovers Left Alive
23 Kristen Wiig – The Skeleton Twins
24 Mia Wasikowska – Tracks
25 Melissa McCarthy – St. Vincent
26 Robin Wright – The Congress
27 Gena Rowlands – Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks
28 Michelle Monaghan - Fort Bliss
29 Rachel McAdams – A Most Wanted Man
30 Maggie Smith – My Old Lady
31 Emma Stone – Magic in the Moonlight
32 Kristen Stewart – Camp X-Ray
33 Angelina Jolie – Maleficent
34 Shirley MacLaine – Elsa & Fred
35 Jennifer Lawrence – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
Clayton Davis started to write professionally in his sophomore year of college when Johnny Alba, the editor and owner of the old Oscar prediction site, The Oscar Igloo, had an opening for staff writers. Clayton wrote for The Igloo for nearly four years before being appointed editor and revamping and renaming The Oscar Igloo into the now popular mega-site, The Awards Circuit. Since then, Clayton has become a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association where he votes and attends the kick off to awards season show, The Critics Choice Awards. Most recently, Clayton is a now an active member of the International Press Academy, which hosts the popular Satellite Awards as well as the newly integrated Broadcast Television Journalists Association, which hosts the Critics Choice Television Awards. In June 2014 he became the year's first accepted member to New York Film Critics Online. He has been quoted in various outlets (CNN.com, Bloomberg.com, TheWrap.com, AceShowbiz.com, SlashFilm.com, ScottFeinberg.com) and continues to raise the bar for film-talking enthusiasts around the globe.