Where will these ladies be campaigned? Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Rosamund Pike, and Felicity Jones are all question marks. Amy Adams and Jessica Chastain look very strong with Michelle Williams also a possibility. Reese Witherspoon looks to finally make her comeback while Blunt could be our new hot actress winner. This is all up in the air. Lots of potentials.
AND THE PREDICTED NOMINEES ARE
1. Amy Adams
FOR HER: She scored her fifth nomination last year for "American Hustle" and many were championing an upset for her, making many aware that she is still Oscar-less. I think it may be time.
AGAINST HER: There will be a lot of ladies trying to build the overdue narrative this year. She will be one of a few. It's all about who they go for.
2. Jessica Chastain
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
FOR HER: After losing momentum due to controversy surrounding "Zero Dark Thirty," Chastain has another huge year ahead of her, all potentially offering Oscar prospects. The Cannes noise for this performance was deafening.
AGAINST HER: Vote split with herself.
3. Michelle Williams
FOR HER: Williams has become a force to reckoned with in nearly every film she touches. She's proven to be a talent that the Academy may soon want to reward.
AGAINST HER: If this film falters, she may not be able to overcome the reviews à la "My Week with Marilyn."
4. Emily Blunt
Into the Woods
FOR HER: Her role was nominated for a Tony. She was a near miss for "The Devil Wears Prada" and "The Young Victoria." It may be her welcome to the club.
AGAINST HER: Meryl Streep if she's campaigned Lead. Or Blunt could go supporting and then Kendrick is her competition.
5. Reese Witherspoon
FOR HER: She's been attempting a comeback for some time and teamed up with Jean-Marc Vallee could finally welcome her back to the club.
AGAINST HER: We've been down this road with her before and we're always let down. I'll wait for reviews.
THE NEXT FIVE CONTENDERS
6. Marion Cotillard
FOR HER: It's THE role in Shakespeare's play. This is something that Cotillard could just eat up.
AGAINST HER: It's still not confirmed if this will come out this year. We have to wait it out.
7. Meryl Streep
Into the Woods
FOR HER: The Queen of Oscar continues to get juicy roles and be nominated even when critics aren't fully on her side. This is another opportunity to add to her arsenal.
AGAINST HER: They take Meryl breaks every now and again.
8. Marion Cotillard
Two Days, One Night
FOR HER: Was definitely in the hunt at Cannes this year when her film received glowing reviews. She's also missed out on many opportunities including "Nine," "Public Enemies," and "Rust & Bone." Her performance in "The Immigrant" helps.
AGAINST HER: Cotillard always looks like an assured thing and then falls off at the end.
9. Emma Stone
Untitled Cameron Crowe Project
FOR HER: Emma Stone is on the verge of breaking through with the Academy. Her roles in "The Help" and "Easy A" suggest talent. Teamed with Cameron Crowe could do the trick. Also has "Magic in the Moonlight" from Woody Allen.
AGAINST HER: Crowe isn't as consistent as he used to be. All depends on the final product.
10. Hilary Swank
FOR HER: Has two Oscars. Great reviews from Cannes. Many say that the role is tailor-made for her. Is it her big comeback?
AGAINST HER: The reviews were good but some were muted. Others suggested that some won't get it.
OTHER TOP-TIER CONTENDERS
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.