Patricia Arquette is looking more and more like the sure thing for this award but someone like Meryl Streep or even Emma Stone can give her a run for the money. I’m starting to look at Carrie Coon as more of a possibility than we may have thought. She’s terrific in “Gone Girl” and many are singing her praises.
AND THE PREDICTED NOMINEES ARE
1. Patricia Arquette
FOR HER: She takes on much of the emotion of the film on herself. She could be a great representation for the film.
AGAINST HER: The film is smaller and rather ambitious and the Academy has been known to ignore those types of films unfortunately. The campaign will be key.
2. Keira Knightley
The Imitation Game
FOR HER: Is in quite a bit of films this year. This Weinstein film could be her ticket to nomination #2. She has the role and the feisty persona that Oscar loves.
AGAINST HER: Too many films can be overkill or cause a vote split.
3. Meryl Streep
Into the Woods
FOR HER: It's a meaty role and there's no denying that Oscar will write Meryl's name down for anything. Disney is preparing a very big campaign.
AGAINST HER: They do take Meryl breaks from time to time.
4. Emma Stone
FOR HER: The film looks like an interesting mix of drama and weirdness. With the Cameron Crowe film out of the picture, is this her chance?
AGAINST HER: Naomi Watts, if she's a standout.
5. Jessica Chastain
A Most Violent Year
FOR HER: She is lined up to have another outstanding here with "Eleanor Rigby," "Interstellar," and this. The people behind her are gunning for a nomination and perhaps an overdue win.
AGAINST HER: She could vote split with herself or get edged out by other ladies. She also could be in the supporting race for "Interstellar."
THE NEXT FIVE CONTENDERS
6. Laura Dern
FOR HER: Previous nominee in a role that received good notices out of the festival circuit. Can she make a case for herself?
AGAINST HER: Her screen time is a bit on the low side according to some. Bigger films and names may get ahead.
7. Carmen Ejogo
FOR HER: Playing Coretta Scott King is a massive opportunity for attention. The supportive wife is an Academy favorite.
AGAINST HER: How big will the role be? Will the Academy go for the film?Just lots of questions with no answers yet.
8. Sienna Miller
FOR HER: She has been a formidable talent over the years. Playing the supportive wife of Bradley Cooper, may give her a leg up. She is also great in "Foxcatcher.".
AGAINST HER: How large is her screen time?
9. Carrie Coon
FOR HER: She is a standout in a film that is popular with audiences. Could get swept in. Also has "The Leftovers" which helps.
AGAINST HER: Has Kim Dickens that could steal some votes. Isn't as famous as her competitors..
10. Jessica Chastain
FOR HER: Stellar year. There's a lot of emotion in the performance that could resonate, especially if they love the film.
AGAINST HER: A winning performance in a science fiction film? I'll believe it when I see it. That doesn't stop a nomination from occurring though.
OTHER TOP-TIER CONTENDERS
11. Katherine Waterston
FOR HER: Daughter of veteran actor Sam Waterston, early word is that she's a standout in Paul Thomas Anderson's film. If they love it, Oscar would love to welcome a new face.
AGAINST HER: Weird reviews.
12. Anna Kendrick
Into the Woods
FOR HER: Previous nominee for "Up in the Air" and continues to consistently deliver in blockbusters like "Pitch Perfect." This could be a winning ticket for her based on the role.
AGAINST HER: Internal competition, namely Meryl Streep and Emily Blunt who could both swing in this category.
13. Kristen Stewart
Who would think we'd see her name in contention so many times this year, this soon?
14. Rene Russo
People may not remember how awesome she was in the 90's with films like "Lethal Weapon 3" and "Ransom." Many praised her turn out of TIFF. If Jake Gyllenhaal starts contending in a big way, she can easily come in for the ride (possibly even without him).
15. Imelda Staunton
FOR HER: Previous nominee for "Vera Drake" and has been in need of another role that people notice. She seems to have found it here.
AGAINST HER: Will enough people see the film?
16. Octavia Spencer
Black or White
Generated buzz out of TIFF and this is now getting a qualifying run. Could shake things up.
17. Marion Bailey
She's so sweetly wonderful in "Mr. Turner." She also has a role that some may sympathize with.
18. Dorothy Atkinson
A tragic role that some may be able to cling to.
19. Melissa McCarthy
The word out of TIFF was very positive for her. Previous Oscar nominee for "Bridesmaids" that may just ride the wave back in. The "Tammy" reviews may detract some.
20. Marisa Tomei
Love is Strange
Marisa Tomei shines once again and is being pushed by Sony Pictures Classics. Could be able to sneak in and do some damage. Indie spirit?
ALSO IN CONTENTION
21 Viola Davis - The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
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.