It begins.  2011 film year is behind us and we saw Octavia Spencer crowned Best Supporting Actress for her work in “The Help.”  As we embark on the 2012 film year together, I will be breaking down each category individually throughout the month of March.  I will also unveil the Awards Circuit Staff Predictions one at a time for all of you to enjoy.  Trust me, we all have different takes on what the 2012 season will bring.

We break down the Supporting Actress category first.  Any supporting category is difficult to analyze because you never know who will hit it out of the park with a mere eight minute screen time or what borderline Lead performance will be pushed in another category.  The rankings of the Supporting Actress are ordered #1 through #25 as you see them on the predictions page but there are outside contenders that could just as easily make the lineup given a strong showing with critics and audiences.

Looking into a crystal ball, Amy Adams will be starring in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” and with three prior nominations (“Junebug,” “Doubt,” and “The Fighter”), Adams could finally score an Oscar.  She also has a role in the long-awaited “On the Road” directed by Walter Salles which could catch on.  Co-star Kristen Stewart can return to what we loved about her in “Into the Wild.”  The question seems to be, is Oscar aching to reward Adams or does she need to be accepted as a leading lady?  Have the “Twilight” franchise ruined Stewart forever?  Perhaps.

“It-girl” from 2011 Jessica Chastain is back and with a vengeance in Terrence Malick’s currently untitled film, formerly called “The Burial,” but word has it, she’s only in one scene. But what would Jessica Chastain be without appearing in a few other films in the same year.  Chastain also has a buzzed about performance in “Wettest County” starring Tom Hardy and directed by John Hillcoat (“The Road”).  She will also appear in “Tar,” the story of author C.K. Williams starring James Franco and Mila Kunis.  She will also star in the horror film, “Mama” and was tapped for voice work in the animated “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.”  She also has a role in the anticipated “Zero-Thirty” directed by Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow about the Navy-seal team that killed Osama Bin Laden.  What a year ahead.

Two-time Oscar winner Sally Field returns to awards attention in Steven Spielberg’s epic “Lincoln” starring Daniel Day-Lewis.  As the wife of the sixteenth President of the United States, Field should have no trouble garnering votes based on the nature of the role alone.  The last time Field was in serious contention for Oscar was for 1994’s “Forrest Gump” which failed to grant her recognition.  Can return to the Kodak?  Oh, wait, not the Kodak.  Whatever.  It’s still the Kodak to me.

Anne Hathaway managed to almost take the Oscar for Jonathan Demme’s “Rachel Getting Married” and has shown herself to be a force to reckoned with some of her roles since then.  She elevated the poor directions of “Love and Other Drugs” and “Alice in Wonderland.”  She also received decent reviews last year for Lone Scherfig’s “One Day” which never came to fruition.  This year, Hathaway will play Selina Kyle a.k.a. Catwoman in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises” and her big chances seem to lie as the beautiful Fantine in Tom Hooper’s “Les Miserables” with Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe.  Hathaway can sing and will deliver one of the musical’s most emotionally charged scenes.

As ‘Broomhilda,’ Kerry Washington may be able to garner some attention in Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained.” Tarantino is always a great on focusing and centering his actors.  Think Uma Thurman.    The word is out yet on Carey Mulligan as the beautiful ‘Daisy’ in Baz Luhrmann’s remake of “The Great Gatsby” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire.  Co-star Isla Fisher also could be noticed as the doomed ‘Myrtle.’  Mulligan also has a role in Joel & Ethan Coen’s “Inside Llewlyn Davis” which could be pushed back to 2013.  Mulligan isn’t the only starring the great adaptations and remakes.  Helena Bonham Carter will appear in “Great Expectations” directed by Mike Newell.

Olivia Williams will be playing Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President FDR in Roger Michell’s “Hyde Park on Hudson” starring Bill Murray.  Co-star Laura Linney could also be pushed in Supporting if her role isn’t large enough.   Emma Stone will have the sure-to-be blockbuster role as Gwen Stacy in “The Amazing Spider-Man” and a brief role in “Movie 43,” a feature film with short comedic segments.  Her greatest chances seem to be as Grace Faraday in Ruben Fleischer’s “The Gangster Squad” with Sean Penn and Ryan Gosling.

Expect a campaign to start for the late Whitney Houston in the summer film, “Sparkle” with American Idol winner Jordin Sparks.  Houston won’t be the only Grammy award winning singer trying to make a play.  Mary J. Blige has a large enough role in “Rock of Ages” that could land her in contention for Oscar alongside co-star Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Elizabeth Olsen may be able to capitalize on what didn’t happen for in “Martha Marcy May Marlene” in her new film “Liberal Arts” with Zac Efron.  “Cloud Atlas” starring Tom Hanks, Hugo Weaving, and Jim Sturgess could do some good things for its ladies.  Halle Berry has been trying to catch back on since her Oscar win for “Monster’s Ball.”  Susan Sarandon has been on the cusp since “Dead Man Walking” of making a short list.  Remember “Igby Goes Down?”  Maybe she’ll make a comeback along with Sally Field from “Lincoln.”  There is also veteran actress and singer Bette Midler that will star along with Billy Crystal in “Parental Guidance” and Gena Rowlands making a play in Nick Cassavetes’ “Yellow.”

Wes Anderson is back with his long-awaited “Moonrise Kingdom” and with Oscar favorite Frances McDormand starring, she could come back on Oscar’s radar.  Tilda Swinton also c0-stars and after her snub this year for “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” she could get a maekup nomination.  After Jacki Weaver knocked it out of the park for her nominated turn in “Animal Kingdom,” we’ve been waiting to see if she can do it again.  In David O. Russell’s “The Silver Linings Playbook,” Weaver seems to have landed another “motherly” role of a mentally ill ex-teacher that could cause some sparks.  Same goes for c0-stars Jennifer Lawrence, who’s role in “The Hunger Games” could help, and Julia Stiles, who never manages to get any traction.

Vanessa Redgrave never had a chance after the dismal reviews poured in for Ralph Fiennes’ “Coriolanus.”  Perhaps a role in Paul Andrew Williams’ “Song for Marion” can get her a seventh nomination.  Kelly MacDonald, who was criminally ignored for her portrayal in The Coen Brothers’ “No Country for Old Men” will have another crack at attention in Joe Wright’s “Anna Karenina” starring Keira Knightley.  Kristin Scott Thomas will be attempting a villainous role in Nicolas Winding Refn’s next feature, “Only God Forgives” which The Weinstein Company just purchased.  Expect a full-on campaign or Thomas this year.

A few more ladies worth mentioning would be: Samantha Barks (Les Miserables), Kirsten Dunst (Red Light Winter), Nicole Kidman (The Paperboy), Penelope Cruz and Ellen Page (Nero Fiddled), Charlotte Rampling (The Eye of the Storm), and Michelle Pfeiffer (Dark Shadows).

I’m sure you all will have some that weren’t mentioned but that’s what the comment section is for.  Check out the Official Supporting Actress predictions either HERE or the sidebar and gear up for another great Oscar year with the Awards Circuit!

Comment and discuss!