- Julie Christie -Away From Her
- Ashley Judd -Bug
- Mirjana Karanovic -Fraulein
- Markéta Irglová -Once
- Molly Shannon-Year of the Dog
If the Oscar voters had to perform a similar January to June balloting, I don't think there'd be much question about the results. The studios don't offer a wide array of possiblities early on. If the year ended now your Oscar Best Actress shortlist would read exactly so:
- Julie Christie -Away From Her (the legend)
- Marion Cotillard -La Vie En Rose (the biopic)
- Katherine Heigl -Knocked Up (zeitgeist choice)
- Angelina Jolie -A Mighty Heart (the red carpet factor)
- Ashley Judd -Bug (the deglam / the comeback)
If you're talking real and eventual Oscar nods, you can safely remove two of the five theoreticals. Heigl will be a force for the Globe Comedy nomination but Knocked Up is not enough of a performance piece to break through AMPAS natural aversion to comedy. Judd made a difficult role work in Bug but it's just not the Academy's cuppa and it wasn't enough of a hit to break through their natural aversion to horror.
Though this Oscar category is kinder to early birds than the other races, the early contenders are often less typically baity (Streep in Prada, Zellweger in Bridget Jones, etc...) and get to the big show by the way of hit status and popularity. So it's surprising to see three viable and typical candidates so early. Cotillard, Christie and Jolie feel like prestige season ladies: baity topics, Oscar hooks (addiction! alzheimers! mimicry!), and starpower. All three will not make it. So who fades by year's end?
You ready to do the heavy lifting in the comments? This is tough to deduce.
[A lot more handicapping on this race at the updated Oscar Page]