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OSCARS 2012 : Best Actress

 
The Contenders

Emmanuelle Riva
(Amour)

Jennifer Lawren
(Silver Lin..)

Jessica Chastai
(Zero Dark ..)

Naomi Watts
(The Imposs..)

Quvenzhane Wall
(Beasts of ..)
Best Actress

In the fall, Jennifer Lawrence ("Silver Linings Playbook") seemed to be the clear frontrunner for the Best Actress Oscar, though the intervening months have seen significant surges from both Jessica Chastain ("Zero Dark Thirty") and Emmanuelle Riva ("Amour"). Can either of them overtake her?

Jennifer Lawrence ("Silver Linings Playbook")
Lawrence leads the Oscar race with 13/8 odds; she is supported by 20 out of 25 of our experts, eight out of nine editors, and 63% of users.

Playing a sexually compulsive widow who falls for her bipolar neighbor, she has already won prizes from the Golden Globes, SAG, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and though she lost Best Actress at Critics' Choice to rival Chastain, she did win a separate award for Best Actress in a Comedy. She was also nominated at BAFTA and received several awards and nominations from regional critics' organizations.

This is the second Oscar nomination for Lawrence, who received her first Best Actress bid in 2010 for "Winter's Bone." At 21, she is the youngest person to have earned multiple lead acting nominations.

Jessica Chastain ("Zero Dark Thirty")
Chastain ranks second according to our predictors, with 10/3 odds. One editor, one expert, and 20% of users expect her to win.

This season she has already won honors from the Golden Globes and Critics' Choice Awards, as well as the National Board of Review and regional critics' awards including Chicago, Florida, and online journalists. She was also nominated at the BAFTA and SAG Awards.

This is her second Oscar nomination. She was nominated last year for Best Supporting Actress for "The Help."

Emmanuelle Riva ("Amour")
Riva is in third place with 4/1 odds. Four experts and 14% of users predict her to win. Turning 86 on Oscar night, she would be Oscar's oldest acting winner.

In "Amour," she plays a retired piano teacher slowly dying after suffering a stroke. And though she was not nominated at the Golden Globes or SAG Awards, she received a bid from the Critics' Choice Awards and won awards from BAFTA, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the National Society of Film Critics, and the European Film Awards.

This is Riva's first Oscar nomination.

Naomi Watts ("The Impossible")
Watts places fourth with 15/2 odds. None of our experts or editors and only 1% of users predict her to win.

Playing Maria, a real-life survivor of the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia, Watts has not won a major award this season, though she has been nominated by the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and Critics' Choice Awards.

This is her second Oscar nominations. She previously earned a Best Actress bid for "21 Grams" (2003).

Quvenzhane Wallis ("Beasts of the Southern Wild")
Wallis ranks last with 9/1 odds. Less than 2% of users predict her to win.

Earlier this season she won Best Young Actor/Actress at the Critics' Choice Awards, where she was also nominated for Best Actress. She also received awards from Chicago, Phoenix, and Washington DC critics for youth or breakthrough performance. However, she was not nominated by the Golden Globes, and "Beasts of the Southern Wild" was ineligible at the SAG Awards.

This is her first Oscar nomination, and "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is her acting debut. She is the youngest lead-acting nominee in history.

Experts’ Rankings
Thelma Adams
Matt Atchity
Edward Douglas
1
Jennifer Lawrence
Emmanuelle Riva
Jennifer Lawrence
2
Emmanuelle Riva
Jennifer Lawrence
Jessica Chastain
3
Jessica Chastain
Jessica Chastain
Emmanuelle Riva
Editors’ Rankings
Chris Beachum
Marcus Dixon
Rob Licuria
1
Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence
Emmanuelle Riva
2
Emmanuelle Riva
Emmanuelle Riva
Jennifer Lawrence
3
Jessica Chastain
Jessica Chastain
Naomi Watts
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