Anne Hathaway ("Les Miserables") has led this race since the start of the season as the pick of a plurality of our Experts. (See latest odds here). This one-time Best Actress nominee had her bid boosted by being showcased in the first trailer for this lavish adaptation of the Tony-winning musical.
At the outset, Hathaway's fiercest rival was three-time past contender Amy Adams ("The Master") who has slipped to fourth place. (Track changing odds in this race by scrolling down to the bottom of this page.)
In the last few weeks, two-time Best Actress champ Sally Field ("Norma Rae," "Places in the Heart") has gained support for her featured role as the First Lady in "Lincoln." Should she prevail, she will have a perfect track record at the Oscars, winning all three of her bids.
Helen Hunt is also in contention for her work in "The Sessions." The 1997 Best Actress champ ("As Good as It Gets") could have contended in lead for her role as the sex surrogate hired by John Hawkes' character. However, the savvy studio has positioned her in the supporting race, hoping she can replicate the success of past champs like Marcia Gay Harden ("Pollock") and Jennifer Connelly ("A Beautiful Mind") who were the defacto lead actresses in their pictures.
Maggie Smith ("The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel") has won both this race ("California Suite," 1978) and Best Actress ("The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie," 1969).