Can anyone beat Jennifer Lawrence for Best Actress at Oscars?

By Daniel Montgomery
By Daniel Montgomery
Feb 12 2013 18:19 pm
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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 26 of our experts, eight out of nine editors, and 62% of users.

Playing a sexually compulsive widow who falls for her bipolar neighbor, she has already won prizes from the  the LA film critics, Golden Globes, SAG. 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.

Emmanuelle Riva ("Amour")
Riva is in second place with 3/1 odds. Six experts, one editor, and 23% 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. Though she was not nominated at the Globes or SAG, she received a bid from the Critics' Choice, tied Lawrence at the LA critics awards and won BAFTA, the National Society of Film Critics, and the European Film Awards.

This is Riva's first Oscar nomination.

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Jessica Chastain ("Zero Dark Thirty")
Chastain ranks third according to our predictors, with 9/2 odds. 13% of users expect her to win.

This season she has already won honors from the Golden Globes and Critics' Choice, as well as the National Board of Review and regional critics' prizes 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."

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 10/1 odds. 1% 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.

 
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Inside Track: Oscar Predictions

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Our Oscarologists are busy updating their predictions as they see more and more contenders. Make your early picks now -- click here -- and change them later as the derby heats up.

Odds   View %  
Experts
1 BoyhoodBoyhood
9/2
2 UnbrokenUnbroken
15/2
3 BirdmanBirdman
15/2
4 The Imitation GameThe Imitation Game
8/1
5 SelmaSelma
10/1
6 The Theory of EverythingThe Theory of Everything
12/1
7 Gone GirlGone Girl
16/1
8 FoxcatcherFoxcatcher
16/1
9 WhiplashWhiplash
25/1
10 InterstellarInterstellar
25/1
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