NAME: Jennifer Lawrence
FILM: American Hustle
OSCARS HISTORY: 1 win (Silver Linings Playbook), 1 nomination (Winter's Bone)
Not many actors make it back into Oscars contention so soon after getting their hands on the famous statuette, but then Jennifer Lawrence has always stood out from the crowd. The 23-year-old actress, as famous for her refreshingly honest interviews as her enormous acting talent, first gained worldwide fame for her lead role in The Hunger Games franchise but it's her Oscar-winning turn in 2012's Silver Linings Playbook that's forged an ongoing partnership with director David O Russell. Her portrayal of unhinged housewife Rosalyn Rosenfeld in his latest flick American Hustle has already earned Lawrence a Golden Globe win for best supporting actress to add to her growing stash of silverware, making her a hot favourite for top honours on Oscars night.
NAME: Lupita Nyong’o
FILM: 12 Years a Slave
OSCARS HISTORY: n/a
One of this year's Bafta Rising Star nominees, Lupita Nyong'o was relatively unknown before appearing in 12 Years a Slave - she was cast in the Steve McQueen film fresh from her Yale graduation in 2012. But the writer, director and producer has long been involved in the film industry, working behind the camera on a string of films including The Constant Gardener starring Ralph Fiennes. Starring alongside Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch and Brad Pitt, Nyong'o's turn as abused slave girl Patsey has been lauded as one of the film's standout performances and already seen her shortlisted at the Golden Globe and Bafta Awards.
NAME: Julia Roberts
FILM: August: Osage County
OSCARS HISTORY: 1 win (Erin Brockovich), 2 nominations (Steel Magnolias, Pretty Woman)
Julia Roberts is no stranger to the Academy Awards, but since starting a family the 46-year-old actress has considerably reduced her workload. She's chosen her roles wisely, starring opposite Meryl Streep, Ewan MacGregor and Benedict Cumberbatch in black comedy-drama August: Osage County. Following the story of cancer suffering matriarch Violet Weston and her assorted family, the film has been touted by many for awards season contention with Roberts emerging as a best supporting actress nominee across all the major ceremonies for her portrayal of Violet's strong-willed daughter Barbara.
NAME: Sally Hawkins
FILM: Blue Jasmine
Cate Blanchett may be Woody Allen's leading lady in Blue Jasmine but British actress Sally Hawkins' performance as her sister Ginger hasn't gone unnoticed. As the eponymous Jasmine's beleaguered sibling, Hawkins has been hailed as "fresh" and "alive" as her character provides shelter for her neurotic one-time millionaire sister. Having received critical acclaim for 2008's Happy Go Lucky, the 37-year-old Brit was nominated at last week's Golden Globes and is also in contention at the Baftas next month.
NAME: June Squibb
OSCARS HISTORY: n/a
After enjoying an acting career largely on stage since 1958, June Squibb has been collecting nominations across the board for her role alongside Bruce Dern and Will Forte in Nebraska. The Palme d'Or nominee was met with critical acclaim following its release last year and has seen its stars garnering wins across the globe over the last 8 months. Shot in black and white, the film tells the tale of an old man who travels from Montana to Nebraska because he believes he's won $1million and is also being touted for best picture and screenplay nominations.