NAME: Cate Blanchett
FILM: Blue Jasmine
OSCAR HISTORY: 1 win (The Aviator), 4 nominations (Elizabeth, Notes on a Scandal, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, I’m Not There)
Cate Blanchett’s performance as neurotic former Manhattan socialite, Jasmine Francis, in Woody Allen’s critically-acclaimed drama has been winning nominations across the board as awards season swings into gear. Appearing alongside Alec Baldwin and British actress Sally Hawkins, Blanchett’s portrayal of the wife of a crook, philanderer and one-time millionaire who falls on hard times has been hailed as the best of her career and last week’s win at the Golden Globes ensures she’s one of the hot favourites to land this year’s Best Actress Oscar.
NAME: Sandra Bullock
OSCAR HISTORY: 1 win (The Blind Side)
From the moment Gravity premiered at the Venice Film Festival last August, it has been the talk of the critics, receiving a slew of five star reviews praising Sandra Bullock’s performance as stranded astronaut Dr Ryan Stone. Playing a first-timer stuck in space with George Clooney’s veteran commander, Lieutenant Matt Kowalski, Bullock spent months filming the role in green screen studios inside a giant mechanical rig under the direction of Alfonso Cuaron, who in turn is being touted for the Best Director Oscar. But the 49-year-old actress’s efforts have more than paid off, garnering her a string of nominations including nods from the Baftas, Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards.
NAME: Judi Dench
OSCAR HISTORY: 1 win (Shakespeare in Love), 5 nominations (Mrs. Brown, Chocolat, Iris, Mrs Henderson Presents, Notes on a Scandal)
Judi Dench strikes up a charming partnership with Alan Partridge comedian Steve Coogan in this touching retelling of a mother’s search for her son. She plays Philomena Lee – an elderly Irish lady forced to give up her only child for adoption whilst living in a nunnery 50 years ago. Coogan co-wrote the screenplay for the Stephen Frears-directed drama and appears as Martin Sixsmith, the journalist who takes Philomena to the States to help track down her boy. A moving tale based on a true story, the film has won the pair critical plaudits and Dench Best Actress nominations at the Baftas, Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards.
NAME: Amy Adams
FILM: American Hustle
OSCARS HISTORY: 4 nominations (Junebug, Doubt, The Fighter, The Master)
Earning nominations in 2008, 2010 and 2012, surely this is the year Amy Adams finally gets her hands on an Oscar? Her glamorous portrayal of “hustler” Sydney Prosser alongside fellow David O. Russell regulars Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence anchors the comedy drama, with many critics singling out her performance ahead of her A-list co-stars. After taking home the Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy gong at last week’s Golden Globes, Adams will no doubt emerge as one of the hot favourites to land the Academy’s top acting honours come March 2.
NAME: Meryl Streep
FILM: August: Osage County
OSCARS HISTORY: 3 wins (Kramer vs Kramer, Sophie’s Choice, The Iron Lady) and 14 nominations (The Deer Hunter, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Silkwood, Out of Africa, Ironweed, A Cry in the Dark, Postcards from the Edge, The Bridges of Madison County, One True Thing, Music of the Heart, Adaptation, The Devil Wears Prada, Doubt, Julie & Julie)
Meryl Streep earns her 18th nomination from the Academy Awards for her role as cancer-suffering matriarch Violet Weston in August: Osage County. Appearing alongside an A-list ensemble cast that includes Julia Roberts (a Best Supporting Actress nominee), Ewan MacGregor, Abigail Breslin and Benedict Cumberbatch, Streep shines as the notoriously difficult Violet – a narcotics addict who has a talent for rubbing her family up the wrong way – and has already been shortlisted by the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild. Could she be set to add another Oscars statuette to her collection?