What are the Oscar odds: The Best Actress nominees
Alfred Hitchcock had once famously called actors 'cattle.' Being far kinder (yet perhaps even more exploitative) this Oscar season, we look on them as racehorses.
Here, then, is the form-book for the Best Actress race: giving you the odds on the nods, telling you who's on her way to win, and who might just be left behind. Starting with most-likely and moving towards least-likely, here are our horses:
5/1 Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady
This is a whopping 17th nomination for the astonishing Ms Streep, and the chances are looking better than ever.
Her chameleonic performance as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady has received deafening applause from all quarters, and the Academy loves giving out awards for biopics. The only reason she isn't a surefire lock for the award is the fact that the film itself hasn't been well-received, despite the raves she's earned.
Image: Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady
5/1 Viola Davis in The Help
One of the best reviewed films of the year, The Help is the sort of racially 'safe' film the Academy loves, and yet sees itself shunted out of contention in most of the major categories.
It is then the Best Actress prize which might go its way, and while this seems consolatory, it must be said that Viola Davis was quite smashing as the middle-aged maid in Tate Taylor's film.
Image: Viola Davis in The Help
3/1 Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn
The reviews are nearly unanimous.
Everyone agrees that Williams isn't quite Marilyn, that she can't mimic the icon as well or strike a smiling pose with as much oomph but also, in the same breath, that she does very well indeed in the part, more than adequately shouldering this ambitious film about Monroe's fling with an assistant director during the filming of The Prince And The Showgirl.
Image: Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn
1/4 Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Unrecognisable from her brief turn in The Social Network, young Ms Mara delivers a tour de force performance in David Fincher's adaptation of Steig Larsson's global bestseller.
Her Lisbeth Salander is edgy-cool, sure, but also vulnerable and real. It is an extreme character, one of the more memorable fictional heroines in recent past, and Mara knocks it out of the ballpark.
If the Oscars were entirely meritocratic, she'd have won the award and it is her I support, but the stodgy Academy will probably deem her too young to win.
Image: Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
1/8 Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs
In Rodrigo Garcia's Albert Nobbs, Glenn Close stuns as Nobbs, a woman living as a man in order to find a job.
It is the sort of dedicated performance that earned Hilary Swank an award in Boys Don't Cry, but while Close is a highly respected artist, the film has recieved only middling reviews. And the fact that she looks frighteningly like Robin Mrs Doubtfire Williams in the film's poster does not help her chances.
Image: Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs