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Latest Oscar predictions: Lead actress

October 20, 2010 |  9:23 am

Two contenders seem to be out front to win the Oscar for lead actress: Annette Bening ("The Kids Are All Right") and Natalie Portman ("Black Swan"). Both rivals have the Cool Factor and significant camps rooting for them to win.

Oscars best actressBening's performance as a lesbian momma is low-key compared with her flamboyant turns in the films that earned her past nominations: "The Grifters," "American Beauty" and "Being Julia." Ordinarily, this role wouldn't reap an Oscar bid, but Bening is so overdue to win that she could ride the same wave that resulted in victory for previous overdue veterans such as Helen Mirren ("The Queen"), Susan Sarandon ("Dead Man Walking") and Shirley MacLaine ("Terms of Endearment").

Also in Bening's favor: playing gay. That worked for Sean Penn ("Milk") and Tom Hanks ("Philadelphia").

However, the old academy boys usually love to crown ingenues, especially if they're sexy (we call it the Babe Factor) like recent champs Charlize Theron ("Monster") and Halle Berry ("Monster's Ball"). Natalie Portman is truly hot in "Black Swan" — with steamy girl-on-girl and masturbation scenes. Portman is not unknown to Oscar voters, who gave her a nomination in the supporting actress race of 2004 ("Closer").

Also see our handicapping of the Oscar races for lead actor and best picture.

BEST LEAD ACTRESS
(Front-runners)
Annette Bening, "The Kids Are All Right"
Nicole Kidman, "Rabbit Hole"
Lesley Manville, "Another Year"
Jennifer Lawrence, "Winter’s Bone"
Natalie Portman, "Black Swan"
Michelle Williams, "Blue Valentine"

(Possible)
Anne Hathaway, "Love and Other Drugs"
Sally Hawkins, "Made in Dagenham"
Diane Lane, "Secretariat"
Julianne Moore, "The Kids Are All Right"
Carey Mulligan, "Never Let Me Go"
Gwyneth Paltrow, "Country Strong"
Hilary Swank, "Conviction"
Naomi Watts, "Fair Game"
Reese Witherspoon, "How Do You Know"

Left photo: Natalie Portman in "Black Swan." Credit: Fox Searchlight

Right photo: Annette Bening in "The Kids Are All Right." Credit: Focus Features

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Comments

All I hope is that Nicole Kidman gets her long overdue third nomination.

I’m sorry for saying this,but Natalie Portman is a true “*****” just like her friend Julia Roberts,I have seen her 3 times in the last 7 years and in each of them she never give the chance to the fans to have a picture with her,she “only” give some “autographs” to “some fans” and only in “HER” movie premieres,”Not”in other premieres,and when she is in the street or in the airport ,she always look down,just like her fellow “The Queen” Julia Roberts.This is really bad,can you imagine what would happen if she win the Oscar?,Not even Tom Cruise,Will Smith or Meryl Streep are like that;I have meet them many times over the years.I really hope that Natalie change that “Attitude” for all her true fans, and I post this comments, not to degrading or offense Natalie,I love Natalie,but she have to give a little more respect to the fans,specially to little kids.

Doesn't Julianne Moore have a larger part than Annette Bening in TKAA?? And why is Julianne Moore so low and Nicole Kidman this high?! Moore, nominated for her sheer brilliance in Far From Heaven, lost to Kidman who gave a far lesser performance in The Hours, 8 years ago. Hopefully now it will not be Kidman who even takes the nomination place from Moore.

sarandon maclaine and mirren gave great performances

and don't say she'll win just because she's owed. winslet won on her 6th nomination and julianne moore has 4 noms and no oscars.

I really don't get why EVERYONE thinks Bening is a frontrunner. Will she be nominated? Sure. But the performance isn't worthy of a win.

I'm shocked that Tilda Swinton is not even mentioned for "I Am Love". I know that it is an Italian language film, but the reviews were through the roof, she's a past winner, and she's STUNNING in this great movie.

I have just seen the movie "Sarah's key" by G Paquet-Brenner in France which is adapted from the best-seller written by Tatiana de Rosnay. In my opinion, Kristin Scott Thomas deserves a price for that beautiful performance and she could possibly be nominated for a Golden Globe if the film is a success in your country. An Oscar bid ? Maybe, Kristin had been snubbed so much time in the past ...

The most likely nominees at this point:

-Anette Bening 'The Kids Are Al Right'
-Jennifer Lawrence 'Winter's Bone'
-Lesley Manville 'Another Year'
-Gwyneth Paltrow - 'Country Strong'
-Natalie Portman - 'Black Swan'

I think Michelle Williams has a better chance at winning than Natalie Portman. You know what brilliant, low key performance should get a nom: Catherine Keener in Please Give.

I think Bening should drop down to supporting. If she did she would be the clear winner. Go Natalie!


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