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Will the Wrong Saddle Cost 'True Grit' Star an Oscar?

True Grit
Lorey Sebastian/Paramount Pictures

True Grit Oscar odds soar as its box office roars, but EW thinks Hailee Steinfeld's supporting-actress push may actually hurt her chances.

Yes, True Grit is galloping towards $100 million in grosses, and critics are swooning. But as EW's Dave Karger notes, Paramount's supporting actress campaign could conceivably backfire for Steinfeld. She lost a Golden Globe when HFPA moved her to the remarkably strong best actress category.

The HFPA tends not to get Westerns anyway, so maybe that's not a firm Oscar precursor case. But the forced Oscar switcheroos of Keisha Castle-Hughes in 2004's Whale Rider and Kate Winslet in 2009's The Reader could be. And actors tell Karger they're voting for Steinfeld -- as best actress, not supporting. He can see the case for considering her for either, and even the chance she could get the fifth nom for best actress. Michelle Williams makes Karger's sources feel too blue, Julianne Moore has lost all Oscar buzz to slam-dunk nom Annette Bening, and many haven't seen Another Year, which is inexcusable, and bad for Lesley Manville.

And great for Hailee Steinfeld, and the switch was good for Oscar winner Winslet and nom Castle-Hughes. Unless Steinfeld's votes get split between the two categories. Only they don't need to be! "In a letter accompanying their ballots, members of the actors branch are encouraged to vote a performance in both categories if they’re not sure where it belongs," says Karger. "Maybe Steinfeld’s Academy-member fans should do that just to be safe."

But will they?

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