Oscar Watch: Actress contenders

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Anne Hathaway
Anne Hathaway
"Rachel Getting Married"
Pros: After building her reputation with frothy fare like "The Devil Wears Prada" (2006), Hathaway proved that at 26 she has more depth than anyone thought. Director Jonathan Demme has a long tradition of leading actors to Oscar wins, and this may be another.
Cons: Hathaway's recent tabloid appearances, thanks to the antics of a fraudulent ex-boyfriend, combined with her newness to the Oscar scene, won't help. Nor will the fact that "Rachel" hasn't caught on with audiences at large.
 
Angelina Jolie
"Changeling"
Pros: Jolie was notoriously overlooked for 2007's "A Mighty Heart," and Oscar voters might want to rectify that by rewarding her for a role that pulled out all the emotional stops.
Cons: After "Heart," "Changeling" might seem just a bit too much like another role that angles for an Oscar. And Jolie may be hurt by all the attention paid to that other Clint Eastwood film, "Gran Torino."

Angelina Jolie
 
Melissa Leo
"Frozen River"
Pros: After Leo was shamefully overlooked for exceptional work in "21 Grams" (2003) and "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada" (2005), she has a groundswell of support in the group that matters most, the 1,200-strong actors' branch.
Cons: Leo crashed the list late, after being overlooked by several other awards. And previous history indicates the Oscar rarely goes to a contender who hasn't emerged as a winner before.

Melissa Leo
 

Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
"Doubt"
Pros: She's Meryl Streep.
Cons: She's Meryl Streep.

 

Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet
"The Reader"
Pros: Winslet was destined for this role: She had to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts. But when Nicole Kidman, her replacement, had to drop out and the movie was pushed back, Winslet returned. Call it kismet.
Cons: The Oscar loves Holocaust films. But will they love an SS guard? Plus, Winslet's previous wins for "Reader" at the Globes and SAG Awards have been in the supporting category. She has yet to be tested in lead.
 
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