Oscar Watch: Supporting actress

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Two complete newcomers to the Oscar scene could compete with a host of familiar faces in this year's supporting actress race.

Rosemarie DeWitt, taking the title role in "Rachel Getting Married"; and Viola Davis, for her role as the mother of a possibly abused kid in "Doubt," have been generating early buzz.

But Davis could find herself neck and neck with Amy Adams, who has drawn some of her finest reviews for her role as a wide-eyed nun in that film. And DeWitt could also find herself competing with Debra Winger, returning to the screen in "Rachel" after a years-long absence.

Both look likely to be joined by previous nominees Kathy Bates ("Revolutionary Road") and Penelope Cruz, giving a marvelously vitriolic performance as Bardem's crazed ex-wife in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."

A prior winner, Emma Thompson, could also contend for "Brideshead Revisited," though insiders believe her better shot may be in the lead category for "Last Chance Harvey." Fellow Brit Kate Winslet will also contend with "The Reader."

Beyond these, the race is open. Queen Latifah, Sophie Okonedo and Jennifer Hudson could be nominated for "Secret Life of Bees," and it's hard to say whether the recent tragedy in Hudson's private life will help her or not.
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