b e s t  a c t r e s s

In stark contrast to the boys' award, Best Actress this year is a pretty open race and all the more interesting for it. Jennifer Lawrence steps out of her hunting boots and into the decidedly fickle waters of mental health and just about gets to the top of the favourites list with the bookies.

The runners:

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Jennifer Lawrence - 4/5

Jessica Chastain - 28/17

Emmanuelle Riva - 10/1

Naomi Watts - 22/1

Quvenzhane Wallis - 50/1

It really is anybody's guess which of the top two will bag this one. Mental health is typically a very unpredictable subject for the Academy (see Tropic Thunder for details) but this may be Lawrence's year. Chastain was superb in Bigelow's gritty hunt movie Zero Dark Thirty but whether the Academy will see that as patriotic or the opposite is hard to say. If we were going to pick a side, we'd probably just fall down on Jennifer's side on the assumption that she wasn't too mental for the Academy. 

Riva is probably the only real outside bet for the Academy, will they want to reward what seems to be the shoe-in for best Foreign Language film with another gong? Or will they play it safe.

The remainder seem unlikely, particularly in the case of 10 year old Wallis. Winning an Oscar at ten would probably take some recovering from (has Anna Paquin ever been the same?).......