Now that we've done some early predicting for this year's Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, let's move on to some of the other big categories. First up: Best Actress. In a year that has been disproportionately in favor of big performances from the guys, this category is anyone's game at this point. That said, let's look at the five performances we think will get Oscar's attention come January.
The Little Lady: At all of 22, Jennifer Lawrence is likely to soon receive her second nomination of her short career. Previously up for the dark, serious Winter's Bone, this time around she's all but a shoo-in for her sparky, buoyant work in David O. Russell's smarter-than-its-genre crowd-pleaser Silver Linings Playbook. Hers perhaps isn't the most intense of roles — she's a romantic comedy foil with, yes, a few psychological issues of her own — but she plays it so charmingly that everyone's falling all over themselves to put her into the Oscar race. The really crazy thing is that she could actually win.
The Littler Lady: Like Keisha Castle-Hughes before her, Beasts of the Southern Wild star Quvenzhané Wallis will likely be recognized for being a child who somehow understood the dreamy but organic world of a movie all about nature and beautiful things. Castle-Hughes was about twelve when all of her Whale Rider Oscar mania happened, whereas Wallis, now a fourth grader, was only five years old when she was cast. The Academy loves this kind of a story, and has been known to actually give the award to kids in the past. But that's usually for Best Supporting Actress. Still, Wallis has been a favorite since she was first glimpsed at Sundance last January, and a Best Actress roster without her tricky name on it would be surprising.