It's hard to tell exactly where Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Lovely Bones will figure in at this upcoming years Oscar ceremony, especially as the film is yet to be released. In some of the first pictures, you can tell that this film will be interesting. Jackson certainly has a huge challenge in this film in his story-telling and in his production design.
Recently I discussed some of the theological challenges associated with this film, but when it comes to the Oscars I think this films success hinges on it's popularity as well as it's ability to handle the supernatural elements in a way that enhances the story, rather than detracting. The Academy has gone for ghost stories in recent years (The Sixth Sense), but special effects and technical wizardry tends to mean that Actors and Actresses are excluded from the competition. Instead, these films receive technical awards, without a mention to the performances.
Think of Jackson's most recent projects, The Lord of the Rings and King Kong, only a single acting nod amongst the four films, Ian McKellen as Gandolf in The Fellowship of the Rings.
The Lovely Bones has the potential to have some more meaty parts...and with it's character driven plot, with some pretty wide emotional ranges, namely grief, rage, and indifference there is a chance for some acting nods here, although I can't see it as a huge acting powerhouse come awards time.
My ranking of actors from this film who have a chance at an Oscar nomination for a performance are...
(1) Susan Surandon, supporting actress, as Grandma Lynn Susie's Grandma
(2) Stanley Tucci, supporting actor as George Harvey the doll house building neighbor
(3) Mark Whalberg, lead/supporting actor as Jack Salmon, Susie's grieving father
(4) Rachel Weisz, lead/supporting actress as Abigail Salmon, Susie's mother
(5) Saoirse Ronan, lead/supporting actress as Susie
I think other characters like Carolyn Dando (who plays the strange and awkward Ruth), Michael Imperioli (the police investigator), and Rose McIver (Susie's younger sister) have an excellent opportunity to be noticed in their strong roles, but I don't think their name or role is quite big enough to grab the attention.
Of the five actors listed above, all have won or been nominated for Oscars previously with the exception of Tucci, and if they want to award his dark character, this seems like an excellent opportunity for the Academy to recognize a very talented actor.
Similarly, the Academy has proven a love for Susan Surandon and this seems like a perfect role for her that has enough dramatic pull to warrant some attention for a loved member of the Hollywood club.