Part of this is due to limited stand out lead roles for women, the other part is perhaps those lead roles really stand out.
The best actor race seems completely up in the air, and while there is room for surprises in this category as well, once we get an idea of how certain films and roles are perceived, I have a feeling this year will also have a pretty consistent group of women who make the award circuit in a few a months.
In the meantime - let's make guesses.
Tier One - My Current Predicted 5
- Abbie Cornish, Bright Star
- Carey Mulligan, An Education
- Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
- Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
- Hilary Swank, Amelia
Tier Two - In My Mind Easy Contenders
- Shohreh Aghdashloo, The Stoning of Soraya M
- Marion Cotillard, Nine
- Michelle Monaghan, Trucker
- Saoirse Ronan, The Lovely Bones
- Audrey Tautou, Coco Before Chanel
Tier Three - Probably Not, But Who Knows
- Penélope Cruz, Broken Embraces
- Michelle Pfeiffer, Chéri
- Tilda Swinton, Julia
- Charlize Theron, The Burning Plain
- Emily Watson, Within the Whirlwind
(pictured top to bottom: Gabourey Sidibe in Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, Carey Mulligan in An Education, Shohreh Aghdashloo in The Stoning of Soraya M, and Penélope Cruz in Broken Embraces)