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Salma Hayek (Frida)

Best Actress

2003 wins: None

Oscar pedigree: None

Hayek on playing the title character: “Just the fact that I get to play her from age 16 through 47 is exciting, going through all that she went through in such a unique way. So extravagant was her life, but, at the same time, so human that we can all identify with her.”

What we said: “The pic represents a personal victory for Hayek, whose seven-year struggle to get the picture made against all odds and rivals (including Jennifer Lopez teamed with Francis Ford Coppola and, at one point, Madonna). Bringing a fiery warmth and accessibility to the central role, thesp proves a good match for the artist as she depicts Kahlo’s indomitable will to live, love and paint.” — Deborah Young (Aug. 29)

What they said: “Hayek is a movie sex goddess who here deliberately transforms herself into the image of Kahlo’s shaggier, more unorthodox looks. But her Kahlo is sexy and passionate anyway, full of anguish and courage, life and appetite.” — Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

This could be the night: A win by a Latina in this category could provide the same precedent-setting drama that accompanied Halle Berry’s Oscar last year.

Then comes the rub: This field of actresses is one of the strongest in years and will be tough to crack.

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