Why she’ll win: As a moral compass at the film’s center, the role could be the one that voters can relate to the most. Stuck between Meryl Streep’s accusations and Philip Seymour Hoffman’s denial, she navigates the middle ground perfectly. Also, some might think she was unfairly snubbed last year for Disney’s “Enchanted” and this could make up for it.
Maybe not: It’s hard to stand out from the pack when Streep is chewing the scenery right next to you, and playing a character that’s meant to be mousy isn’t exactly a “notice me” magnet.
Critical quote: “Adams excels as the naive nun who tries to keep her balance on shifting moral ground,” says Peter Travers of Rolling Stone.