Oscar: Lead actress

Why she’ll win: The Academy loves to see an actor play against type, so the fact that this typically fairy-dusted starlet managed to be so convincing as a reprobate drug addict can’t have escaped notice.

Maybe not: Her willingness to be so unsympathetic, while key to nailing the role, could also alienate voters. And considering her youth, some may see the perf as a promising preview of things to come rather than a full-blown, Oscar-worthy breakout.

Critical quote: “The heroine — not Rachel, but her sister, Kym — is the living, breathing, smoking, joking, snarling, mood-swinging embodiment of narcissistic desperation. That said, the young

actress who plays her, Anne Hathaway, sweeps away all clinical categories with a performance of phenomenal energy and heartbreaking beauty,” says Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal.

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