Kate Winslet ‘The Reader’

Oscar: Lead actress

Why she’ll win: Winslet has amassed six nominations in the past 13 years (along with two Golden Globes and two SAG kudos), and Academy voters may worry that her lack of an Oscar is starting to become conspicuous. Add to that the boldness of her perf here as a former SS prison guard and another performance this year (in “Revolutionary Road”) that many felt was equally deserving of an award: If any of these five actresses are “due,” it’s Winslet.

Maybe not: Though it received five nominations overall, “The Reader” was hardly universally beloved, and even the actress considered her part a supporting role.

Critical quote: “Winslet supplies a haunting shell to this internally decimated woman, one who can perhaps momentarily escape from her shame through sex but for whom there is no past she can possibly face and no future to anticipate,” says Todd McCarthy of Variety.

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