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Oscar lead actress

Winslet's 'Reader' twist upends predictablilty

Just when the Oscar races threaten to become predictable, something like this happens.

While Kate Winslet’s nomination for lead actress in “Revolutionary Road” was considered likely by many — she had just won at the Golden Globes — it didn’t turn out that way. Yes, she earned a nom in the category, but it was attached to “The Reader” instead.

Enthusiasm for “The Reader” has been building, and “Revolutionary Road” wasn’t the critical hit many thought it would be, so the switcheroo may not be all that surprising. Winslet won a Golden Globe for “The Reader” in the supporting category, and the step-up emphasizes that no matter how a thesp or studio may want to campaign for a particular category, Academy voters will place nominees where they see fit.

Of the five lead actress noms, Melissa Leo’s inclusion may be the most surprising, if only because her film, “Frozen River,” was released way back in August, and the pic is very small in scope and box office (slightly more than $2 million). However, she earned the Spotlight Award from the National Board of

Review and received a SAG Awards nomination, so her performance was certainly noticed on the kudos circuit.

Anne Hathaway’s turn in Jonathan Demme’s “Rachel

Getting Married” received praise beginning at the Toronto Film Festival. The National Board of Review and Broadcast Film Critics each gave her actress honors, and she was nominated by the SAG and Spirit awards. Hathaway also earned a Globe nom.

Angelina Jolie received a slew of nominations for Clint Eastwood’s “Changeling” from various orgs — SAG, BAFTA, Broadcast Film Critics, Golden Globes — but has yet to take home a statuette except from the Satellite Awards. Similarly, Meryl Streep (as a nun who follows her instinct in “Doubt”) didn’t earn many pre-Oscar victories until late January, when a victory at the SAG Awards put her back in the spotlight.

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