The three-time Academy Award nominee could earn her first leading actress nod for her turn as a sexy con woman in David O. Russell’s latest.
“The Artist” Oscar nominee returns in this drama about a mother with secrets that earned her an actress prize at Cannes.
Always excellent, Blanchett is hilarious and heartbreaking as a spoiled wife whose life unravels after her husband is indicted in Woody Allen’s latest.
After winning in 2010 for “The Blind Side,” Bullock could return for her performance as an astronaut lost in space.
Not only does Delpy co-write the film, but she also delivers a brutally honest portrayal of marriage and compromise in part three of the “Before” saga.
As a woman searching for the son she gave up for adoption, Dench is an emotional powerhouse in Stephen Frears’ latest.
The 19-year-old French star of the lesbian love story has earned raves for her daring, raw performance.
Garcia won the actress prize at Berlin for her turn as a free-spirited woman who falls for a naval officer in this Chilean offering.
Gerwig co-wrote the script with director Noah Baumbach and stars in the title role as a young New Yorker looking for direction.
A scene-stealer in supporting roles (“We’re the Millers”), Hahn delivers when placed front-and-center as a woman who takes in a stripper.
Jones stars as Nelly Ternan, the mistress of Charles Dickens, in this story about the secret life of the iconic author.
Larson shines as a young woman working in a foster-care home; both she and this little indie have passionate fans.
Mara is the opposite of Lisbeth Salander as a mother who discovers her ex has broken out of jail.
The beloved TV star is real and relatable as a divorcee who takes a chance on love with an unlikely suitor, played by James Gandolfini.
Nelisse turned 13 while filming this WWII-set drama, but her performance is wise beyond its years.
The three-time Oscar winner delivers an audacious turn as the boozy, bellowing matriarch of a very dysfunctional family.
A previous Oscar winner for both acting and writing, Thompson could three-peat for her turn as prickly “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers.
Winslet is wholly convincing as a lonely single mother who takes in — and falls for — an escaped convict.
Woodley radiates goodness without ever boring us as a high school outcast who falls for a budding alcoholic.
As the best friend who just wants Joaquin Phoenix’s character to be happy, Adams is in her element playing a character who is, in more ways than one, real.
As the sensible doctor who warms to Matthew McConaughey’s AIDS patient, Garner lands one of her best films to date.
As Winnie Mandela, Harris transcends imitation to present the complex, determined woman behind the legend.
Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”
As the forgiving sister of spoiled wife Cate Blanchett, Hawkins is lovable as we root for her to find the right guy.
Though she is never seen on screen, Johansson’s chemistry with Joaquin Phoenix makes this offbeat romance work.
Last year’s lead actress winner dons ’70s garb to play the unhappy wife of Christian Bale’s con man.
The Oscar winner for “The Fighter” returns to the screen as another tough mother figure in this twisty thriller.
In an ensemble full of fantastic ladies, Martindale stands out as Meryl Streep’s formidable, funny sister.
Not only is Mulligan charming as the love interest of the title character in the Coen brothers’ latest, but her singing voice is also lovely.
In her film debut, Nyong’o stuns as the salve Patsey, who endures the unwanted affections of her owner.
Paulson is a steely, commanding presence as the wife of a plantation owner openly in love with one his slaves.
It’s not easy to go toe-to-toe with Meryl Streep, but as her prodigal daughter, Roberts more than holds her own.
Though the film is about two brothers, Saldana’s sweet schoolteacher, the ex-girlfriend of Christian Bale, provides its beating heart.
A recent Oscar winner for “The Help,” Spencer shows her range as the loving but no-nonsense mother of Oscar Grant.
The veteran character actress steals scenes as the feisty, funny wife to Bruce Dern’s stoic character.
The always excellent Watson is tough but tender as the adoptive mother of a young girl in WWII-era Berlin.
We know Wiig can do broad comedy, but her subtle turn as Mitty’s dream girl is an understated treat.
Oprah Winfrey, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”
Last nominated in 1985 for her film debut in “The Color Purple,” Winfrey is a force to be reckoned with as the loving, strong wife of the title character.