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Emily Blunt
Pic: “The Devil Wears Prada”
Why: Buying coffee, answering phone calls and dashing around the city running errands for Meryl Streep were only part of what made Emily Blunt part of “Prada’s” success story. Mostly, it was her Brit tough love for Anne Hathaway that got audiences jazzed. Directors have noticed, too, as the half-dozen or so projects she has ahead of her indicate.

Sandra Bullock
Pic: “Infamous”
Why: Bullock was in the very unenviable spot of playing the same character a year after the actress who played her previously was Oscar nominated. Reviews for “Infamous” were generally good, as were they for Bullock, but asking voters to nominate an actress playing a different version of a familiar character is tough sledding. Regardless, it’s nice to see Bullock play characters that have more gravitas than “Miss Congeniality.”

Rose Byrne
Pic: “The Dead Girl”
Why: As the grieving sister who can’t find her way until her sibling’s death is resolved, Byrne has a nice segment in Karen Moncrieff’s “Rashomon”-told tale of suffering and loss. The talented 27-year-old Australian thesp is opening all the right doors, and it only seems a matter of time until she moves from supporting to topline roles.

Shareeka Epps
Pic: “Half Nelson”
Why: As the four boys in HBO’s phenomenal series “The Wire” have proved, playing inner-city schoolkids are a great way to showcase the talents of the younger generation these days — and Epps is more than up to the challenge. Ryan Gosling and she connect in ways that go beyond the three R’s, and with the film doing well at the Indie Spirits, this one’s a possibility.

Sylvia Syms
Pic: “The Queen”
Why: Syms’ turn at the Queen Mum was impressive and regal enough to even make Helen Mirren’s Queen Elizabeth wobbly in the knees. Syms’ character touts the corporate, er, monarchy line when Diana’s death turns into a bit of a national circus and though she wasn’t in all that many scenes, the 72-year-old thesp does matriarchal majesty well.