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Lead actress perfs worthy of attention

Eye on the Oscars: The Actress - Lead Actresses in the Mix

Olivia Colman

This small Brit gem from first-time director Paddy Considine features bravura perfs from Colman, as an emotionally and physically abused woman trying to find a ray of sunshine in an all-too-bleak life, and Peter Mullan, who searches for redemption with the help of Colman.

Kirsten Dunst

Under director Lars von Trier, Dunst won the actress award at the Cannes Film Fest last May. It’s a very deliberate pic that, like many works from von Trier, will divide auds, but Dunst delivers an introspective perf that’s far different from any previous role she’s taken on before.

Popular on Variety

Felicity Jones
“Like Crazy”

One of the breakout stars this year, Jones espouses just the right amount of emotional baggage in her on-again, off-again romance with onscreen co-star Anton Yelchin. Based on her work here, this Brit clearly has a great future ahead.

Tilda Swinton
“We Need to Talk About Kevin”

Swinton buries herself into characters like few others and here, as the mother of a boy who goes on a killing spree, she tries to grapple with the horror her offspring has unleashed. Having already won an Oscar for “Michael Clayton,” Swinton has the Acad’s deep admiration.

Mia Wasikowska
“Jane Eyre”

Wasikowska should get an Oscar nom someday, it’s essentially a matter of when. The 22-year-old’s “Eyre”-opening performance illustrates why: her range within that film, let alone between “Eyre” and something like last year’s “The Kids Are All Right,” raises only the question of “What can’t she do?”

Michelle Yeoh
“The Lady”

A worthwhile biopic that examines the rise of Burma’s democratic soul, activist Aung San Suu Kyi, “The Lady” gives Yeoh a vehicle to strut her talents. Known to many U.S. auds for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” Yeoh proves she deserves more topline material.

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