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This year’s film acting contenders won’t be easy to whittle

One thing that you can count on in this year’s film awards competish is that some great acting performances will be snubbed.

Five is the magic number for acting noms, but already, many more than five have reason to think they’re deserving in lead actor and lead actress.

In actor, you already have at least the following dozen names to consider:

— Ben Affleck, “Argo”
— Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”
— Matt Damon, “Promised Land”
— Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
— Jamie Foxx, “Django Unchained”
— Tom Hanks, “Cloud Atlas”
— John Hawkes, “The Sessions”
— Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”
— Bill Murray, “Hyde Park on Hudson”
— Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”
— Jean-Louis Trintangant, “Amour”
— Denzel Washington, “Flight”

That’s an incomplete list by design, because we’re not at the point to be eliminating people, whether it’s performers like Christian Bale (“The Dark Knight”) or Michael Shannon, whose dominant performance in “The Iceman” has to be in the conversation if whoever acquires the film sets it for release this year.

There’s chatter that the lead actress field is less top-heavy, but it sure didn’t take me long to find a dozen options just to start the conversation. Among others:

Dowd— Halle Berry, “Cloud Atlas”
— Marion Cotillard, “Rust and Bone”
— Judi Dench, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”
— Ann Dowd, “Compliance”
— Greta Gerwig, “Frances Ha”
— Keira Knightley, “Anna Karenina”
— Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”
— Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”
— Meryl Streep, “Hope Springs”
— Quvenzhane Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
— Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”
— Michelle Williams, “Take This Waltz”

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