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Oscar Race for Best Actress Already Overcrowded

It’s only September and the best-actress race is already overloaded with contenders

Women often complain that there aren’t enough good movie roles for actresses, and they’re right.

This year, the meaty roles may not be plentiful, but they’re impressive: It’s only September and the best-actress race is already overloaded with contenders.

The Venice Film Festival, which kicked off Aug. 28, offered two strong possibilities: Sandra Bullock in “Gravity” and Judi Dench in “Philomena,” two very different but very impressive tour de force performances.

In May, Cannes offerings included “Blue is the Warmest Color,” in which Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos starred in the Palme d’Or-winning film, while the fest’s actress prize went to Berenice Bejo in “The Past.” Also winning big praise was “The Immigrant,” with Marion Cotillard. That’s six possibilities already.

Then you can add Cate Blanchett, in “Blue Jasmine,” a performance that’s getting a lot of heat, and several current indie films that feature terrific work by their lead actresses, including Brie Larson in “Short Term 12,” and Shailene Woodley in “The Spectacular Now.”

Venice also screened “Tracks,” in which Mia Wasikowska in onscreen the whole time in a role 180 degrees from recent work like “Stoker” and “Alice in Wonderland.”

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Among the titles to be screened at Toronto, which launches Sept. 5, are “August: Osage County,” with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts; “Devil’s Knot,” with Reese Witherspoon; and “Labor Day,” with Kate Winslet. Those are question-marks until they’re seen, but they sure sound like possibilities.

Toronto also offers other questions, such as “Railway Man,” with Nicole Kidman: Is that a lead or supporting role?

And speaking of Kidman, don’t forget films set for later this year including her “Grace of Monaco”; Naomi Watts as another princess, “Diana”; Emma Thompson in “Saving Mr. Banks”; and a bunch of other possibilities that are likely to pop up.

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