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Power Women Go Head-to-Head in Lead Actress Oscar Race

The roles in the lead actress category run a wide range, from the precocious 6-year-old Brooklyn Prince in “The Florida Project” to 82-year-old Judi Dench playing the queen (again) in “Victoria & Abdul.” Other powerful women include previous nominees Jessica Chastain as a poker queen in “Molly’s Game,” Kate Winslet as a cheating wife in “Wonder Wheel” and Saoirse Ronan in the beloved coming-of-age tale “Lady Bird.” (At the age of 23, it’s interesting that Ronan could amost play the overdue card; she has two previous nominations and came close to winning with 2016’s “Brooklyn.”) They could battle previous winner Jennifer Lawrence; never underestimate the Academy love for her, even if “mother!” didn’t light up the box office. Other winners: Frances McDormand, delivering a fierce performance as a mother searching for justice in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and, of course, Meryl Streep. No matter that “The Post,” in which Streep plays Washington Post publisher Kay Graham, has yet to screen; she’s still Meryl Streep and the film has Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg to add extra prestige. Along with Prince, new faces to the race could include Margot Robbie, who transofrmed herself to play misundertood ice skater Tonya Harding in “I, Tonya.” Voters love when actors play against type and Robbie brings a real humanity to what could have been a caricature. Of course, they all face tough competition from Sally Hawkins, a previous nominee for “Blue Jasmine,” who was excellent in “Maudie” this year. But it’s “The Shape of Water,” in which she never says a word, that just might find her walking away with the prize.

Top Contenders
Jessica Chastain
“Molly’s Game”

Judi Dench
“Victoria & Abdul”

Sally Hawkins
“The Shape of Water”

Jennifer Lawrence

Frances McDormand
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Brooklynn Prince
“The Florida Project”

Saoirse Ronan
“Lady Bird”

Margot Robbie
“I, Tonya”

Meryl Streep
“The Post”

Kate Winslet
“Wonder Wheel”

Also In Play
Annette Bening
“Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool”

Gal Gadot
“Wonder Woman”

Salma Hayek
“Beatriz at Dinner”

Vicky Krieps
“Phantom Thread”

Diane Kruger
“In the Fade”

Emma Stone
“Battle of the Sexes”

Other Possibilities
Jane Fonda
“Our Souls at Night”

Claire Foy

Isabelle Huppert
“Happy End”

Nicole Kidman
“The Beguiled”

Sally Hawkins

Brie Larson
“The Glass Castle”

Margaret Qualley

Elizabeth Olsen
“Wind River”

Anna Schafer
“Elizabeth Blue”

Emma Watson
“Beauty and the Beast”

Rachel Weisz
“My Cousin Rachel”

Debra Winger
“The Lovers”

Daniela Vega
“A Fantastic Woman”

Zoe Kazan
“The Big Sick”

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