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Jennifer Lawrence or Jessica Chastain? New York Film Critics Awards Best Actress Predictions

Jennifer Lawrence The Hunger Games Best ActressJennifer Lawrence or Jessica Chastain? Best Actress prediction for the New York Film Critics Awards 2012

[See previous article: "Joaquin Phoenix or Daniel Day-Lewis? New York Critics Awards' Best Actor Predictions."] This awards season, the Best Actress category remains wide open. There are several contenders, but no clear favorite. As mentioned in my previous article, the time when the New York Film Critics Circle dared to pick truly offbeat choices (for a U.S.-based organization, that is) seems to be long gone in most categories. In the last three decades or so, only quite sporadically has the NYFCC strayed from honoring what amounts to mainstream – or at least "mainstream-friendly" – U.S. fare. (Image: Jennifer Lawrence The Hunger Games.) [List of New York Film Critics 2012 winners.]

Also as mentioned in my previous post, Amour's Best Actress European Film Award winner Emmanuelle Riva has the disadvantage of starring in a non-English-language movie. That in itself makes her a long shot for the New York Film Critics Awards. The same goes for potential Oscar contender Marion Cotillard for Jacques Audiard's French-Belgian drama Rust and Bone. Who else then?

Quvenzhané Wallis is certainly a possibility for Beasts of the Southern Wild, and so are Zero Dark Thirty's Jessica Chastain (last year's NYFCC Best Supporting Actress winner) and Silver Linings Playbook and The Hunger Games' Jennifer Lawrence. Somewhat less so are Naomi Watts for The Impossible, Helen Mirren for Hitchcock, Keira Knightley for Anna Karenina, and, following her Gotham Award win (as Breakthrough Performer) and Spirit Award nomination, Emayatzy Corinealdi for Middle of Nowhere.

Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence

I'm betting on Jennifer Lawrence for the simple fact that she has two well-received performances in two well-received – and radically different – movies. (There's a third one, House at the End of the Street, but that one is out of the running.) The fact that Lawrence has The Weinstein Company plugging one of her movies (The Silver Linings Playbook), surely doesn't hurt, either. Note: The Weinstein Company is also the distributor of my NYFCC Best Actor prediction, The Master's Joaquin Phoenix.

Less likely but certainly not impossible contenders for the New York Film Critics' Best Actress Award (assuming all those movies have had/will have New York releases in 2012) include the following: 2000 NYFCC winner Laura Linney for Hyde Park on the Hudson, Mary Elizabeth Winstead for Smashed, Judi Dench for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Michelle Williams for Take This Waltz, Melanie Lynskey for Hello, I Must be Going, Halle Berry for Cloud Atlas, Meryl Streep for Hope Springs, and Maggie Smith for Quartet.

["New York Film Critics Awards' Best Actress Predictions: Jessica Chastain or Jennifer Lawrence?" continues on the next page. See link below.]

Jennifer Lawrence The Hunger Games photo: Lionsgate.

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