Oscar 2013 Predictions Best Actress: Judi Dench, Anne Hathaway, Laura Linney, Maggie Smith
[See previous post: "Oscar 2013 Predictions Best Actress: Marion Cotillard and (Mostly) Other Europeans."] Besides the aforementioned Quvenzhané Wallis, other Oscar 2013 Best Actress possibilities include the following: Five-time Oscar nominee and one-time winner Judi Dench as a recent widow in the surprisingly popular The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel; Anne Hathaway as Selena Kyle aka Catwoman in the blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises; Gotham Award nominee Emayatzy Corinealdi as a woman whose husband is sentenced to jail in Middle of Nowhere; and Mary Elizabeth Winstead for Smashed — as long as Winstead gets lots of year-end critical attention, for Smashed has come and gone all but unnoticed by most everybody else. (Photo: Judi Dench The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.)
A few more: Greta Gerwig in Noah Baumbach's comedy Frances Ha; Laura Linney as U.S. president Franklin Delano Roosevelt's cousin (and possibly lover) Margaret Suckley in Hyde Park on Hudson; and Maggie Smith for Quartet, in which the two-time Oscar winner plays a retired opera singer under the direction of Dustin Hoffman. (This is not to be confused with another "Maggie Smith in Quartet" role; that was back in 1981, under the direction of James Ivory.)
Oscar 2013 dark horses
Less likely bets include Meryl Streep for Hope Springs, which received mixed reviews and moderate box office returns; Michelle Williams for Sarah Polley's Canadian-made Take This Waltz; Barbra Streisand for The Guilt Trip, a film whose buzz has been quite low-key so far; and Elle Fanning, who has earned solid notices for Sally Potter's Ginger & Rosa.
In the "Who Knows?" group are: Amanda Seyfried as porn star Linda Lovelace in Lovelace (in case it does indeed get released in December); Bette Midler in Parental Guidance; Zoe Kazan as a fantasy come true in Ruby Sparks; Gotham Award nominee Melanie Lynskey as a jaded divorcée who finds a new love in Hello, I Must be Going; Halle Berry in a variety of roles in the unusual Cloud Atlas; and Leslie Mann in Judd Apatow's Knocked Up follow-up This is 40.
Little-to-no chance despite major roles: Julia Roberts in Mirror Mirror, Rachel McAdams in The Vow, Kristen Stewart in Snow White and the Huntsman (however, Stewart is a possibility in the Best Supporting Actress category for On the Road), Taylor Schilling in The Lucky One, Reese Witherspoon in This Means War, Blake Lively in Savages, Anna Kendrick in Pitch Perfect, Amy Adams in Trouble with the Curve (though Adams is a Best Supporting Actress possibility for The Master), and Emma Watson for The Perks of Being a Wallflower. [See also: "Robert Pattinson, Clint Eastwood Oscar 2013 Chances."]
Judi Dench The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel photo: Fox Searchlight.