Jennifer Jason Leigh "The Hateful Eight"
Rooney Mara "Carol"
Rachel McAdams "Spotlight"
Alicia Vikander "The Danish Girl"
Kate Winslet "Steve Jobs"
Other Contenders - Joan Allen "Room", Jane Fonda "Youth", Elizabeth Banks "Love & Mercy", Julie Walters "Brooklyn", Helen Mirren "Trumbo", Kristen Stewart "Clouds of Sils Maria", Diane Ladd "Joy", Isabella Rossellini "Joy", Virginia Madsen "Joy", Olivia Cooke "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl", Marion Cotillard "Macbeth", Rachel Weisz "Youth", Gugu Mbatha Raw "Concussion", Phylicia Rashad "Creed", Laura Linney "Mr. Holmes", Sarah Paulson "Carol", Phyllis Smith "Inside Out", Mindy Kaling "Inside Out", Helena Bonham Carter "Suffragette", Anne-Marie Duff "Suffragette", Meryl Streep "Suffragette", Ellen Page "Freeheld", Rose Byrne "Spy", Alicia Vikander "Ex Machina", Lola Kirke "Mistress America", Melissa Leo "The Big Short", Marisa Tomei "The Big Short", Julianne Nicholson "Black Mass", Cate Blanchett "Cinderella"
Commentary - This race seemed easy the last couple of weeks. There were three locks: Alicia Vikander, Rooney Mara, and Kate Winslet. All their films had been seen, they were good to go. Sight unseen, Jennifer Jason Leigh has been a nice placeholder, and the early footage promises at least an interesting performance. There seemed to be but one slot that was up for grabs. And then the Globes through us a curve ball. They decided (and rightfully so), that Vikander and Mara were not really supporting and bumped them up to lead. I think the studios are going to ignore this and keep barreling forward with their supporting campaigns, and hope to rebound at SAG/BAFTA/BFCA. For now, I am leaving those two here, although this really could open up this race to a lot of other great contenders just below the line. For the fifth spot, I am sticking with Rachel McAdams. Spotlight is a actor's paradise, and I don't think that will be reserved just for the guys. But if the two get moved around, that could lead to another nod for Joan Allen, who is magnificent in Room. It could mean that Elizabeth Banks gets in for a magnanimous year so far, and Love & Mercy feels like a sleeper hit. Jane Fonda is predicted by a lot of folks, but Youth needs to prove it can jive with older voters they way I think it can, and her role is apparently really small. Helen Mirren was great in Woman in Gold (the film was not so great), and Trumbo is another movie about Hollywood, that is another sleeper to watch for. The Joy trio could continue David O. Russell's streak in this category, but let's see the film before we determine which of the three is the real deal. Kristen Stewart, Phylicia Rashad, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne-Marie Duff, Ellen Page, and The Big Short duo should also be in the mix. I would like to add two names that will unfortunately be forgotten come Oscar time. First is Rose Byrne who is now 3 for 3 (Bridesmaids, Neighbors, and now Spy), in great comedic supporting roles. Finally, and certainly not least, is Phyllis Smith as Sadness in Inside Out. I personally created a Voiceover award for my personal film awards because every year there are fantastic performances that deserve their own category and recognition. She steals the show in Inside Out, and the joins a long list of voice performers who deserve recognition.