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Best Actress: A rush of last-minute contenders

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The-Last-Station_lI know that when it comes to scoring an Oscar nomination, it helps to be fresh in voters’ minds, but this is a little ridiculous. In the past few weeks, Oscar-qualifying runs were announced for The Last Station, with Helen Mirren, and The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond, starring Bryce Dallas Howard. And now comes word of a one-week release for the festival drama London River, featuring Brenda Blethyn (who gave what I still believe is one of the best performances ever in Secrets & Lies). Clearly these last-minute moves speak to how sparse the Best Actress race is this year—Julie & Julia‘s Meryl Streep, An Education‘s Carey Mulligan, and Precious‘ Gabourey Sidibe are likely in, leaving two slots for the taking. But can any of these 11th-hour entries actually make it into the final five? Off the three, I’d give Mirren the edge; her performance as Leo Tolstoy’s wife, Sophia, is fiery and intense, and she’s got Sony Pictures Classics releasing the film. But with other promising contenders yet to be seen (Nine‘s Marion Cotillard, The Lovely Bones‘ Saoirse Ronan), scoring a nomination as a last-minute contender is definitely going to be an uphill battle.

Image credit: Stephan Rabold