Nicole Kidman, The Hours

EW’s early look at Best Actress contenders

A nomination for ”The Hours”’ Meryl Streep would be her 13th, the most for any actor — male or female — ever. Her ”Hours” costar Nicole Kidman (pictured), unrecognizable as Virginia Woolf, could score a second straight nod after making the list for last year’s ”Moulin Rouge.” And her other ”Hours” costar, Julianne Moore, has already won the best-actress award at the Venice film festival for ”Far From Heaven.” As murderess Roxie Hart in ”Chicago,” Renee Zellweger, up for 2001’s ”Bridget Jones’s Diary,” tries for her second nod in a row, while Emily Watson shoots for three with ”Punch-Drunk Love,” and Sigourney Weaver aims for No. 4 with ”The Guys.” Diane Lane could earn her first nomination for last summer’s ”Unfaithful,” but she’ll have to fend off fresher first-time candidates like ”White Oleander”’s Alison Lohman, ”Secretary”’s Maggie Gyllenhaal, and ”Frida”’s Salma Hayek.

Two Emmy winners — Edie Falco and Jennifer Aniston — are also in the running for their notable big-screen turns in ”Sunshine State” and ”The Good Girl,” respectively. And screenwriter-star Nia Vardalos could score her first two nominations for the surprise smash ”My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”