Meryl Streep, Nicolas Cage, ...

Our way early look at Best Supporting Actress contenders

Put simply, if you’re in ”The Hours,” you’re a potential candidate in this category. For starters, Julianne Moore has a juicy role as depressed housewife Laura Brown. Three of her ”Hours” costars could also compete, albeit for different projects: Meryl Streep as author Susan Orlean in ”Adaptation” (pictured), Toni Collette as Hugh Grant’s suicidal semifriend in ”About a Boy,” and Miranda Richardson for her multiple roles in ”Spider.” Past winners who could be up for the statuette include Kathy Bates as one of ”About Schmidt”’s in-laws (her on-screen daughter-in-law Hope Davis might compete as well), ”Insomnia” cop Hilary Swank, and acerbic ”Moonlight Mile” mom Susan Sarandon.

Michelle Pfeiffer could earn her fourth nod for ”White Oleander.” ”Chicago” costars Catherine Zeta-Jones and Queen Latifah might hear their names called for the first time, as could ”Gangs of New York”’s Cameron Diaz, ”Far From Heaven” gossip Patricia Clarkson, ”Tadpole” cradle robber Bebe Neuwirth, and two lovably domineering movie moms, ”Kissing Jessica Stein”’s Tovah Feldshuh and ”My Big Fat Greek Wedding”’s Lainie Kazan.