By Bill Wine
KYW Newsradio 1060

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The envelopes, please!

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Yep, it’s almost time for host Seth MacFarlane to take the stage of the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles and kick off the 85th edition of the Academy Awards, which he will do at 8:30pm this Sunday evening.

So, it must therefore be time for us to handicap the Oscar races, beginning with the ten female actors vying for those cherished golden statuettes.  Who is likely to win the Oscars for best supporting actress and best actress?


In the “Best Supporting Actress” category, Australian actress Jacki Weaver, as a concerned and devoted mother, gives Silver Linings Playbook the unusual distinction of having a nominee in each of the four acting categories, but has no chance to win the prize.

Former Oscar winner Helen Hunt, for her compassionate sex surrogate in The Sessions (who would get my vote if I had one), and four-time nominee Amy Adams, for her supportive wife in The Master, are highly regarded but similarly have scant chance to finish on top this time out.

Two-time Oscar winner Sally Field, on the other hand, is certainly in the running for her fragile and complex Mary Todd Lincoln in Lincoln.

But it would appear that the unstoppable winner is Anne Hathaway, mostly on the strength of one of the most emotionally impactful musical numbers in the history of the movies, “I Dreamed a Dream.”   And she should take home the Oscar for her role as the mortally ill prostitute, Fantine, in Les Misérables.

(Anne Hathaway stars as Fantine in the latest screen version of Victor Hugo's classic.)

(Anne Hathaway stars as Fantine in the latest screen version of Victor Hugo’s classic.)

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The “Best Actress” category includes two record-setters and features no previous winners.

Neither 85-year-old French actress Emanuelle Riva (who turns 86 on Oscar day), for her ailing wife in Amour, nor nine-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis for her tough little survivor, Hushpuppy, in Beasts of the Southern Wild, stands much of a chance of winning, but they have the distinction of being the oldest and youngest best actress Oscar nominees in Academy Awards history.

Naomi Watts, with her second nomination for her injured and desperate mother in The Impossible, has a slightly better shot at pulling an upset, but it remains quite improbable.

Jessica Chastain, on the other hand, for whom this is also a second nomination, does have a chance to snare the award for her performance as the driven CIA agent on the trail of Osama bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty.

But the Oscar is likely to go to frontrunner and second-time nominee Jennifer Lawrence (yes, J. Law will best J. Cha).  And my theoretical vote would go to her as well, for her remarkably winning turn as an emotionally wounded but vibrant young widow in Silver Linings Playbook.

In other words, yes, justice will be served.

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