From 8-years-old to 85-years-old, Oscars best actress category runs the gamut representing a youngster just starting out in film – Quvenzhané Wallis – and an octogenarian in Emmanuelle Riva. Both received the first nominations this year.
Wallis stars in Beasts of the Southern Wild. The last person to win an Oscar even remotely close to her was Anna Paquin for The Piano at age 11, but that was in the supporting actress category. As for Riva, she could set a record for winners in this category, having already been made the oldest nominee for her work in Amour.
They face formidable competition. On one side, they have to contend with two rising Hollywood favorites in Jessica Chastain from Zero Dark Thirty and Jennifer Lawrence from Silver Linings Playbook. The wildcard will be Naomi Watts. The fact is, however, no one on this list owns a gold statuette heightening the drama for Oscar night.
Jessica Chastain in ‘Zero Dark Thirty’
Jessica Chastain stars as a CIA operative whose obsession with Sept. 11 and the mastermind behind the bombings at the World Trade Center, Osama bin Laden, becomes an obsession. She fights superiors, red tape and even her will to go on in Zero Dark Thirty directed by Katheryn Bigelow.
Jennifer Lawrence in ‘Silver Linings Playbook’
Jennifer Lawrence portrays a young widow searching for her way in life and finds it in an unexpected way with an unexpected person, a former teacher (Bradley Cooper) who recently was released from a mental institution. Together they find their way in this dramedy directed by David O. Russell.
Emmanuelle Riva in ‘Amour’
In Amour Emmanuelle Riva portrays a woman who along with her husband is ready to face the prospect of death in this French drama that has proven to be a dark horse candidate in every category for which it’s been nominated.
Quvenzhané Wallis in Southern Beasts of the Wild
Quvenzhané Wallis possesses an electric smile that lights the way in a dark tale of a little girl living hard life with her father in this tale of an isolated bayou facing a fight for survival in Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Naomi Watts in ‘The Impossible’
Naomi Watts stars as a mother whose family is swept away in a typhoon while on vacation in the film The Impossible. It’s Watts’ second Oscar nomination.