Big Hollywood roles for women were hard to come by this year. Most of the actresses considered top contenders are from small independent films '- the smaller the film, the more likely the nominee. Similarly, the less American the film, the more likely the nominee. Would big mainstream stars like Julia Roberts and Tea Leoni only make the list to add some celebrity wattage, or do they deserve to be there?
The likeliest five: Laura Linney (P.S.), Catalina Sandino Moreno (Maria Full of Grace), Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake), Audrey Tatou (A Very Long Engagement), Zhang Ziyi (House of Flying Daggers)
Other top contenders: Kim Basinger (The Door in the Floor), Annette Bening (Being Julia), Tea Leoni (Spanglish), Julia Roberts (Closer), Kate Winslet (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
Last year's winner: Charlize Theron (Monster)