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by Peter Knegt
February 17, 2012 4:12 PM
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2012 Oscar Predictions: Best Actress

Viola Davis in The Help
Indiewire will provide regular updates of our predictions for the 84th Academy Award winners through February 26th, when the winners are announced.

While Meryl Streep is probably closer to a win here than she has been in a good decade (or two), it seems unlikely that she'll beat Viola Davis. The two are pretty evenly split when it comes to precursors: Davis took home the SAG Award and the Critics Choice, while Streep took the BAFTA and the Golden Globe. But it definitely seems like Davis has the stronger support among Academy voters for her performance in "The Help," which could make her only the second African-American to win in this category (after Halle Berry). Michelle Williams has a minimal chance of shocking, while Rooney Mara and Glenn Close essentially have no chance whatsoever.

Best actress predictions below. Check out all predictions in all the categories here.

The Nominees:
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Rooney Mara, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

The Predicted Winner: Viola Davis, The Help
The Possible Spoiler: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Shoulda Been Here: Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin


  • Pathum | February 26, 2013 12:04 AMReply

    I wish you I thought you get this throphy. I realy like your acting & Iwish you all the best!

  • Helmer | March 2, 2012 11:20 PMReply

    It's unbelievable how many comments of 320 were written by illiterates with poor grammar, spelling, punctuation, critical thinking. etc. Ramona among many others are the jokes!!!
    I hope my point is made. Bless the Beasts and the Children.

  • Ramona | February 27, 2012 7:47 AMReply

    I'm just sick of Meryl Streep didn't see the movie don't care. I wanted either Viola Davis to win cause I loved the help or Michelle Williams. I mean come on the old crocodile got nominated for a golden globe for freaking Momma Mia two years ago??? What a Joke !

  • Spanishfan | March 1, 2012 1:20 PM

    You should see "The Iron Lady" and you will see one of the best performances ever onscreen (that ancient demented part were simply incredible). But it's your lost if you don't want to.

  • Mark | February 27, 2012 12:53 AMReply

    Whatever. This win was ridiculous. All due respect to Ms. Streep, who is a great actress, this was not her best role. The other nominees were stronger. Just proves how whacked in the head the Academy members are.

  • Nicholas Emery | February 26, 2012 10:50 PMReply

    What a tough choice. Yes, the front runners are Ms. Streep and Ms. Davis, however Glenn Close was superb in Albert Nobbs.

    Still, my money is on Meryl.....

  • Cassandra | February 26, 2012 6:41 PMReply

    The only reason viola would win is if the academy decided to give out awards based on race or political affiliation (once again). They want the show be in the papers therefore, give the best actress award to a black or even better, a black WOMEN who played in a movie the was all about viewing blacks as nothing more than "the help". No one takes these shows seriously and they shouldn't start tonight.

  • Cassandra | February 26, 2012 6:39 PMReply

    The only reason viola would win is if the academy decided to give out award based on race or political accounting (once again). They want the show be in the papers therefore, give the best actress award to a black or even better, a black WOMEN who played in a movie the was all about viewing blacks as nothing more than "the help". No one takes these shows seriously and they shouldn't start tonight.

  • Chris | February 26, 2012 6:30 PMReply

    Rooney Mara - An incredibly challenging role and the character is a tremenous stretch for her. Thought her performance for this difficult role was flawless. She won't get it because she's new, young and her character is not endearing - people want to be made to like their characters. Rooney's character was too complex for the average movie viewer. HOPE THERE'S AN UPSET & ROONEY WINS. Kind of like the year Charlize Theron won for the film "Monster". There is no way anyone else should have won that year, but her character was anything but desireable and was also extremely complex. Rooney did an equally excellent job. Nobody else nominated even comes close, although some were very good. Bravo for Rooney!

  • Brian | May 2, 2012 1:47 AM

    Chris hit the nail on the head. Mara should have won. She is the "Pulp Fiction" of 2012. Too complex for the average viewer. I'm 54 years old and and consider myself pretty conservative. Her character was so perverse, bizzare, and downright plain screwed up, but by the end of the movie, she completely won me over and had me rooting for her. That was an extremely tough and difficult role to play, and she nailed it. In the meantime, as far as Streep's character, there are certain roles that are easy to play. It is easy to play the role of a gay person, an old person, a mentally disabled person, and a jerk. Anybody can play these characters, but to pull off what Mara did with her character is a tough act to follow. The Oscars are like most everything else these days, Politics as usual.

  • Andrew | February 26, 2012 4:42 PMReply

    Meryl Streep has given the performance of her career, what more can she give than this? She should win. If she doesn't then I can only assume the votes were made to have the category less predictable.

  • spanishfan | March 1, 2012 1:23 PM

    It's very very difficult to chose what Streep's performance is the best. But my personal favourite is this one. What she has done this year is an art work that surprised me a lot.

  • Mark | February 27, 2012 12:54 AM

    The "performance of her career"???? HARDLY. That was "Sophie's Choice". Come on. To call "The Iron Lady" that is a tremendous STRETCH. She was better in "The Devil Wears Prada"!

  • one love | February 26, 2012 3:43 PMReply

    Hey!!! Don't any of you think that maybe there will be a tie for best Actress. I think both Davis and Streep should win. Like 1968 when Barbra and Katharine both receive the Academy Award for best Actress................................

  • jim | February 25, 2012 11:59 PMReply

    STREEP's performance was riveting! There were moments in that movie that I couldn't separate Streep from Thatcher anymore. The detailed shaking of her hands... the intensity of the eyes... the tension on the lips. These are what made the performance so credible. I hope Meryl wins. Though I like The Help, it was really not Davis' performance alone that made it really good. The acting brilliance was shared by Spencer and Davis. In Iron Lady, no one could outshine Streep in any scene. Except the teacup at the end of the movie.

  • Walt | February 25, 2012 2:37 PMReply

    Lead toward Viola Davis with a very, very, very close second to Michelle Williams.

  • remlap48 | February 25, 2012 1:04 PMReply

    This has to be the tightest category of em all. However, If I were Joe (Academy) voter, I'd have to go with Michelle Williams with a close 2nd going to Glen Close.

  • MSfan | February 25, 2012 8:36 AMReply

    I have finally accepted the fact that the next academy award Meryl Streep will win is a Lifetime Achievement Award, it really doesn't matter how many exceptional performances she delivers year after year, there will always be 'someone who hasn't won before and deserves it more'. Can you honestly tell me there's an actress who could have pulled off Margaret Thatcher?, and still the Oscar is going to Viola. It's like the academy looks at her work as if it's done by Meryl Streep and not an actress.

  • Ehefsfasfsfsfafasffaa | February 25, 2012 7:01 AMReply

    This year's is my least favourite Best Actress lineup since 2008. Not a single performance I care about.

  • Nina Persson | February 24, 2012 11:35 PMReply

    I saw Iron Lady. I saw Help and finally My week with Marilyn. No Doubt. I Prefer 100 % Michelle Williams and My Week With Marilyn. Forget all about an Oscar to Meryl Streep (Out Of Africa, Kramer vs. Kramer, Deer Hunter and Silkwood) Mrs. Streep is over the hill. Sorry about that! I can´t see an Oscar to Viola Davis (Disney, Disney and Disney). Its only a supp. role - so all the way to the Oscar Night, it must be pretty baby doll and the best actress in the US for the last 6-8 years mrs. Michelle Williams and of course Marilyn Monroe. No matter what. Maybe also best award supp. to Kenneth Branagh (Sir Lawrence Olivier) or maybe Christopher Plummer (!). That´s folks! Happy monday to all the people in the Kodak Theater! And especially to Michelle Williams....

  • anastacia | March 2, 2012 3:37 AM

    Age is irrelevant with artists or creative people. Mozart started at 5 as a composer. Plummer got is first oscar at 82. If you're good, you are good. Sadly (for you), Meryl is likely to get his 4th oscar before she retires. I also have a feeling that the Academy will award her a 5th oscar before she passes on just to honor her by offsetting Hepburn's 4 oscars.

  • Scott | February 24, 2012 11:11 PMReply

    MERYL STREEP ALL THE WAY!!!!! She is my idol I adore her and she there are no words to describe how unbelievably phenomenal she was in the Iron Lady! I loved Viola Davis in the Help but I think Meryl Streep has a better chance cause she played a British leader. Colin Firth won last year for playing Prince Albert/King George VI and Dame Helen Mirren won for playing Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen. Not only did Meryl Streep play Margaret Thatcher in her prime years but also in her later years with Dementia. It's not often you see the same actor playing a famous person at different times of their life. Marion Cotillard did that for Edith Piaf and look at how fabulous she was, her Oscar victory notwithstanding. Plus Meryl Streep is so versatile in the roles she plays, from the icy Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada to the weak, timid Sophie in Sophie's Choice to the fun loving Donna Sheridan in Mamma Mia. She's been had so many different roles it's impossible to ignore, not to mention all the accents she's done, including British for Margaret Thatcher, Polish for Sophie's Choice, Australian for A Cry in the Dark, and Italian in The Bridges of Madison County. The bottom line is Meryl Streep is one of the best actresses of all time, and I daresay she's even better than Katharine Hepburn who usually plays similar characters in the sense that you can always tell it's her, whereas Meryl Streep can do anything. ROCK ON MERYL!!!!!!

  • Sand | February 24, 2012 4:54 PMReply

    Viola Davis her part in The Help is not really a leading role, actually 3 actresses share the leading part(s). Having seen this film I think she may be very lucky to have been nominated as Best actress, and not once but for several awards. That really surprises me. Besides The Iron Lady I haven't seen the other films, but Viola should not be a threat. Her acting in The Help also didn't seem very heavy to do, besides she did the same before.

  • anastacia | March 2, 2012 3:42 AM

    You are spot on. The facial soulfulness of Viola is alwas cut out for the role she seems to aways play. Yes, I saw the same performance in Doubt. Whereas Meryl is a magician who disappears and appears a someone else each time. Isnt that what true acting is about. I dont understand the tension here between Davis and Streep. I heard that it's just a media hype.

  • Abhishek | February 24, 2012 4:10 PMReply

    Dear Oscar, please give it to Rooney Mara and restore our faith in you by giving us at least one instance of how commercially successful movies and actors can also win Oscars. Making a dead face and drowning the audience into the ocean of pessimism is certainly a talent but so is pumping up their adrenaline, running the wheels of their intellect and making them believe in the character no matter how imaginary it is.

  • Sergio Chavez S. | February 23, 2012 8:43 PMReply

    Totally agreed Meryl excellent and brilliant..but is not fair put meryl front sized Rooney Mara...I think that it the Academy Award deserve credibility, will must win ROONEY MARA...if not, will be a Shit More.. She was incredible in the movie she deserves to take it...

  • Chris | February 23, 2012 6:50 PMReply

    I saw Iron Lady and I saw The Help - no comparison, seriously. Meryl Streep must win, she was awesome!!!!

  • Zak | February 23, 2012 11:03 AMReply

    Meryl Streep plays the same crusty vagina character in every movie.

  • Mark | February 27, 2012 12:56 AM

    I seriously LOVE this comment. Perfect.

  • barb | February 23, 2012 12:12 AMReply

    In your best actress list you said Tilda Swinton should have been there. Just saw We Need To
    Talk About Kevin. Could not agree more!! Fabulous acting!

  • Jorge | February 22, 2012 1:54 PMReply

    This is the award for the BEST performance of the year. I have seen all the nominations and it is undoubtedly deserved by Meryl. Her transformation is astounding. I love that they youngsters think she deserved it for Doubt or Devil Wears Prada or Julie & Julia, which she did. But lets not forget about The French Leutenant's Woman, A Cry in the Dark, Silkwood, Ironweed, Out of Africa. If you haven't seen them, you must. But regardless. The best performance by a female actor in 2011: Meryl Streep. Hands down.

  • Chris O | February 22, 2012 11:57 AMReply

    I saw the iron lady and it was HORRIBLE!! Im sorry but i dont care how good people think Meryls performance was, i think it was okay at best. The last thing she needs is another award. Viola Davis should win it and she deserves it. Im sorry but i cant give an Oscar to a person who acted in a bad movie i just cant.

  • Ed | February 22, 2012 8:11 AMReply


  • Stephen Nickens | February 21, 2012 11:59 PMReply

    Honestly, I saw both The Help and The Iron Lady to compare and make an unbiased prediction. The Iron Lady, Meryl Streep (always my favorite) gave a breathtaking performance, undoubtedly the best performance by an actress this year. The Help was a GOOD movie, and Viola Davis' performance was GOOD. That's all, just good. In no way do I think she deserves the Oscar. Yes, she has been nominated before and lost. Yes, Meryl Streep has been nominated seventeen times and won twice, but the award is supposed to be given to the actor who gave the best performance of the year. That is completely and truly Meryl Streep. So, when it comes time for Oscar Sunday, Viola Davis may take home the prize, but deep down she should know that it belongs to Meryl.

  • Mitchell Davis | February 21, 2012 4:48 PMReply

    Meryl Streep deserves her third Oscar here. Her performance was remarkable, and drove the entire picture. Viola Davis was good, but more of a supporting role in an ensemble picture. Michelle Williams is always good, but I think her time will come in the future. I feel sorry for Glenn Close. The woman can't catch a break! And Rooney Mara? Her nomination was prize enough.

  • Pedro | February 21, 2012 12:06 PMReply

    Meryl should win and I believe she is the predicted winner. Haven't seen My Week With Marilyn though..

  • marilyn | February 21, 2012 2:22 AMReply

    who ever wins best actress should publicly acknowledge that Tilda Swinton is the actress should have been given the Oscar.

  • GENADIJUS | February 20, 2012 1:05 PMReply

    There will be a split of votes in best actress or vbast actor categories, for sure. Michelle Williams in front of Davis vs. Streep and Brad Pitt in front of Clooney vs. du Jardin.

  • dcaris | February 19, 2012 5:29 PMReply

    Streep and V. Davis are both even in greatness - but it long over time for Streep to win again.

  • HAWAIIAN STYLE | February 19, 2012 4:26 PMReply


  • Antony | February 19, 2012 10:23 AMReply

    Meryl will win- the Academy HAS to give her its third Oscar, they can't wait any longer- and she shoulda won her 3rd on at least 2 sepereate occassions in the past decade ((Adaptation and Julie + Julia.) Poor ole Glenn Close- she can't get a break at Oscat time can she..!?

  • Marilyn | February 18, 2012 11:05 PMReply

    I LOVE Meryl Streep and I LOVE Viola Davis. I say this is a two actress race and it's too close to call.

  • MIB | February 16, 2012 11:40 PMReply

    I feel sorry for Streep because she should have won oscars Doubt and Devil Wears Parada. Academy just see her and say oh yes she is streep she is terrific as always lets give award to someone else. too bad. i hope she wins this year. I mean if Academy just see her performance as an actress not as Streep she will win. if she doesn't i think she should never attend any Oscar ceremony again. she has been robbed for several years now just being Streep.

  • Bheki | February 16, 2012 3:04 PMReply

    The announcement that Streep will star in a screen adaptation of August: Osage County was the worst idea ever, now the voters are certainly going to hand it over to Viola to help her career since they feel they will have another chance to honour Streep the next year like always.

  • Nick R. Hansson | February 16, 2012 12:10 AMReply

    This will be Michelle Williams first Oscar - putting her up there with Julia Roberts and before Annette Bening, Ashley Judd and Viola Davis. It´s only a match between Michelle Williams vs. Meryl Streep. M.W. took the role of the Worlds most sexiest icon ever - and yes, she play her, but better than that - she also was Marilyn Monroe.
    Amazing performer. Michelle Williams deserves it - Hollywood and MM too. If you talk about Meryl Streep. She won BAFTA in UK for Maggie Thatcher. God save the Queen in England, not in US. So MW will easily win the Academy Award (actress) 26. february 2012 in The Kodak Theater, LA! Last year she could have taken the Oscar for Blue Valentine. OK! It went to Black Swan & Natalie Portman. So THIS YEAR nobody members of the jury can drop the last six years best US-actress!!!

  • rey | February 15, 2012 11:08 PMReply

    Streep will win and for me V. Davis it a supporting rode

  • DMonroe | February 20, 2012 2:07 AM

    Viola Davis CARRIED 'The Help" with her performance....

  • spanishfan | February 15, 2012 5:07 PMReply

    In my opinion (and after seeing all the 5 movies), to not award Streep for her perfomance this year would be a crime and it will mean that the oscars have become the last joke... but after all it won't surprise me since we are very used about the oscars and their silly and arbitrary decisions (but I hope Streep to don't even bother to came back another year if they nominate her again (like Hepburn did). She will do herself a favour).

  • Expert Pick | February 16, 2012 9:07 AM

    The Oscars have already become a joke! And I agree that Streep should win, but I think they will pick Davis.

  • Yeb vas | February 14, 2012 10:26 PMReply

    Melancholia stunk. Boring boring boring. If you liked this movie, you must have been drunk watching it.

  • Steve Shear | February 14, 2012 10:17 PMReply

    Saw all the movies. Hugo stunk. Meryl Streep by far deserves to win. Best performance imo of her career. Viola Davis will probably win to help her career. That is why the oscars have been bs for years. How many academy members actually watch the best films and actor performances, etc?

  • Flawed | February 14, 2012 12:14 AMReply

    Meryl is great and all but I am going to root for Viola Davis for this reason:
    Why do we, as fans of Movie Awards have to get stuck with Britain's love affair with itself.
    Every time a movie is made about a British figure, it gets so much love as if the rest of the world gives a crap. The Americans don't even make us suffer. Rooney was awesome but at least Viola stands a chance. I'll wait and root for Meryl when she's in a movie I actually wanna see.

  • Stephen Nickens | February 22, 2012 12:05 AM

    Yes, this is true, but it is also true with the issue Blacks v. Whites, Gays v. Homophobia, and the always popular Holocaust film (always a favorite at the Oscars). All in all, Meryl Streep deserves it, not only is this LONG OVERDUE, but she gave the best performance of the year by an actress and that is that. I am not saying that Viola wasn't good, but that's it. She was only good. Not Oscar worthy.

  • CLICHE | February 14, 2012 11:38 AM

    Why do we as fans of Movie Awards have to get stuck with stories of cliche talking about the conflicts between white and black...and having a big hug or what in the end??? Keep stirring up racism to win tears...tired of those topic. BTW, I would be glad to see an Obama film, if anyone is going to give birth to it.

  • Spark | February 14, 2012 9:55 AM

    I though that was an award for "best leading actress" and not for "best leading actress in a movie I want to see".

    But it's true that the oscars dynamic is like that (it can explain why Tilda Swinton or Elizabeth Olsen were snubbed).

  • cameron | February 13, 2012 1:36 PMReply

    I think that the best preformance this year by far was Michelle Williams, this woman took on the role of an icon and was incredible. She didnt play Marylin Monroe, she became her. While i believe that either Davis or Streep will win i hands down believe Williams deserves it

  • Rob | February 15, 2012 4:06 PM

    Agreed. Michelle was amazing.

  • Alegria | February 13, 2012 7:45 AMReply

    It's time for Meryl Streep to pick up the Oscar Award after 29 years of waiting and working so hard!!! She deserves it!!!!!!!

  • doppelganger | February 12, 2012 10:36 PMReply

    I'm beginning to think that almost nobody here has seen "the girl with the dragon tattoo". Meryl Streep...YES! Michelle Williams...HUH? Viola Davis....AWESOME, but I didn't walk out of the film thinking this woman NEEDS an award.

    Roony Mara blew my ever loving mind. The way she used her body, the very cool accent, the fearlessness. If Rooney or Meryl don't win I will seriously be scratching my head.

  • THE GREAT MERYL | February 11, 2012 10:37 AMReply

    Meryl Streep gave the best performance and will win if the Acamedy Voters look at her performance as if this was her first film. Viola Davis was good and had her moments but
    The Help was a very Hollywood mainstream film with good actors.

  • Mehrdadiii | February 11, 2012 6:32 AMReply

    Hopefully, Meryl Streep will win... don even doubt... ;)

  • SELENATOR | February 11, 2012 6:48 AM

    We hope, we hope, we hope! This year she really deserves it. If she doesn't win this year, she is never going to win... it will mean that the academy really likes to mock in her :-(

  • One Love | February 10, 2012 1:44 PMReply

    Viola Davis will probably win best actress but to be truly honest, no actress stood out this year. There is always that actress you just know is going to win ever year like Charlize in Monster, Reese in Walk the Line, Hilary in Million Dollar Baby, Sandra in Blind Side or Natalie in Black Swan. I couldn't care less who win for best actress but best wishes to all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • bob hawk | February 8, 2012 2:32 AMReply

    Yes, Tilda shoulda been here -- as well as Olivia Colman and Kirsten Dunst. They were all BRILLIANT -- something I cannot say for all the excellent actresses who WERE nominated. (This was an exceptionally strong year for lead actress.) And as for Streep, why doesn't the Academy just give her an over-sized Oscar for every performance she ever has given or will give in her lifetime? Furthermore, I'd hate to see her win for IRON LADY, since she was working her usual fine craftiness within a vacuum of mediocrity. I'd rather wait and see her win for what is sure to be a ferocious tour de force as Violet in AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY.

  • STOP HAWKING ABOUT MERYL BOB | February 11, 2012 10:43 AM

    You wouldn't know if "BRILLIANT" bit you in the _ _ _ Having seen Streep, Tilda and Dunst... Streep delivered the best performance.

  • Gary | February 8, 2012 12:38 AMReply

    As I said, 1 every 4 yrs OR SO, I didn't mean it as exact...BUT, I DID state that it would be the 1st time in OSCAR HISTORY that 2 African American Actors/Actresses WON, if that turns out to be the case...which I hope it does!

    That's a factual statement.

  • Nik G. | February 8, 2012 3:59 PM

    Did you skip over this part of Ken's response: "in 2002: Denzel Washington for "Training Day" and Halle Berry for "Monster's Ball" were honored in the same year; in 2005, Jamie Foxx won best lead for "Ray" and Morgan Freeman garnered best supporting for "Million Dollar Baby."" ? Meryl Streep knocks it out of the park with this role, she deserves the Oscar.

  • Gary | February 7, 2012 3:40 AMReply

    I having been an actor and worked in Hollywood in various capacities ACTOR being one of them, have this to say in my opinion...It si so much easier for an actor to play a role BASED on someone that they can watch or see footage of, (i.e. Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher0 or in Glenn Close'scse, she has played Albert Nobbs ONSTAGE for YEARS, and fought to bring it to the Screen, However, Viola Davis a MAGNIFICENT and somewhat underrated actress CREATED HER CHARACTER FROM SCRATCH!!! She MOLDED & SCULPTED her Character. To ME that takes a lot more than watching someone who is/was alive and they can copy them

    My vote is for Viola Davis..Meryl already has 2 Oscars, and think about this... IF Viola Davis & Octavia Spencer BOTH WIN, it will beThe FIRST time in the Academy Awards History that 2 Black Actors/Actresses Have won in the same YEAR, NOT 1 every 4 or so yrs and Only 1 wins...It's about time Hollywood opened their eyes. I mean take "Precious fprnstance, I LOVED the Movie it was MAGNIFICENT and for a first timer Gabourey Sidibe to be Nominated for Best Actress, God Bless her! BUT then on the other side of the coin, I love Sandra Bullock, but really, how much of a stretch was it? 1) She's Beautiful,2) Ballsy, 3) RICH & 4) From TEXAS...Gabby was a first timer, Hollywood takes care of t's own, it's sometimes like a "Good Ol' Boys Club!!!!

    There's SOUCH more talent that we never get to see, or are so fixated on what we of habit!
    OH & For the record, I am a White Male, and I was a casting assistant at one time as well. to just WISH Hollywood was MORE Color-Blind and really saw the difference between creating a character from your own soul, and heart than playing an actual person whom you can STUDY, using video, news tapes etc...

    I wish them BOTH an Oscar, Viola & Octavia! And for Best Acor: Damien Bichir-A Better Life, I KNOW it's a Longshot, but aGREAT Movie, Toss-Up Between Christopher Plummer & Max von Sydow, BOTH AMAZING Performances, for Best Supporting Actor.

  • Ken | February 7, 2012 9:53 AM

    Just to clarify: this would NOT be the first year two African-Americans have been honored for performances in the same has actually already happened twice (in 2002: Denzel Washington for "Training Day" and Halle Berry for "Monster's Ball" were honored in the same year; in 2005, Jamie Foxx won best lead for "Ray" and Morgan Freeman garnered best supporting for "Million Dollar Baby." That said, I think what African American actors want is an equal opportunity for good parts and let the awards come in merit for the performance. Also, while I agree that having film to watch on somebody can help with walk, accent, and make-up, you still, as an actor, have to "fill in the gaps." I liked Viola Davis in "The Help," but she completely knocked me over in "Doubt." Even though her part in "Doubt" was slight in terms of time, she should have won best supporting that year. This year, I think Streep should get it; yes, the film was bad; yes, her portrayal is based on a real person; yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Still, she is magnificent. AND, since she was robbed for her "Julie & Julia" work, she should get it now, but regardless of what has happened in the past...her work in "The Iron Lady" is the most dazzling of the five nominated performances.

  • Spark | February 7, 2012 7:29 AM

    The only problem I have is that Viola Davis' performance was supporting and not leading. Her minutes are not that large to consider her work leading... of course, it's my opinion.

  • Gaspar Marino | February 6, 2012 6:02 PMReply

    In my heart of hearts, I would like to see Glenn Close or Meryl Streep win...they are both GREAT actresses, but if we are talking the best performance by an actress out of this list, then my vote goes to Viola Davis. She did not portray a charactature, she imbued Abileen with real heart and soul and expressed with her face and eyes true emotional feelings. Her performance was true and in the moment. That is what is called acting.

  • Stella | February 6, 2012 8:49 PM

    Too bad it was a supporting role and not a lead one.

  • Daniel | February 6, 2012 5:26 PMReply

    Being realistic, the best performance of the year was KIRSTEN DUNST - MELANCHOLIA, all of this ladies (especially Viola Davis) are out of her league, but for one reason, the voters just ignore her, so now, the one that really impress me was Michelle Williams, she portrait multiple faces of Marilyn, every time she's out of screen, the film looks really to wreak, she is the soul of the movie, she really deserve it, one of the best and risky actresses working today. I hope she win.
    Viola or Meryl could win just for political reasons (talking about Viola) or the sentimentalism (talking about Meryl), but, being honest no one of those 2 ladies really deserve it.
    Michelle Williams will win!!!!!!

  • David | February 8, 2012 1:44 AM

    YES! Kirsten was robbed of a nomination.....! If only - Michelle and Kirsten could then reminisce about their spoof, "Dick." But seriously, this shoud have been a contest between Kirsten Dunst and Rooney Mara.

  • Richard | February 6, 2012 3:29 PMReply

    all of the five nominees gave A+ performances. but just on the fine tuned nature
    of the performance Meryl Streep should win. just because "The Help" made a truck
    load of cash doesn't mean Davis should win. if she does win its because to put it
    discreetly she got the sympathy vote.

    also why in God's name do people think Tilda Swinton should have been nominated
    for "We Need To Talk About Kevin"? it was one of the worst films i've ever seen and she
    gave a one note performance.

  • Steve | February 6, 2012 1:09 AMReply

    Moneyball, an American pastime played by the rules of late capitalism. Lays bare late capitalism's commodification of information, flex labor, and the ruthless drive for efficiency. Honest and timely, in spite of its sentimental veneer.

  • Steve | February 6, 2012 12:52 AMReply

    The answer is Rooney Mara. All the others perform: given the particular moment in the film, each is either ahead of her performance, or her performance is out in front looking back. Mara, on the hand, just is. She entirely inhabits her character and gives us something new.

  • David | February 8, 2012 1:38 AM

    Agreed, Rooney Mara - see comment below......

  • Bert | February 5, 2012 8:58 AMReply

    Shoulda Been Here: Tilda Swinton???
    are you kidding. What so good about her acting then? i'm curious.
    This woman has just one look on that faec, and we see it the whole movie... no wait.
    we see it in every movie she played. Same roles. the not so likable character.

    my winner is by far! Rooney Mara, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

  • David | February 8, 2012 1:36 AM

    This should have been a showdown of Kirsten Dunst and Rooney Mara - the two most outstanding film performances of the year. And when is the Academy going to put both best actresses and actors in one category? Why seperate performances done by men and performances done by women? This is somewhat archiac.

  • richard | February 5, 2012 6:30 AMReply

    Don't think is right. Meryl Streep should finally win her next oscar for her portrayl of Margaret Thatcher.
    She morphed into this layered, textured woman seamlessly which to me was a more difficult acting accomplishment than what was required from Viola Davis in The Help.
    Viola Davis was superb as she always is but she just didn't impact this movie goer like the Iron Lady did.
    The Help was a great book and could have been a great film. It just got schmaltzy. I would have loved the characters more if they hadn't been trying so hard to sell their characters.
    Anyway good luck Meryl. Hope they all stop taking your brilliance for granted this year.

  • Anna Neville | February 4, 2012 9:54 PMReply

    If Meryl does'nt win this year it will be a farce She is without doubt the greatest actress in the world today and one of the greatest of all time. The supreme Laurence Olivier was nominated 9 times and won one, what does that tell you? Perhaps a role as Golda Meir or star of a remake of "the Colour Purple" would impress The Academy. Could someone please explain to me what a SAG speech has to do with an Academy Award winning performance.

  • xris | February 4, 2012 6:13 AMReply

    Having seen The Iron Lady, Streep raises the bar once again, the problem with her is that she's Meryl Streep, for her it was just another day in the office nothing special and the academy always expects a performance like that from her. If it truly was about the acting, she'd have at the least 5 oscars already. I'm quite sure if Michelle Williams pulled off Meryl's role in The Iron Lady thre'd be no question about who will win the oscar... after Viola's speech at the SAG's, the oscar is pretty much in the bag for her and it's sad because Meryl really deserves it, 2-16 is an embarrassment to the academy, until Meryl pulls off another 'Sophie's choice' I don't think she will win any time soon.

  • Xris | February 5, 2012 12:59 PM

    The major acting awards just before the Oscars have a way of swinging things unexpectedly, I remember the time when Meryl was poised to take home the Oscar for her potrayal of Julia Child in Julie&Julia, for months she was considered frontrunner until Sandra Bullock (of all people) came out of the blue and won the major awards just before the oscars and look what happened. The same thing happened when Mickey Rourke won all the awards for The Wrestler leading to the Oscars, suddenly Sean Penn won the SAG under his nose and went on to eventually take the oscar, that's just how these things work now, Viola's Speech probably swung a few votes that would've otherwise gone to Meryl at the last minute and that will probably push her over the edge for Oscar glory, emotions really do come into play when deciding winners it's unfortunate but true

  • Xris | February 5, 2012 9:52 AM

    The major acting awards just before the oscars have a way of swinging things unexpectedly, I know when Meryl played Julia Child in Julie&Julia everyone was pretty sure the oscar was hers for that year and out of the blue Sandra Bullock (of all people) started sweeping the awards just before the oscars and look what happend. The same happend when Mickey Rourke won all the major awards until Sean Penn took the SAG and eventually the oscar. Viola's speech probably swung a few votes that would've otherwise gone to Meryl, it's just the way these things work now, the voter's minds are probably filled with the "Poor Viola!" card

  • bert | February 5, 2012 9:03 AM

    in my opinion, the movie of a best acrtress oscar has to be good too. (any oscar, btw) It sucks, just really bad.

  • Nik Grape | February 4, 2012 10:20 AM

    Lets just hope that they remember how they gave the Oscars to Helen Mirren, Colin Firth for similar historical roles. They do like to do that, and so far "The Iron Lady" is the closest Streep has come to a "Sophie's Choice" type of showcasing of talent. It's not about the Holocaust, but there's no denying that Streep's performance is the greatest of all the leading ladies. Let's hope Harvey Weinstein makes a push for Meryl and that the Academy voters forget about Davis' sappy SAG speech.

  • Helmer | February 3, 2012 10:03 PMReply

    Meryl Streep gave one of the best performances of her life! After seeing all the nominees in their respective movies, there is no comparison about Best Achievement by an Actress in a Leading Role! The Oscar should go to Ms. Meryl Streep, hands down. Her work was one of dimension, nuance, showing warts and all, motivated, and detailed. She made a total, honest transformation into the character of Margaret Thatcher. Ms. Streep is our most versatile and
    greatest film artist ever, plus her stage work has been respected as well . . . . . I saw her perform "Mother Courage" at Shakespeare in the Park in New York several years ago - riveting and engaging. Streep has 17 Oscar nominations, and a Best Actress Oscar for "Sophie's Choice" and a Best Supporting Actress Award for "Kramer vs. Kramer." After all these years of superior and consistent work, she deserves another Best Actress Oscar like Sally Field, Jodie Foster, Louise Rainer, Hillary (UGH) Swank, to name a few who have been awarded two Best Actress honors.
    Let's not forget some of the recent '"flash-in-the-pan would-be actresses" who have been recognized as Best Actress and who will never, ever come close to getting another nomination because they have little talent, discipline, and skill - BUT they knew how to play the publicity and promotional game for expressing themselves as dedicated artists when they were merely duplicating their real life tragedies such as the recent N. P. and H. B. Give me a break!
    In conclusion, Meryl gets a "10," Glenn an "7," Viola (she cries convincingly in everything she does like "Doubt" or "ELAIC", including her Tony-winning performance in "Fences.") a "5," Michelle a "4," and Rooney (reminded me of streetwise N. P. with 2 expressions) a "1." Tilda should have been nominated before Rooney. But alas, the members of A.M.P.A.S. make the decisions and, just like me, it is all about personal "choices" which is what acting is all about. I am hoping on February 26, I will be happy and content with a Streep win!

  • Mur | February 6, 2012 8:53 PM

    Who is N.P.?

  • Tristan | February 3, 2012 8:34 PMReply

    Meryl Streep deserves to win her 3rd Oscar for the Iron Lady. It's Best Actress in a film you are nominated NOT best actress in a best picture nominated film. C'mon winners should be based on their performance not on dramatic speeches...

  • Mark N. | February 3, 2012 4:05 PMReply

    Meryl Streep is wonderful and I love pretty near anything she does, but she honesty deserved better material than "The Iron Lady". The best performance in that film was Jim Broadbent. This is really through no fault of Meryl's own. The movie is just dull and poorly-executed. She was more deserving of the Oscar for "The Devil Wears Prada" than here... and come on, folks, you can't give someone an Oscar to make Oscar history (she needs to win 2 more to beat the great Kate Hepburn anyway) or because they're 'due' for another win. Really? To do that is just ignoring the performance altogether. Sadly, the actress who DESERVES to be here - Tilda Swinton - is not. In lieu of her, the next best, fully-nuanced performance is Viola Davis. Davis stole the scene from Streep when she was supporting-nominated for "Doubt" a few years back (she should have won then). With "The Help", she proves even more that she's got tremendous acting chops. Streep will nab the Oscar from her this year, which won't really be justified. I love Meryl Streep, and she was a great Margaret Thatcher, but it just doesn't sing as a Best Actress-winning role for her at all.

  • EddieCt. | February 5, 2012 12:38 PM

    Sorry Mark, I disagree. Streep was incredible and deserves the win. While I enjoyed The Help and it's message, Viola was to the Help as Sally Field was to Steel Magnolias. And Sally wasn't even nominated. (She should have been!) Meryl bring home number three!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Meryl Delivered the Best Performance | February 2, 2012 11:24 PMReply

    No contest...La Streep delivered the best performance this year. Acamedy Members
    don't mess it up like you have done in the past.