Michelle Williams, Take This Waltz
Michelle Williams is quickly establishing herself as one of her generation's greatest actresses with yet another award-worthy performance in Sarah Polley's "Take This Waltz." As a Torontonian woman questioning her generally happy marriage when she meets a sexy artist on a business trip, Williams manages the difficult task of making both likeable and relatable a woman who makes some very questionable decisions. If she manages it (though it would be a big surprise at this point), Williams could earn her third consecutive best actress Oscar nomination for the role, after "Blue Valentine" and "My Week With Marilyn." Though mind you she was just as deserving for non-nominated work in "Wendy and Lucy" and "Meek's Cutoff," and she'll likely manage many more nominations in the future if "Waltz" doesn't take to Oscar voters.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Smashed
You've probably seen Mary Elizabeth Winstead in films like "Final Destination 3," "The Ring Two" and "Live Free or Die Hard" but you might not recognize her in James Ponsoldt's "Smashed." Winstead plays Kate, a woman who decides to get sober after deciding that her alcohol abuse (which she shares with her husband, played by Aaron Paul) and is spiralling out of control. Sony Pictures Classics picked up the film out of Sundance and is planning a push for Winstead. If it ends up happening, it would be more than deserved for a performance that proves this actress is worth more than supporting roles in sequels.
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