In this year's category for the Best Actress Oscar, there probably won't be any big upset. In fact, that in itself is the upset: Is Sandra Bullock really guaranteed to take it from Meryl Streep? Read on.

 
ACTRESS Sandra Bullock

MOVIE "The Blind Side"

THE DEAL Thespian-snobs may be wondering why this lightweight suddenly became a contender. Get ready: Bullock seems sure to win for her sincere performance as a wealthy Southerner who adopts a black teen in this heartland-targeted, box-office smash.


ACTRESS Meryl Streep

MOVIE "Julie & Julia"

THE DEAL Fluffy movies like this don't often win Oscars, but ask yourself this: Why would Streep care? With two statues on her mantel and 16 nominations, Streep has been defying Hollywood wisdom by starring in hugely popular comedies even as she approaches 60. Oscar? She don't need no stinking Oscar!

 
ACTRESS Gabourey Sidibe

MOVIE "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"

THE DEAL In her first proper screen role, Sidibe put herself on the line playing an obese, sexually abused teenager in a movie that some critics saw as black stereotyping. Call this nomination a badge of courage.

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ACTRESS Helen Mirren

MOVIE "The Last Station"

THE DEAL Mirren has the requisite skills and poise, but this little-seen picture about Leo Tolstoy's later years didn't get much buzz. Plus, she already has a statue for "The Queen" (2006).


ACTRESS Carey Mulligan

MOVIE "An Education"

THE DEAL This newcomer won't win, but that doesn't matter. Her lovely, heartbreaking performance in Lone Scherfig's coming-of-age film will be remembered as the moment a star was born.