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Mo'Nique is the one to beat for supporting actress

Mo'Nique stars as Mary in

Mo'Nique stars as Mary in "Precious: Based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire." She received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress. Photo Credit: Lionsgate Films

In a field of terrific supporting actresses, the Oscar seems destined to go to a woman who, at least initially, seemed reluctant to publicly campaign for it. Here's the lineup.

 
WHO Mo'Nique

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

THE DEAL Critics said the comedian should have done more to publicize this film and her own amazing performance as an abusive mother. Then she won a Golden Globe and began appearing more in the media. Now she's the front-runner, and deservedly so.

PHOTOS: Best supporting actress nominees

VOTE: Who should win an Oscar for best supporting actress?

VIDEO: Watch trailers for Oscar-nominated movies

MORE: Complete guide to the Academy Awards


WHO Vera Farmiga

MOVIE "Up in the Air"

THE DEAL At 36, Farmiga emerges in this movie as a bona fide movie star: smart, beautiful and glamorous enough to rock George Clooney back on his heels. As for the Oscar, she'll have other years.

 
WHO Anna Kendrick

MOVIE "Up in the Air"

THE DEAL Best known as Kristen Stewart's sidekick in the "Twilight" flicks, Kendrick showed she could do more by playing a cold but vulnerable businesswoman. A breakthrough role but probably not a gold winner.


WHO Maggie Gyllenhaal

MOVIE "Crazy Heart"

THE DEAL As the girlfriend of a broken-down country star (Jeff Bridges), Gyllenhaal put as much as she could into a thinly written role. The nomination, her first, is praise enough.


WHO Penélope Cruz

MOVIE "Nine"

THE DEAL A decent role (as the mistress of an arrogant film director) but a miserably bad movie. Not a chance.

PHOTOS: Best supporting actress nominees

VOTE: Who should win an Oscar for best supporting actress?

VIDEO: Watch trailers for Oscar-nominated movies

MORE: Complete guide to the Academy Awards

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