Other than Jared Leto in Best Supporting Actor, I think this is the only other category that is essentially a lock. Cate Blanchett (whose role in Blue Jasmine has been compared to the role of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire) has lost just four awards this season. That includes her 38 nominations in different critics groups around the nation.
Although she won an Oscar relatively recently, at least by Academy standards, it was in the Supporting category. Many Academy members may want to award the actress in the more prestigious Best Actress category. It also helps that her role in Blue Jasmine is probably one of the more complex of the year. She plays in two different points in her life, before and after her husband goes to jail. In one she is an uptight upper east sider, while in the other she is an alcoholic delusional divorcee.
There are two people that I could see beating her here. Amy Adams landed a surprise (to some people) nomination, which could mean a large amount of support. Now I know she missed out on a Screen Actors Guild nomination, which is essential to taking the top prize, but she is well liked in the Academy (she received 5 nominations in 8 years). In addition, she gives a very emotional performance, probably the best of the film’s ensemble. She is definitely in this.
The other is Sandra Bullock. I think that she has the sweep factor in her favor. If voters decide to give “Gravity” six or seven awards, why not Bullock?
Check out my rankings below and all of our Oscar predictions here!
Will Win: Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”
Could Win: Amy Adams, “American Hustle”
Should Win: Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”
Should have been Nominated: Brie Larson, “Short Term 12”