This year's nominees:
Hathaway truly came into her own as an actress this year, displaying a range that her early Disney films - and the recent Bride Wars - kept firmly under wraps. As family fuck up Kym, Hathaway shines though, it must be said, she has a lot to work with. Hathaway has won a number of awards, including the Critics Choice, but faces fierce competition from both Streep and Winslet. This is her first nomination.
I'm not really a fan of this particular performance but since I don't think there's any way Jolie will win, I'm not going to harp about it. Actresses playing mothers tend to fare well in both the leading and supporting categories, but I think there are too many things working against Jolie courtesy of the other four nominees. Jolie already has an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for Girl, Interrupted.
Leo has been working steadily as a character actor in both television and films for about 20 years, just waiting for the starring role she so richly deserves. She found it in Courtney Hunt's Frozen River, which has garnered her her first Oscar nomination. Like Richard Jenkins in the Actor category, this is one of those cases where the nomination is the award.
What can you say about Meryl Streep? She's a legend, she's a star, she's one of the greatest actors of all time. That she would be nominated for Doubt was one of the inevitabilities of this award season long before the film even saw the light of day. She won the Critics Choice Award and the SAG, amongst other critics awards and may very well be the one to steal Winslet's thunder. She has won twice before (as Supporting Actress for Kramer vs. Kramer and Sophie's Choice) and been nominated, oh, about a million times (or 15, if you're a stickler for accuracy).
Though she was campaigned as Supporting Actress, the AMPAS correctly placed her in the leading category, albeit at the expense of her performance in Revolutionary Road. Winslet is wonderful in this role and she's long overdue for a win. I'm pulling for her for two reasons: I think she's great and deserves the win, and I would love for AMPAS to prove Ricky Gervais right - if you want an Oscar, do a Holocaust movie. This is Winslet's 6th nomination in just 13 years.