Performance by an actress in a leading role
- Jessica Chastain in "Zero Dark Thirty"
- Jennifer Lawrence in "Silver Linings Playbook"
- Emmanuelle Riva in "Amour"
- Quvenzhane Wallis in "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
- Naomi Watts in "The Impossible"
This year's Best Actress field is a real piece of Oscar history, in that it features both the category's oldest and youngest nominees ever. 9-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis gets a nod for her inspiring turn in Beasts of the Southern Wild (a role she auditioned for when she was just 5), while French veteran Emmanuelle Riva, who is nominated for Amour, becomes the oldest nominee ever at the age of 85. The pair face a tough task in their bid to take the Oscar, however, with Zero Dark Thirty's Jessica Chastain, Silver Linings Playbook's Jennifer Lawrence and The Impossible's Naomi Watts all up against them.