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Could Bill Murray & Keira Knightley Be Oscar Winners? We Prematurely Predict Best Actor & Actress At The 2013 Academy Awards

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist March 2, 2012 at 11:58AM

At the Academy Awards, Best Picture might be the big prize, but the ones that both the winners and the audience have the most emotional connection to tend to be the acting prizes. Seeing a beloved star, or a fresh-faced newcomer, finally pick up a statue more often than not ends up leading the mainstream media coverage; it's always more moving than some producer's acceptance speech.


Sandra Bullock Oscars
Sandra Bullock - "Gravity"
No actress in 2012 has to face a tougher physical challenge than Sandra Bullock in Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity" -- the 2010 Oscar-winner has to carry the vast majority of the film on her own, acting mostly against CGI, while being suspended in an approximation of zero-gravity, in a spacesuit. There's no reason to think she won't be able to pull the part off: the big question is, will Academy members be able to get past the genre nature of the film?

Carey Mulligan - "The Great Gatsby"
Since breaking out in "An Education" (for which she was nominated for Best Actress), Carey Mulligan has turned in excellent performances in everything from "Never Let Me Go" to "Shame," but further Oscar gold hasn't followed. But if ever a part could give her another chance, it's Daisy, the love of Jay Gatsby's life, in "The Great Gatsby." If she wasn't already the most sought-after actress in Hollywood, it's the kind of part that would make her so, and no one's doubting her skills at this point. It's possible that she might campaign in Supporting Actress, but given that she has a good chance there too, for The Coen Brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis," we imagine she'll want to spread the love.  

Mary Elizabeth Winstead - "Smashed"
While alcoholism drama "Smashed" didn't quite get the same buzz as fellow Sundance hit "The Surrogate," it got very enthusiastic reviews, most notably for lead, "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" star Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who carries the picture as a schoolteacher trying to kick the bottle. With Sony Pictures Classics, who took Carey Mulligan and Anne Hathaway to nominations in the last few years, picking the movie up, this could gain momentum as the year goes on, if the critics in general match the Park City enthusiasm. All that being said, she's a brand-new name in Academy circles, which may not help against familiar faces like Knightley and Linney.

Rachel McAdams - "Untitled Terrence Malick Project"
As we said above, Terrence Malick has not, as yet, led to any actors getting an Oscar nomination. But from what little we know about his next, which seemingly focuses on good old-fashioned affairs of the heart, it might be more relatable to Oscar voters. And Rachel McAdams might be the biggest beneficiary of that. That is if she's given more to do than Jessica Chastain in "The Tree of Life," and if the film actually comes out in 2012.

This article is related to: Academy Awards, Oscars, The Amazing Race, Bill Murray, Daniel Day-Lewis, Clint Eastwood, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Hawkes, Viola Davis, Keira Knightley, Laura Linney, Helen Hunt, Sandra Bullock