Kate Winslet (“Ammonite”): At age 33, the English actress became the youngest person to collect six Academy Award nominations, with seven in total. She has been up as a supporting actress three times for 1995’s “Sense and Sensibility,” 2001’s “Iris” and 2015’s “Steve Jobs.” Winslet has been in the running as a lead four times for 1997’s “Titanic,” 2004’s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and 2006’s “Little Children,” eventually winning for 2008’s “The Reader.” Her current role? It’s based on British paleontologist Mary Anning, a fossil expert. In the film, she takes in a young geologist (Saoirse Ronan) and begins an all-consuming love affair with her boarder. If she earns a spot on the ballot, Winslet will bring her Oscar bids to eight, tying Geraldine Page’s count among actresses.
Amy Adams (“Hillbilly Elegy”): This long-overdue actress has accumulated five supporting Oscar nods for her work in 2005’s “Junebug,” 2008’s “Doubt,” 2010’s “The Fighter,” 2012’s “The Master” and 2018’s “Vice.” If she is in the running this year, it would be only the second time she has competed as a lead. Alas, reviews for Ron Howard’s take on the struggling citizens of a down-on-its-luck Rust-Belt city have been rather mixed. That includes Adams’ rather unsympathetic performance as an unrepentant addict who neglects her young son and is unable to get her act together. However, Oscar voters just might connect more with her torment than the critics did with her rather harrowing performance in this time of need.
Sophia Loren (“The Life Ahead”): If you are nostalgic about movie legends of yore, look no farther than Netflix’s remake of the 1977 Oscar-winning French film “Madame Rosa,” about a former prostitute and Holocaust survivor who dedicates herself to taking care of children of street walkers. Loren, who was last seen as Daniel Day-Lewis’ mother in the 2009 misbegotten big-screen adaptation of the Broadway musical “Nine,” eschews glamour as an aging woman whose grasp of reality is slowly fading away while she tries to get a grip on a drug-selling tough-talking street kid in her care. Currently, the late Helen Hayes (1931’s “The Sin of Madelon Claudet,” 1971’s “Airport”) holds the record of the biggest gap between a first and second Oscar win. If Loren wins, she will best Hayes’ record of 39 years since she won her first trophy 59 years ago. One more record if she wins? Loren will become the oldest Best Actress winner ever, overtaking Jessica Tandy who was 80 when she won her trophy for 1989’s “Driving Miss Daisy.”