Helen Hunt: As Good as It Gets (Oscar winner)
HELENA BONHAM CARTER: The Wings of the Dove (ReOscar winner)
Julie Christie: Afterglow
Judi Dench: Mrs. Brown
Kate Winslet: Titanic
Single, white mom saves self and semi-crazy writer: that role earned Hunt an Oscar in tandem with Nicholson's. Her playing was strong and finely calibrated, but there was another performance worthier. Not Dench's as Queen Victoria in a royalty-meets-working-man semi-romance. And not Christie, who shows up every 10 years looking sensational and radiating a secret sadness. Not even Winslet, as the rich girl who dazzles poor-boy Leo DiCaprio into making so many extravagant gestures.
Bring me Bonham Carter, with the square face and dour demeanor that explodes into mischief. From her early films for director James Ivory, to her recent ones with Tim Burton (her partner), Bonham Carter plays women who pinwheel intelligence and impatience, both hitched to a dominant will. As Kate Cloy in this version of a Henry James novel, she sends her beau off to seduce an innocent American because she can. Bonham Carter could have been a Hollywood star in the '40s: a Bette Davis with all the wiles and none of the scruples. She also should have been nominated this year, for her pie-peddling scold in Sweeney Todd. She'll have to settle for the ReOscar.