There may be some suspense as to the winner of this category, but one thing's for sure: On Oscar Night, when the five Best Actress names are announced, their work in these films will have been unseen by most TV viewers. The cumulative domestic box office for this quintet is a piddling $100 million, or less than Paul Blart, Mall Cop has earned on its own in five weeks. It's one more indication of the Academy's fixation on niche movies.
And they don't come much niche-ier than Rachel, the wedding-weekend-from-hell movie. Hathaway's performance is one of those horrible and/or lovable eccentrics favored by indie filmmakers and many reviewers. The Best Actress prizes from most critics groups went either to Hathaway or to Sally Hawkins, who in Happy-Go-Lucky played the sunny side to Hathaway's stormy Kym. (Hawkins' omission was the big surprise in the Actress nominations.) It was foreordained that Hathaway would be a finalist, but she's unlikely to overcome the Winslet onslaught. Odds of winning: 8 to 1