Few Options for Best Actress Nods

Even as the industry buzzes about the female frontrunners for Oscar's Best Director category (Kathryn Bigelow, Jane Campion and Lone Scherfig), the pool for Best Actress nominees is looking rather shallow. Barring bravura performances in yet-to-be-widely-seen films like The Lovely Bones, only veteran nominee Meryl Streep (for Julie & Julia) and virtual unknowns Carey Mulligan (An Education) and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) seem to be likely nominees. Some even think unusual choices like Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side could fill out the rest of the slate. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the "shallow pool" may be the result of a changing culture that makes it harder for women—especially older women—to get the kinds of meaty roles that result in Oscar nominations: only one woman in her 50s—Helen Mirren—has one the award in the last two decades.