By Joey Magidson
I often wonder what it must be like to be an actor or an actress caught up in the Oscar race for the very first time. The blur of events and people is dizzying just for someone covering them, so to be at the center of it all is an incredible thought to process.
Each year, a whole mess of contenders get introduced to the hustle for the first time. A few of them even manage to score nominations for their work, though many have to learn the agony of defeat before the thrill of victory. Those in the latter column sometimes wind up coming back to the race with a whole new perspective down the line and better chances at the nod.
This year, there’s a large number of previously honored men and women looking for further acting accolades, but there are no shortage of thespians who’d be receiving a nomination for the very first time. Many won’t even come close, but there’s a group of ladies and gentlemen who are going to be campaigning hard for the right to be called an Academy Award nominee.
In addition to the 10 I’ve listed, there are other first-timers who may or may not get some recognition during the season. Samantha Barks of Les Miserables is far from out of the conversation for Best Supporting Actress, while longer shots like Bryan Cranston of Argo and Jason Clarke of Zero Dark Thirty hope to stay in the conversation for Best Supporting Actor. Their odds may not be amazingly favorable, but it’d be remiss to leave them out completely from this discussion.
Even less likely, but still on the fringes, indie darlings like Melanie Lynskey of Hello I Must Be Going and Mary Elizabeth Winstead of Smashed hope to remain above water in the Best Actress race. They’re far from the top 10, though, which I’ll get into now.