This is almost an emergency post: The Golden Globes are announced tomorrow and yes, while they don’t count and are kind of lame, they can’t help, but being a very strong influence on the Academy Awards. At the very least they set a mood and set a tone for better or worse. A lot of the influential critical awards are in and arguably the two-most important, L.A. and N.Y Critics polls came in today and yesterday.

It’s a terrible year for leading actresses this year. Wait, why? Because the field is so damn good and so damn crowded; to us its the strongest category in what is turning out to be a very weak year for mainstream and Oscar-bait films. Support seems to be growing for both Sally Hawkins in “Happy Go Lucky” and Melissa Leo in “Frozen River.”

This is fantastic news. Both of these films and performances are tremendously deserving and we were worried either or both would fly under the radar. Not so, so far, which is excellent. However, buzz seems to be dying for Kristen Scott Thomas’ profound turn in “I’ve Loved You So Long,” this might be the best performance of the year, period and we’re worried she might not be nominated tomorrow which won’t bode well for her Oscar chances since she doesn’t seem to be sweeping up any awards so far. We honestly think the Oscars should be considered a permanent laughing stock is she is not at least nominated.

Another actress who delivers a role far more devastating than say, Anne Hathaway – who almost seems poised for a nomination lock in the Best Actress category in both the Globes and Oscars – is Michelle Williams silently crushed and despondent turn in “Wendy & Lucy.” This Vulture interview with director Kelly Reichardt illustrates how Williams did so much with so little. There wasn’t much of a script to work with, there’s hardly any dialogue in its spare 40 pages (most scripts are 100+) and even then the production shoot was so quick, and Williams was basically improvising the whole time by simply reacting to the sparse and elements at hand. “We shot 22 locations in eighteen days. I feel like Michelle is improvising with her body all the time. And you’re improvising because you’re not blocking off a street. You’re improvising because you’re working with an untrained dog. So there are elements that are keeping her in the moment at all times.”

In October, we thought the safe bets were:
Anne Hathaway “Rachel Getting Married”
Angelina Jolie – “Changeling”
Kristen Scott Thomas – “I’ve Loved You So Long”
Kate Winslet – “Revolutionary Road”
Meryl Streep – “Doubt”

And the dark horses were:
Sally Hawkins – “Happy Go Lucky”
Kate Beckinsale – “Nothing But The Truth
Michelle Williams – “Wendy & Lucy”
Melissa Leo – “Frozen River”

Right now the safe bets are looking more like:
Meryl Streep – “Doubt”
Melissa Leo – “Frozen River”
Sally Hawkins – “Happy Go Lucky”
Anne Hathaway “Rachel Getting Married”
The fifth spot is either Winslet or Jolie and neither is garnering any loud buzz yet, but we’d give the edge to Winslet.

Our ideal 5 is this:
Kristen Scott Thomas – “I’ve Loved You So Long”
Sally Hawkins – “Happy Go Lucky”
Melissa Leo – “Frozen River”
Michelle Williams – “Wendy & Lucy”
Kate Beckinsale – “Nothing But The Truth” (we see ‘Revolutionary Road’ tonight, we might not get to ‘Doubt’ until release).

Look, we suppose we can live with Williams not earning a nomination, because the movie is do damn minimalist and tiny, it might just fly too far under the radar for most people. It’s uber-indie. But Kristen Scott Thomas? If she doesn’t earn a nomination tomorrow and by doing so grabbing some better footing towards the Oscar 5, we’re going to scream. We can’t live with that. BTW we asked in advance, but we may have missed our “Doubt” screenings for the year, ugh.