Best Actress this year is really pointless to predict, since Cate Blanchett is going to win.
1. Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Off the top of my head, the only big prize that Cate Blanchett hasn't bagged is the National Board of Review, which was given to Emma Thompson. Cate Blanchett though- total class act, just sweeping the the circuits with her brilliant work.
2. Sandra Bullock, Gravity
It's amazing that Sandra Bullock can go from fierce motherly performances such as The Blind Side to hilarious rom-coms (The Proposal), to this. A tour-de-force, an emotional triumph, a plateau of humanity in an out-of-this-world waltz. If The Blind Side never happened, Bullock would be a lot stronger of a contender, but people just don't like the sound of "Sandra Bullock, two-time Oscar winner", do they?
3. Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
It's a total crotchety performance, but its the best thing about the movie. Sure its soapier than a Dove bar, but its better than what it should be by Thompson's layered performance. The Academy is sure to love it too.
4. Judi Dench, Philomena
Based off a true story, with Harvey Weinstein by her side. Yep, it's safe for a nom, I think.
5. Amy Adams, American Hustle
Hot off the Golden Globes win, Amy Adams I think can squeak out over the Meryl Streep. Sure, what Meryl does is chew scenery like bubble gum in August: Osage County, but Amy Adams is in the Best Picture contender. Also, her sexy sideboob never hurt anyone either.
Still, don't be surprised if Meryl gets a nomination because she's working with Harvey Weinstein too. If you want to be especially risky, put chips down on Adele Exarchopolous for Blue is the Warmest Color. I can only pray for a nomination for Brie Larson (Short Term 12), but that's wishful thinking.