Shailene Woodley The Descendants
The major female character of the film working opposite George Clooney and does it with great maturity and spades. Her experience from The Secret Life from the American Teenager really added to the film, dealing with a dysfunctional family as well as being the fill-in for the new mother role, again, opposite Clooney. She could have fallen in both the film in real life, but instead she does not fulfill her purpose, she gets awarded.
Kirsten Dunst Melancholia
She possibly connected her real life experience with depression in her performance in Melancholia. In the film, Justine absolutely destroys all her relationships in the film. Maybe for good reason.
Vera Farmiga Higher Ground
She may not technically be on the screen the whole thing, but she is the director, so she sort of is. You completely get to know her character through her entire life. I may not be one of them, but critics who have noted J. Edgar and Iron Lady‘s flaws point to Vera Farmiga’s Higher Ground for telling a story about a character’s life.
Keira Knightley A Dangerous Method
Sabrina Spielban is one of the most memorable characters of the year. She showed great madness and passion. Most importantly, she had to do it credibly as someone in the early 1900s. Keira Knightley had to deal with her fear of showing frontal nudity to be in the film.
Rooney Mara The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Who I would choose at the Academy Award. The hype David Fincher is giving her for her efforts in the film is well deserved.
Elizabeth Olsen Martha Marcy May Marlene
The, in my opinion, obvious best actress of the year. She had the loudest ovation at New York Film Festival. She portrayed a conflicted, vulnerable, yet tough, (teacher and leader tough,) like Ree Dolly in Winter’s Bone, socially awkward like Mark Zuckerberg in the Social Network, having dealt with the Edward Norton position with cults in Fight Club.