The Academy has announced seven advancing finalists in the race for Best Makeup, and among the chosen are the Meryl Streep-starrer "The Iron Lady," which transformed the beloved actress into former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Another film that transformed a recognizable actor into a famous political figure, Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar," was snubbed, as was comic book blockbuster "Green Lantern" (which featured impressive, heightened work on actor Peter Sarsgaard but was obviously not well-received by critics or audiences).

The makeup branch tends to go its own way, though, regardless of perceived quality. And the branch can often throw a curve ball, as it did two years ago by advancing and ultimately nominating Paolo Sorrentino's "Il Divo" and again this year by standing up for Joann Sfar's Serge Gainsbourg biopic "Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life."

It's significant when something like that suddenly pops up. When "Il Divo" was shortlisted, one had to figure that if it would make it that far, then perhaps it was likely on its way to a nomination. The same could be said for Sfar's film.

Other films that made the cut included "Albert Nobbs," which transformed Glenn Close into a homely woman posing as a man in 19th century Ireland, as well as Roland Emmerich's period film "Anonymous." Best Picture contenders "The Artist" and "Hugo" were also in the mix, as was "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2."

Speaking of which, the only other Harry Potter films to make it this far in the process were "The Sorcerer's Stone," "The Prisoner of Azkaban" and "The Order of the Phoenix." The makeup on the film's closing installment, though, was perhaps the most elaborate to date, a number of goblins featured, all of them sporting better makeup than similar characters in past films from the series. Could it be a formidable contender for a nomination? Quite possibly.

From here, on Saturday, January 21, all members of the Academy's makeup branch will be invited to view 10-minute excerpts from each of the seven shortlisted films. Following the screenings, members will vote to nominate three films for final Oscar consideration.

Right now, my guesses are those three will be "The Artist," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" and "The Iron Lady." But I wouldn't be surprised if "Anonymous," "Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life" (which Guy is predicting) or especially "Hugo" made the cut.

Once again, the seven films advancing for a potential Best Makeup nomination from the Academy are:

"Albert Nobbs"

"Anonymous"

"The Artist"

"Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life"

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"

"Hugo"

"The Iron Lady"

What are your guesses?

For year-round entertainment news and awards season commentary follow @kristapley on Twitter.

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