Ballots are in hand and the last push to this Friday's poll deadline is tight and spirited. The guilds have done a nice job of shaking things up somewhat, offering some nominees here and there that were a bit unexpected, but they haven't exactly turned the usual order of things on its ear, either.

Nevertheless, now is the time when you cross your fingers for completely left-field picks from the Academy's membership (most of which has likely already turned in its ballot by now), but mainly hope for some bubble contenders that are highly deserving to fall on the right side of the line come Tuesday, January 24.

Enter this installment of the lists, which is an attempt to look at the race somewhat realistically by offering up some bubble-contending suggestions to the few holdouts still staring at blanks on their ballot and hoping for inspiration.

There are a number of films, performers and artists in contention for Oscar consideration this year that need just a little push. They thrive on the outskirts of categories, not at all out of the conversation, but dangerously close to losing a grip on whatever exposure they might have. They win critics awards, they get nominations here and there, but for whatever reason, they haven't closed the deal as sure-fire Oscar nominees.

Of course, that's not the worst position to be in. Foregone conclusions fall by the wayside year after year for a variety of reasons: bloated hype, over-exposure on the circuit, etc. The majority of these don't have that problem and might even appear fresh to many, despite being somewhat in the conversation throughout.

They are our top 10 bubble contenders to consider, so head on over to our new gallery to see what they are and our reasoning for choosing them. Both Guy and I contributed to the list. Feel free to offer up your own or some added considerations in the comments section below.

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

Sign up for Instant Alerts from In Contention!