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Carey Mulligan, "Shame"
Pro: Mulligan breaks free of her ingenue image in this stunning turn as a troubled up and coming singer trying to reconnect with her brother (Michael Fassbender). The former best actress nominee for "An Education" could be a surprise benefactor of critics' awards. It's worth noting she was also superb in Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive" which has a lot of fans in the industry.
Con: No one knows how "Shame's" NC-17 rating and sexually explicit nature will be received by the Academy. Mulligan is also unable to do a lot of campaigning or promotion for "Shame" in December as she's busy shooting Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby."