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Jessica Chastain - 'Zero Dark Thirty'
Pro: She's the confirmed lead of the film and the toughness of her character, a CIA agent driven by an obsession to capture Osama Bin Laden, could really stand out from the pack. She was also last year's "it" girl on the verge of breaking out in a big way (and indeed, she landed an Oscar nomination for her work in "The Help").
Con: Will Kathryn Bigelow's film, shrouded in mystery to date, be perceived as more of a procedural, plot-driven thing than a performance piece? And if not, could Chastain fade into the vast ensemble? I suppose we'll see soon enough, but for now, the film is one of the season's few great unknowns.
- Kristopher Tapley