Another round of living legends vs. young ingeues
Judi Dench, 'Skyfall'
Pro: An Oscar winner in 1999 for "Shakespeare in Love," Dame Judi Dench has been nominated six times overall. She's also won a slew of BAFTAs, two Golden Globe Awards, two SAG Awards and a Tony. And like fellow contenders Maggie Smith, Daniel Day-Lewis and Robert De Niro, Dench is one of the most respected actors the past 25 years. That means her voting peers will take any of her performances quite seriously. She's also assisted by the fact it's the best Bond role M's had yet, she has some fantastic scenes with both Javier Bardem and Daniel Craig and is featured in an emotional ending that almost unexpected for a 007 film.
Con: Well, it is a Bond film. Over 50 years the franchise has received only seven nominations overall and none of them in a major category (and certainly not an acting nod). Also, Dench has now played M seven times. To say her nomination would be historical in that respect is something of an understatement.