Who do the Oscar hopefuls from this year's prestige biopics need to measure up to?
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« Previous gallery2012 Best Actress Oscar Contenders
2. Hilary Swank as Brandon Teena in "Boys Don't Cry" (1999)
The then little-known Swank caught some flak after her first Oscar win for sounding a little entitled in her acceptance speech, but she had every right to be: a major award for a minute, name-free indie dangerously addressing prickly issues of sexuality and gender qualifies as a minor miracle, as does her riveting performance within a performance as the insecure trailer-park girl who finds herself by assuming the plaid-clad form of a sensual boy drifter. Deftly negotiating layers of personal and sexual fear and release, this is career-clinching work that makes a human out of a headline.