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4. Maria Bello in "A History of Violence"
William Hurt may have nabbed the Oscar nod for his ripe crime-lord cameo, but it's Bello who deserved the lion's share of plaudits for Cronenberg's sinewy 2005 thriller: as the wife uncertainly watching the emergence of a new husband, she imbues what could be a stock role with stark, intelligent carnality and moral elasticity. The Academy preferred Frances McDormand in "North Country" to this?
Top honors: Best Supporting Actress winner, New York Film Critics' Circle; Best Actress (Drama) nominee, Golden Globe Awards