10 outside-the-box considerations as the Academy votes

Performances that could use a look

<p>Elle Fanning in &quot;Ginger &amp;&nbsp;Rosa&quot;</p>

Elle Fanning in "Ginger & Rosa"

Credit: A24

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With ballots in Academy members hands as of yesterday, the great settling is off and running. Various critics groups and top 10 lists have narrowed the pile enough that voters have a pretty good idea of the landscape in each category. More than that, "frontrunners" have staked their claim on the race, leaving precious little space for dark horses to maneuver.

Then again, even dark horses have their champions. Denis Lavant isn't likely to get his due recognition for one of the year's best performances in "Holy Motors," but at least he's on the radar. His film, after all, is faring well on the top 10 circuit and he pops up enough on the critics circuit (albeit in the form of a "runner-up"). The same could be said of a few stragglers, the contenders Academy members know are there, they just aren't getting much of the focus.

But what about those who don't even get the benefit of an afterglow for also-ran status? What about the truly outside-the-box players that could use a modicum of attention. Well, that's where we'd like to step in.

Guy and I put our heads together and cooked up a list of 10 performances we feel deserve to at least be on the periphery of the Academy's attention as they sit down to fill out ballots. No one wants a collective pulled from the same, tired, whittled down pools, so we're looking to expand those pools again. In some cases it might be a film we feel need only be seen to understand the power of a performance. In others, it might be a performance in a film that's surely on the radar but might get lost in the shuffle.

In all cases, we're just looking to beef up the slate. It's always a good thing to expand horizons, no? So click through the gallery below for a look at our picks, and feel free to offer up your own in the comments section below.

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Kristopher Tapley
Editor-at-Large
Kristopher Tapley has covered the film awards landscape for over a decade. He founded In Contention in 2005. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Times of London and Variety. He begs you not to take any of this too seriously.
2013-2014 OSCAR NOMINATIONS
UPDATED: MARCH 2, 2014