Best Actress Of The Year

Best Actress 2016: who are the Oscar nominees?

Oscars history: Blanchett has won the Best Actress prize twice, for Blue Jasmine (2013) and The Aviator (2004). In 2008 she was nominated for Best Actress for Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and for Best Supporting Actress for playing Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes's I'm Not There; she also got nods as Best Actress for Elizabeth (1998) and as Best Supporting Actress for Notes on a Scandal (2006).

What the critics said: In his five-star rave for the film, Tim Robey had particular praise for Blanchett: "[she] somehow leaps over her own highest standards with a subtlety that’s little short of phenomenal." Along with a slew of ecstatic reviews, Blanchett also won a Golden Globe nomination, and may yet pick up a Bafta.

Cate Blanchett talks Carol Play! 06:11

In her own words: [In her acceptance speech for The Aviator]: "I don't have a sense of entitlement or that I deserve this. You'd be surprised at the lack of competition between nominees - I think a lot of it's imposed from the outside. Can I have my champagne now?"

Did you know?: Before she was a Hollywood darling, Blanchett was the face of Tim Tam biscuits, using a genie's lamp to summon up a never-ending packet of the Australian treats in a 1994 TV advertisement.

Age: 26

Nominated for: Room. Larson plays Ma, the brutalised young woman imprisoned in a garden shed with her five-year-old son.

Brie Larson with Jacob Tremblay in Room Credit: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock

Oscars history: This is her first Oscar nomination.

What the critics said: The film received largely positive reviews, with Larson's performance thought to be the indie actress's breakthrough into the mainstream. She won the Golden Globe for Best Actress and is nominated for a Bafta.

In her own words: "I like to play bolder characters maybe because I’m not as bold in real life. I prefer the girls that are standing for something, no matter what that is."

Room: watch the trailer Play! 02:31

Did you know?: In 2005, Larson released a teen-friendly pop album called Finally Out of PE; it sold 3, 500 copies in the US.

Jennifer Lawrence

Age: 25

Nominated for: Joy. Lawrence plays Joy Mangano, a broke single mother whose invention of the self-wringing Miracle Mop helped make her a multi-millionaire, in David O Russell's semi-fictional biopic.

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Oscars history: This is Lawrence's fourth Oscar nomination. She was first given the nod for her role in the low-budget indie Winter's Bone (2010), before winning the prize two years later for David O Russell's Silver Linings Playbook. She was also nominated in 2014 for another Russell film, American Hustle.

What the critics said: The Telegraph's Robbie Collin was enraptured by the film, praising its screwball sensibility, and naming Russell and Lawrence as "one of the great Hollywood alliances of our time".

In her own words: [When asked if winning an Oscar changed her] "Yeah, it changed my personality and my value system, absolutely. Why wouldn't it?"

Joy: watch the trailer Play! 02:22

Did you know?: Jennifer Lawrence's estimated million earnings in 2015 made her the year's best-paid actress.

Age: 69

Charlotte Rampling plays Kate in 45 Years Credit: Agatha A Nitecka

Nominated for: 45 Years. Rampling plays a placid, dog-walking, tea-drinking middle-class Brit, whose marriage hits the rocks after the body of her husband's first love is discovered decades after her death.

Oscars history: This is Rampling's first Oscar nomination.

What the critics said: "Rampling can be a stalactite of icy rage if directed that way, or a repressed, spinsterish presence – she’s like cinema’s black widow, " wrote the Telegraph's Tim Robey. "She’s rarely been better than she is here."

45 Years: watch the trailer Play! 02:10

In her own words: Rampling made headlines when she waded into the Oscars diversity row, saying the discussion was "racist to white people."

Did you know?: Rampling's father was a gold-medal-winning Olympic swimmer.

Age: 21

Nominated for: Brooklyn. Ronan plays a young woman forced to move from 1950s rural Ireland to New York in Nick Hornby's adaptation of Colm Tóibín’s coming-of-age novel.

Domhnall Gleeson and Saoirse Ronan in 'Brooklyn'

Oscars history: The Irish actress was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in 2007 for her role in Joe Wright's Atonement.

What the critics said: The Telegraph's Tim Robey wrote that this was "easily her most mature performance, and she steps up to the occasion with captivating sensitivity." Ronan has also been nominated for a Bafta, though she lost out to Brie Larson after being nominated for a Golden Globe.

In her own words: [On being nominated for an Oscar]: "It's kind of a bit weird actually, in a good way, in a fantastic way. I'm really proud as well that two Irish paddies have been nominated for an Oscar for the same film. It's really great for Ireland, great."

Brooklyn: watch the trailer Play! 02:32

Did you know?: Ronan auditioned for the role of Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but lost out to Evanna Lynch.

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