I was impressed with Glenn Close in "Albert Nobbs" as a woman disguised as a stoic man to get a job as a waiter in a hotel more than 100 years ago. It's been a pet project of hers for years. But I don't think she'll share her room with Oscar.
Viola Davis as one of the maids in the superb film "The Help" won the critics' choice and SAG awards which gives her credibility. Octavia Spencer is a shoe in for best supporting actress. The academy likes films of significant social changes.
Rooney Mara was fascinating in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," but she's new, has time, especially with two sequels coming.
Meryl Streep was almost too real as Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady." She gets more eccentric in later years, great for acting bravada. Not a very good film, but she nails it.
And Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe in "My Week with Marilyn." a small film gives her a big stage. And it's about a Hollywood icon.
So who wins? I'll pick Meryl Streep.