A photo of Shailene Woodley in The Fault in Our Stars (via Collider).
Role: Hazel Grace Lancaster, a young woman with terminal thyroid cancer
Why? Woodley almost scored a nod for The Descendants (2011), so she’s been on Oscar’s radar before. This young-adult romance about cancer patients opened to $48 million in the States – and grossed more than $120 million by the end of its domestic run – so saying that it’s something of a cultural phenomenon is a bit of an understatement. (Some have even compared Fault to Arthur Hiller’s Love Story (1970), which picked up several major nods – including one for leading actress Ali MacGraw.) As awards season kicks off, Woodley remains one of the only legitimate contenders whose film debuted and succeeded in the U.S. market.
Why not? The critical response to Fault was good but hardly enthusiastic; Oscar voters rarely recognize material aimed at young adults. If Woodley gains traction, she’ll compete against fellow breakthroughs Felicity Jones and Rosamund Pike – both of whom star in legitimate awards contenders.
Ranking: No. 13 as of Sept. 12, 2014
More on the competition:
Best Actress in a Leading Role 2014
See also (pages coming soon):
Best Original Song 2014: “All of the Stars” from The Fault in Our Stars (more)
Best Original Song 2014: “Let Me In” from The Fault in Our Stars (more)
Best Original Song 2014: “Not About Angels” from The Fault in Our Stars (more)