Role: Cutthroat divorce lawyer Nora Fanshaw.
In her favor: Her acid commentary is a welcome chaser to the mopey self-absorption of the two principals. She adroitly seesaws between confidential girlfriend and hard-as-nails advocate. You’d want her in your corner. (Globes winner/S/B)
Then again: Seemingly channeling her brittle Renata from “Big Little Lies,” she can be abrasively one-note.
Role: Amy March, the spoiled and willful youngest member of the family.
In her favor: Pugh accomplishes something miraculous here: She makes Amy likable and, crucially, understandable (hey, Laurie — we get it). Her bright impertinence is the vinegar that cuts the treacle. (B)
Then again: She had a breakout year (see “Midsommar”), but might the Academy figure this is an actress who’ll have plenty of future chances?
Role: Bobi Jewell, mother of a bombing suspect.
In her favor: She has center stage in the most affecting scene of the film, as she begs for her son to be cleared. She’s the epitome of the loving parent who only wanted her son to realize his dreams but finds herself in a nightmare. And she’s a pro whom the Academy has rewarded before. (G)
Then again: She and her film have been largely absent from awards chatter.
Role: Rosie Betzler, kindhearted mother to a high-spirited boy.
In her favor: Her German accent is both warm and no-nonsense. It’s such a different character from the one she plays in “Marriage Story” that her versatility might be rewarded. And she’s made for sturdy Nordic knitwear and perky Tyrolean hats. (S/B)
Then again: It’s a polarizing movie. And a double nominee hasn’t won since 2004.
Role: Kayla Pospisil, a composite of several Fox News up-and-comers.
In her favor: She walks a flawless line between naiveté and, um, naked ambition as a conflicted cog in the Fox machine. Not having to imitate an actual person, as her co-stars did, frees her to create her character from whole cloth. (G/S/B)
Then again: She might not get the credit those co-stars did, either.
Missed the cut:
Role: Ramona Vega, ringleader of a band of strippers-turned-grifters.
Why she deserved a nod: She electrifies the screen and drips charisma — she’s warm and motherly, then cold and calculating. And in everything from a G-string to an Old Navy hoodie, she shows us how spectacular 50 looks. (G/S)
Then again: Apparently we just can’t forgive a little thing called “Gigli.”