At the Jan. 30 Screen Actors Guild Awards, the competition for best actress offers perhaps the broadest selection of performers and performances to be found on any nominations ballot this season.
"It's a mix of great big movie stars and actresses who are a little less well known," says Cameron Bailey, co-director of the Toronto Intl. Film Festival.
The field includes two Oscar winners--Nicole Kidman, dealing with a family tragedy in "Rabbit Hole," and Hilary Swank, fighting to free her unjustly jailed brother in "Conviction" --and a three-time Oscar nominee, Annette Bening, as a doctor in a lesbian relationship in "The Kids Are All Right." Also up for consideration are Natalie Portman, playing an ambitious ballet dancer in "Black Swan," and relative newcomer Jennifer Lawrence as a teen determined to track down her bail-jumping father in "Winter's Bone."
"These are not necessarily heroic roles," Bailey says. "Some of the roles in the men's categories are traditional heroes, but …