My winner: Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
For my money — which consists of a twenty-dollar bill, a partially used CVS gift card, and one share of Groupon — Jessica Chastain played the finest part in 2012. Zero Dark Thirty was a brilliant film, and Chastain portrayed what was essentially the only main character. Her don't-eff-with-me intensity made all seven hours of the movie gripping. Oh yeah, and then there was the raid part at the end. That was neat, too.
Their Winner: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Here's the ulimate cop-out: I don't disagree with this. Beyond the fact that J-Law masterfully made crazy seem so cool on screen, a win for her would treat us all to one of her signature affably sweet speeches. Swoon.