Meryl Streep Edges With Viola Davis For Best Actress Oscar

Meryl Streep is competing with Viola Davis for the best actress Oscar, with four women in the race.

Rooney Mara and Michelle Williams, Streep and Davis have been racking up the prizes this awards season, and one of them will likely take home the Academy Award Sunday.

It appeared as if one actress had the edge for her role as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady” up until recently, when leading U.K. bookmaker William Hill tipped the odds in favor of the other for playing Southern maid Aibileen Clark in “The Help.”

“It reminds me of the Super Bowl, which went to the very end,” Hollywood.com’s Paul Dergarabedian told ABCNews.com. “I think it’s going to be a nail-biter until they open that envelope.”

Even the critics and fellow actors are divided about who’s best. In case you haven’t been keeping a tally: Streep won the Golden Globe, the British BAFTA and the New York Film Critics Award for her role as Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady.” Davis claimed the Screen Actors Guild and Broadcast Film Critics awards

“The issue is how much people love ‘The Help’ versus ‘The Iron Lady,'” Yahoo! Movies contributing editor Thelma Adams told ABCNews.com. “‘Iron Lady’ isn’t a favorite movie going in, but sometimes the actor can be the one representing the movie.”

Travers agreed that Davis has an edge because “she’s in the only movie of the nine nominated that people actually saw.” “The Help” grossed close to $170 million at the U.S. box office.

Then there are the roles, themselves, which couldn’t be more different.

Streep donned a lifelike silicone mask, a fake set of teeth, 20 full neck pieces, 20 sets of cheeks and 40 sets of noses to portray Thatcher through the years. Travers called the role “King Lear for girls,” and said Streep “captured it very movingly.”

Davis’ role in “The Help” was much quieter. Her co-star Octavia Spencer, the favorite to win best supporting actress, had the “showy part,” Traver said, “but Viola is the soul of the film. We see everything register on her face. It’s a tougher kind of acting.”




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