Every year, there are complaints that Hollywood, which seems to have eyes only for young male moviegoers, just doesn't offer enough substantive roles for women to make the Best Actress Oscar competition into a real race. This year, however, there are nearly two dozen actresses who are solid contenders for year-end consideration.

That said, most of those contenders are going to be vying for just two open slots, since two - and probably three - of the Academy's five openings for nominees have been nailed down since July. Some of the remaining actresses will have to settle for Golden Globe nominations, where the separation of dramas from musicals and comedies means there are 10 spots instead of 5.