The Alternative Awards is a weekly column that highlights actors, actresses and films that are flying way under the awards radar, but still deserve a second glance. It will run on Tuesdays throughout awards season.

We have tackled the Supporting Actors and now it is time to look at the ladies. In what might be the most wide open category in the entire race, a couple of handy reminders might actually do some good for voters. Helena Bonham Carter ('The King's Speech') may be the one and only lock at this point. The only one-time Oscar nominee may even be the favorite to win as part of a potential sweep for Tom Hooper's great film. Her closest competition could be either Melissa Leo or Amy Adams, depending on which actress from 'The Fighter' voters can make up their mind upon. Adams may have the edge, but both can easily be nominated.

After that it is a virtual pick 'em of possibilities starting with Dianne Wiest ('Rabbit Hole') and Marion Cotillard ('Inception'). There appears to be some heat building for Miranda Richardson ('Made In Dagenham'). If Michelle Williams gets shut out for 'Blue Valentine,' she could still get in for 'Shutter Island' here. We have yet to see if the discovery of Hailee Steinfeld ('True Grit') will be worth a nomination or just some consolation into the Breakthrough Performance categories. And finally it might take some acknowledgement from the critics' awards to secure nods for Jacki Weaver ('Animal Kingdom') and Ruth Sheen ('Another Year').