Carey Mulligan (Getty photo)

Carey Mulligan (Getty photo)

We may be in trouble, folks. Even though the Academy has opened up Best Picture to 10 nominees, there seems to be a shortage of choices in another category.

There’s an alarming scarcity in the Best Actress division. Not only has this been a pretty terrible year for movies in general, it’s been worse for women. For some reason, no one’s written them any good leading roles. There are plenty in the Supporting Actress category, but very few and far between in lead.

Here’s what we’ve got to pull from: Meryl Streep in either “It’s Complicated” or “Julie & Julia“; Renee Zellweger in “My One and Only“; newcomer Carey Mulligan in “An Education“; two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank in “Amelia“; Emily Blunt in “The Young Victoria“; Mimi Kennedy in “In The Loop“; Evan Rachel Wood in “Whatever Works”; Penelope Cruz in “Broken Embraces“; Rachel Weisz in “The Lovely Bones“; Natalie Portman in “Brothers“; Ellen Page in “Whip It” and perhaps one of the many actresses from “Nine,” although they seem to be supporting parts.

Of course, if HBO had released “Grey Gardens” to theatres, Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange would be in the race. Alas, they’ve gone on to get all the television awards.

Otherwise, it’s slim pickings this year. If someone out there knows of any other candidates, send them in ASAP. And P.S., who’s the breakout star in that group of names above? Carey Mulligan. Remember, you heard it here first.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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