Oscars 2015: Best actress nominees
A look at the best actress nominees for the 87th Academy Awards.
WINNER: JULIANNE MOORE
Nominated for: Still Alice
The character: Moore plays 50-year-old linguistics professor Alice Howland who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease.
Oscar record: The actress has been nominated four times but has never won. Her first nomination came in 1998 in the best supporting actress category for Boogie Nights. Two years later she was up for best actress in The End of the Affair. In 2003, she landed two nominations, one for best actress in Far From Heaven and one for best supporting actress for The Hours.
The critics said: "The toll the disease takes on the life of a brilliant linguistics professor is superbly detailed by Julianne Moore in a career-high performance, driving straight to the terror of the disease and its power to wipe out personal certainties and identity." Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter
Nominated for: Two Days, One Night
The character: Sandra, a married woman with children who must persuade her workmates at a solar panel factory to forego a pay bonus if she is to keep her job.
Oscar record: The Paris-born actress won best actress in 2008 for playing the singer Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose.
The critics said: "Cotillard does not look out of place, like a starry A-lister, [and] shows what a marvellous technical actor she is: every nuance and detail is readably present on her face. She is compelling and moving." Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian.
Nominated for: The Theory of Everything
The character: Jane Wilde, the fellow student physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) fell in love with at Cambridge in the 1960s. Wilde married Hawking after he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease.
Oscar record: This is Jones' first Academy Award nomination.
The critics said: "The Theory of Everything gives Jones (an Oxford grad) the chance to take control of its emotional centre. She seizes it with spectacular subtlety, and helps make Jane the most fully realised human character... Jones proves that behind this Great Man movie is a woman - an actress - who's every bit her man's equal. Richard Corliss, Time.
Nominated for: Gone Girl
The character: Amy Dunne, a woman who mysteriously disappears, leaving her husband (Ben Affleck) under suspicion.
Oscar record: This is Pike's first nomination.
The critics said: "English actress Pike, playing an over-achieving Ivy League woman, gives the performance of her screen career so far - one, that more than a decade after her appearance in the James Bond movie Die Another Day (2002), looks set to establish her as an international star. She captures her character's Martha Stewart-like perfectionism and romantic notions about love as well as her relentless drive." Geoffrey McNab, The Independent.
Nominated for: Wild
The character: Cheryl Strayed, a woman facing up to the death of her mother and a failed marriage who decides to embark on a hike to end all hikes, the 1,100 mile section of America's Pacific Crest Trail. Solo.
Oscar record: She won a best actress Oscar in 2006 for her portrayal of June Carter in Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line.
The critics said: "Witherspoon is terrific - low-key and gritty as a woman who's lost her way and seeks to find it alone. Her voice-over narration is evocative, sometimes heartbreaking." Claudia Puig, USA Today.