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Oscar Poll

Oscar handicap: How will the raging Woody Allen controversy affect the Best Actress race?

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Cate Blanchette in red dress in Blue Jasmine
Cate Blanchett remains the odd-on favorite for Best Actress for her role in Blue Jasmine. SonyClassics.com
Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in Gravity
Sandra Bullock, left, and George Clooney, in Gravity. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Amy Adams and Christian Bale in American Hustle
Adam Adams, left, and Christian Bale in American Hustle. Photo by Francois Duhamel/Annapurna Productions
August Osage County with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts
Meryl Streep, left, and Julia Roberts in August Osage County. Photo courtesy of Toronto International Film Festival
Philomena with Judi Dench and Steve Coogan
Judi Dench, left, and Steve Coogan, in Philomena. The Weinstein Co.
Cate Blanchette in red dress in Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in Gravity
Amy Adams and Christian Bale in American Hustle
August Osage County with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts
Philomena with Judi Dench and Steve Coogan

In this year's Oscar race, Cate Blanchett remains the Best Actress front runner for her bravura role as a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown who moves in with her sister in Blue Jasmine. But lately, the race doesn't seem as much of a sure thing since the controversy over the messy private life of the film's director Woody Allen resurfaced.

 Lately, the Best Actress race doesn't seem as much of a sure thing since the controversy over the messy private life of the film's director Woody Allen resurfaced. 

After Allen was honored with a lifetime achievement award at last month's Golden Globes, the now-adult daughter of his one-time companion, Mia Farrow, renewed allegations that he had molested her when she was 7. Allen has denied the allegations and was never charged with a crime. He attributes the controversy to Farrow's fury after she found out about his affair with her adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn in 1992.  (Allen and Previn married in 1997.)

Susan Wloszczyna, who writes for IndieWire.com’s Women in Hollywood blog, told NBC News that Oscar voters have a track record of judging a performer’s work and not their personal lives. Besides,"Cate didn’t do anything except work with this man,” Wloszczyna said. 

But Russell Crowe didn't win a Best Actor Oscar for 2001's A Beautiful Mind after exhibiting bad behavior, Tom O'Neil of GoldDerby.com points out. (Crowe assaulted a producer and threw a phone at a hotel clerk.) And hard-drinking and partying actors Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton inexplicably never won Oscars.

Blanchett has plenty of competition in this year's Oscar race if voters decide to look elsewhere: Sandra Bullock as a medical engineer stranded in space in Gravity, Amy Adams as a con artist who persuades a small-time operator to expand the scope of his scams in American Hustle, Meryl Streep as an Oklahoma matriarch whose complicated relationship with three grown daughters resurfaces when they return home for their father's funeral in August Osage County, and Judi Dench as a woman searching for the child she was forced to give up for adoption years ago in Philomena.

Pick your favorite and you could win a year of free movies at Sundance Cinemas.

CultureMap has teamed with Hotel Derek for our third annual Pick the Oscar Winners contest.  Here's how it works — Cast your vote in any or all of the following categories:

Best Actress: Through Feb. 16
Best Actor: Feb. 17 - 23
Best Picture: Feb. 24 - March 1

Everyone who votes will be entered to win an annual pass to Sundance Cinemas for you and a guest. Even better? The more you vote, the better chance you have of scoring this sweet prize. So go crazy and vote once a day.

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