There's no good roles for women anymore? The Oscar-worthy choices for Best Actress for 2009 are slim pickings? I call shenanigans! SHENANIGANS! Movie marketing may be largely male-centric, but if you think it was tough for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to come up with five ladies worthy of Oscar recognition, then you simply aren't seeing enough movies.

Off the top of my head, I can think of five additional amazing actresses in five amazing performances that will be snubbed this Sunday night when ABC airs the 82nd annual awards ceremony. Consider this the "alternate team"...

  • Zoe Saldana for Avatar -- The only mo-cap performer to give Andy Serkis a run for his money, Saldana is the emotionally raw centerpiece in an excessive fantasy spectacle. I'm starting to believe she's the real secret weapon to Avatar's success.
  • Rachel Weisz for The Brothers Bloom -- Weisz has never been more charming than in the scene where she experiences her first kiss. I don't really throw around the word "winsome", but, yeah, she's just so damned winsome.
  • Maya Rudolph for Away We Go -- Rudolph's first outing as a leading lady reveals her to be a down-to-earth screen presence, accessibly beautiful, with a dramatic range that rivals her SNL-honed comedic chops.
  • Melanie Laurent for Inglourious Basterds -- This is by far the snubbiest of the Oscar snubs. I can't fathom why Laurent didn't end up making the cut. It's a fierce, sit-up-and-take-notice role, with some of the best scenes an actress was given in 2009, from simply changing a theatre marquee while trying to avoid conversation with a Nazi war hero, to her intense dessert with the man who killed her family, all leading up to her part in the film's fiery, unforgettable finale. Laurent is an honest-to-God movie star.
  • Charlotte Gainsbourg for Anti-Christ -- There is no female performance in 2009 that matches the unholy fearlessness of Gainsbourg in Anti-Christ. She just goes there as an actress, wholly placing her trust in a mad director with a prickly question -- are women inherently evil? Gainsbourg is terrifying, heartbreaking, and frightened, and many times all three at once. Regardless of how the film was received, she deserves recognition.
What other great female performances from 2009 belong on our Oscar alternate team?