The Oscars love nothing more than a role that allows an actress to a) portray a historical figure or b) completely transform herself physically. (And, lest we forget, some combination thereof, i.e. Charlize Theron's chilling turn as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in 2003's "Monster"). This year's Best Actress field is no exception, with four of the five nominees falling squarely into one of these categories.

Representing real-life ladies we have Meryl Streep as first female British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady" and Michelle Williams as breathy blond bombshell Marilyn Monroe in "My Week With Marilyn." In the transformation category is Rooney Mara, all pierced and tatted as punk-hacker Lisbeth Salander in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," and Glenn Close playing a woman playing a man in the period drama "Albert Nobbs." And the wildcard nominee? "The Help" star Viola Davis.

Yet, despite her non-conformity, Davis may just be the lady going home Sunday night with Oscar. Can anyone top her? Here are our predictions for Best Actress.

Who will win: The big-screen adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's 2009 novel has been riding a wave of accolades this awards season, notching several wins at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, including awards for Davis, co-star Octavia Spencer and the entire ensemble cast. (In fact, we've already predicted a win for Spencer in the Best Supporting Actress category too.) Despite Williams and Streep both scoring Golden Globes for their respective roles, we expect Davis triumph thanks to her moving portrayal of Southern maid Aibileen Clark in this racially charged, yet uplifting film.

Who should win: Davis is a strong contender to be sure, but going on sheer dedication alone, the trophy should go to relative newcomer Mara. The girl pierced her nipple for goodness' sake! Mara has so embodied Stieg Larsson's embattled heroine that we've been having a hard time separating her on-screen persona from her off-screen, as she continues to walk carpets sporting Salander's raven locks and even darker wardrobe. Sure, the film didn't perform as well as many had hoped, but it had nothing to do with Mara's gritty performance. As it turns out, we're a fool for a good transformation role too.

Who do you think will take home the Oscar for Best Actress? Leave your comment below!