Julian Finney/Getty Images
Allyson Felix, Team USA Sprinter: Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
Chastain plays a CIA officer named Maya who is determined to locate Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts by any means necessary, no matter the controversial methods. Ultimately, we know that the mission was successful.
In the London Olympics, Felix became the first American woman to win three gold medals in athletics since Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988. There was, however, a slight controversy regarding steroids, given Felix's prowess.
Felix was determined to put any steroid involvement to rest by regularly volunteering for additional tests and joining the Project Believe cause, which promotes drug-free competition.
She has not failed once.
Brittney Griner, Baylor Lady Bears: Naomi Watts (The Impossible)
Watts stars in the true story of a family separated by a catastrophic tsunami, struggling to survive and find one another.
Griner has been accomplishing seemingly impossible tasks in her collegiate career.
She has the all-time single-season record for blocked shots, which she accomplished as a freshman. She averaged 23.2 points and five blocks per game, leading Baylor to an NCAA record 40 wins in its undefeated 2012 championship season.
The 6’8” Griner is also impossibly large—she wears a men’s size 18 shoe!
Serena Williams, Professional/Team USA Tennis: Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
Lawrence's character, Tiffany, deals with personal struggles throughout the movie.
Serena Williams was dealing with a foot injury that did not allow her to compete very much in 2011. However, she found a silver lining, healed up and stormed back onto the scene in 2012.
Having not won a Grand Slam title since 2010, Williams won the U.S. Open and Wimbledon, in addition to the gold medal in London last year. As of February 18, 2013, she is back to being the No. 1 ranked player in the WTA.
Missy Franklin, Team USA Swimmer: Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
Wallis is not a household name yet—nor is Beasts of the Southern Wild a summer blockbuster—but she is only nine years old and the youngest actress ever to be nominated for the prestigious award.
Missy Franklin is basically the female equivalent of Michael Phelps—except that she’s extremely young for her talent. At 17, she won five medals in the 2012 Olympics, four of them gold.
Wallis and Franklin: young, talented and likely to be heard from for years to come.
Alex Morgan, Team USA Soccer: Emmanuelle Riva (Amour)
This one is going to be a stretch of the imagination.
In Amour, a husband and wife in their 80s struggle with love and family issues as one of them experiences deteriorating health. Not exactly the most uplifting movie.
So how does this relate to Alex Morgan? First, let’s recall our French from earlier with Les Miserables and apply it here. Amour means love.
For the Women’s National Team, Morgan led Team USA in goals (28), multi-goal games (9), assists (21) and points (77) and was named 2012 Female Athlete of the Year.
Morgan’s efforts on the field showed her genuine love—yes, that’s the corniest but best relation I could come up with—for the game, her country and her teammates.
In addition to her team-leading stats, she also scored the latest goal (123rd minute) in women’s Olympic
soccer football history as the U.S. defeated Canada, propelling them to the finals.
And the Oscar goes to...Jennifer Lawrence.