I am pissing myself with excitement now at this. Empire has reviewed it and they completely RAVED it up and down. Most notably is this part of the review.
”if McAvoy impresses once again, it’s Knightley who finally stakes her claim in a grown-up part. Those cut-glass tones are exactly posh enough to fit Cecilia, a more brittle role than the feisty grrrrls she’s played before and one more suited to her delicate beauty. She might want to specify that Wright direct every film she makes in the future.
Romola Garai gets the more difficult role, a character who lives an almost entirely internal life. She does a fine job, but frankly she’s eclipsed by Saoirse Ronan as her 13 year-old self.”
Looks likely we may have another young supporting actress nominee. Great news for Peter Jackson’s reputation.
Read this great review of Atonement.
You can also check out another review here which is not as glowing, but still strong saying:
”And what fine actresses they are! Knightley is again in top shape, showing that her Oscar nomination for Pride & Prejudice was no accident, …. She has not a whole lot of material to work with but fills the screen with a magnetic presence (reminiscent of the Hollywood stars of the 1940s and 1950s) that nevertheless leaves her enough room to simply be the character. Saoirse Ronan is equally impressive as the young Briony….
....But the real revelation of Atonement is James McAvoy, whose Robbie is so convincing that it is no wonder that Cee doesn’t care he is not from the same class as she is. His natural charm and utterly honest demeanour are a wonder to behold and are especially noteworthy in the film’s single best scene, in which Robbie and Cee meet again for the first time after his imprisonment, in a noisy canteen somewhere in wartime London. Neither of them speaks much, but the way McAvoy and Knightley play the crude, untold emotions of this long awaited and much dreamt about encounter is simply heartbreaking.”
And that should pretty much seal it's Oscars fate.