Saoirse Ronan was one of the youngest actresses to ever be awarded with an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, for her brilliant turn as Briony in 'Atonement'. The film ended up surprising critics and audiences everywhere, becoming a commercial hit, earning numerous Academy Award nominations, and making a star out of Saoirse Ronan.
Since then, Saoirse's slowly increased her profile with parts in movies like 'Hanna' and 'The Host', but she hasn't really had anything to establish her on the same level as Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone, or Shailene Woodley. Part of that is because she hasn't landed a solid franchise yet [despite Star Wars rumors], but the other part is because she hasn't been in any awards-bait films recently.
That could all change with 'Mary Queen of Scots', a film that Working Title is reportedly prepping with Saoirse in mind for the lead role. The film's currently listed as 'In Development' on IMDB, which means it's likely stuck in development hell. However, with such a rich idea [focused on Mary Stuart's attempt to overthrow her cousin, Elizabeth I on England], there's no way the producers won't move ahead with this film, even if they have to wait to get it made.
It's also prime Oscar bait, especially for the lead actress. Saoirse's always had the chops to hold her own against any actor or actress, but her projects have been lacking recently. However, if the script for 'Mary Queen of Scots' is even halfway manageable, there will be major actors lining up for roles in the movie. And with Saoirse Ronan headlining the movie, perhaps she'll finally get her second Oscar nomination, and this time for lead actress?