OscarWatch: Best Supporting Actress

21 Jan

Since the Academy Award nominations will be announced bright and early Tuesday morning (!) I thought I’d do seven OscarWatch posts for the main races: Screenplay (encompassing both Original and Adapted), Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Lead Actor, Lead Actress, Director and Picture.

In them I’ll detail my thoughts on the given race and how I think things are starting to shape up considering we have now seen most of the precursor awards and count with BAFTA and SAG nominations. I’ll give my personal Top 20, with a brief paragraph on each, for any given race and detail which I think will be the nominees for the Oscars come Tuesday. In this post I’ll tackle…


I’ll give my Top 20 performances given by supporting actresses in 2010, my brief thoughts on each and then I’ll say how I think the Oscar nominations for the category will look once they’re announced on Tuesday.

As for the state of this race, I’ll actually go ahead and declare this one my favorite race this year, for the sheer number of women I think have a decent shot at the trophy. Melissa Leo seems like the favorite, but Amy Adams is my personal favorite and Helena Bonham Carter could also provide an upset. So yes, this one is the one I’m not sure how to predict just yet, and we’ll have to see how it evolves with the BAFTAs and SAGs.

Personal Top 20

  1. Amy Adams (for The Fighter) – My favorite supporting actress turn of the year is one from one of my favorite actresses around. The flashier role in the movie goes to her co-star (and awards season rival) Melissa Leo, who has been dominating the awards, but in a perfect world it would be Adams picking up that golden man come February.
  2. Mila Kunis (for Black Swan) – My favorite film of the year, and Mila Kunis has been getting some kudos for her role in it, hopefully the Oscars will grant her a nomination, too. If Natalie Portman’s role in the film was to be something, Mila Kunis’ role was to be the opposite of that something. And she did that wonderfully, feeling us with intrigue about her, with fascination about her confidence and demeanor, just a really well acted role.
  3. Melissa Leo (for The Fighter) – The ladies of The Fighter will end up sparring for this award. Melissa Leo is the odds-on favorite, being a fav amongst actors and having reaped through the precursors. And her performance is indeed pretty incendiary, as she gets to tear through some very beefy scenes.
  4. Jacki Weaver (for Animal Kingdom) – The fact that Jacki Weaver is getting this amazing movie noticed is reward enough in my opinion. But how she creates one of the most effective villains of the year in this film about the Australian underground crime is fascinating to watch.
  5. Barbara Hershey (for Black Swan) – Her performance in Black Swan is amazing, if I had to pick a lady out of this film to get a nod here it would be Mila Kunis, but in a perfect world they’d both make the cut. Her overbearing mother was just a spectacular creation from her.
  6. Helena Bonham Carter (for The King’s Speech) – The actors in The King’s Speech are all first-class, and Helena Bonham Carter is no exception, her performance is exquisite as everything she other does and will no doubt get her her second Oscar nomination.
  7. Elle Fanning (for Somewhere) – Every year there’s a child actress or actor trying to get in the supporting race, this year it seems that will be Hailee Steinfeld (though she may go Lead), but in my mind Elle Fanning is the one that should get all the kudos, she’s just adorable and strong and amazing here.
  8. Hailee Steinfeld (for True Grit) – As I said, the child performer of the year to me is Elle Fanning, but Hailee Steinfeld is literally right below her. She’s ferocious in True Grit, handling her own against Jeff Bridges throughout the entirety of the film. The thing with her is whether she’ll be deemed as Lead (like in the BAFTAs) or Supporting (like in the SAGs).
  9. Greta Gerwig (for Greenberg) – She was my favorite “find” of the year, an actress I saw for the first time in a great film and soon fell in love with her. And her performance is just as good as Ben Stiller’s in this one, and yet nobody seems to be noticing either of them.
  10. Keira Knightley (for Never Let Me Go) – Again, this is my pick for the most under-appreciated film of 2010, everyone here is amazing, and Keira Knightley is no exception, she’s just a very good actress and I can’t help but think an Oscar is firmly in her future.
  11. Marion Cotillard (for Inception) – The fantastic thing about Inception is just how much character development there is in the midst of all the mind-bending plot points we have to keep track of. Marion Cotillard plays an essential part in the film, and she’s marvelous as Mal.
  12. Rebecca Hall (for The Town) – As became apparent in the post I did for Best Supporting Actor, I think The Town is filled with spectacular performances across the board. And Rebecca Hall is one of the best in it, she dons a very convincing accent considering she’s British, and has a couple of heartbreaking moments in this one.
  13. Dianne Weist (for Rabbit Hole) – Nicole Kidman is the one that will get all the Rabbit Hole attention, as she should, but her scenes with Dianne Weist are the most dynamite, and it’s for a reason, here’s an actress who’s just terrific in anything she’s in, and knows how to totally own a part.
  14. Olivia Williams (for The Ghost Writer) – Olivia Williams is very very good in this one, and I’m guessing that if the film had been released later then she would have probably end up nominated. Some very good acting chops in display from her here.
  15. Kristin Scott Thomas (for Nowhere Boy) – Kristin Scott Thomas is one of those actresses that, when she’s at the top of her game, can go right ahead and steal a movie away from anyone. She does just that in Nowhere Boy, a remarkable little film that more people should have seen, she’s just splendid in it.
  16. Ruth Sheen (for Another Year) – Lesley Manville will get all the attention this film will get, acting-wise, but Ruth Sheen is just as amazing here, playing the woman who Manville’s character leans on all too much, and giving the film that ability to feel so relatable to us, much like all of Mike Leigh’s films.
  17. Michelle Williams (for Shutter Island) – This is just so that I can give a kudos to Michelle Williams, who I’ll always give as many kudos as I can to. No, but she’s seriously good here, another film that I feel as though it would have gotten much more awards love had it been released later on during the year.
  18. Sissy Spacek (for Get Low) – I’m a big fan of Get Low, and that is mostly because every actor in it is sincerely spectacular, and Sissy Spacek is a veteran of the screen, and she’s her usual impeccable self in this one, too.
  19. Miranda Richardson (for Made in Dagenham) – She just got the BAFTA nod, and while I think her performance in the film is delightful I wouldn’t count her as part of my Top 5, but still, this is a very good performance by a remarkably consistent actress, she just can’t do no wrong.
  20. Ellen Page (for Inception) – I was considering going for more conventional picks here, but I just love Ellen Page in anything she’s in, and I loved Inception, so I picked her. I know her performance wasn’t the most remarkable of the film, not by far, but I still think no one else could have played Ariadne this well, she’ll always be a favorite of mine.

How I Think the Oscar Nominations Will Look Like (in alphabetical order)

  • Amy Adams (for The Fighter)
  • Helena Bonham Carter (for The King’s Speech)
  • Mila Kunis (for Black Swan)
  • Melissa Leo (for The Fighter)
  • Hailee Steinfeld (for True Grit)

Here’s the thing with this hypothetical nominations outlook. It all depends on whether Hailee Steinfeld is voted as Lead or Supporting Actress, if she’s deemed as a Supporting one then I think she’ll definitely make the cut, and the fifth slot would be between Mila Kunis, who I picked here, and Jacki Weaver. If she’s voted as Lead then my guess is that both Ms. Kunis and Ms. Weaver will make the cut.


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