Oscar History

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Oscar Flashback: Supporting Actress 1998

Yesterday on twitter I ended up in a fun alternative Oscar argument with Joe, Julien, Will and Jacob and it was amusing because nobody agreed on anything...

Get your hands off ________'s rightful Oscar.

So let's expand that conversation to include TFE readers. If you'll recall had you lived through it or know the year went like so...

Winner: Judi Dench, Shakespeare in Love (also won NSFC & BAFTA)
I'm actually fine with this win (from the nominee pool, I mean) though I'm aware many internet dwellers are very anti-Shakespeare in Love



  • Kathy Bates, Primary Colors (Chicago, BFCA & SAG winner)
  • Brenda Blethyn, Little Voice
  • Rachel Griffiths, Hilary & Jackie
  • Lynn Redgrave, Gods and Monsters (Spirit & Globe winner)


So that supporting shortlist was essentially one extended cameo (Judi), three normal size supporting roles (Kathy, Brenda, Lynn) and one co-lead title character (Rachel). My feeling is that it's a dull list even though the performances are relatively good (the only nomination I objected to wholeheartedly was Blethyn's) because it's too closely tied to knee-jerk Bait when there were more inspired more challenging performances available from supporting actresses that year, many of them a bit more off the well trodden period piece prestige path.

But what surprised me more was that nobody agreed on the "wish it'd been...". What a year it was for supporting actresses. Consider these names which came up.


  • Patty Clarkson, High Art
  • Toni Collette, The Velvet Goldmine
  • Imelda Staunton, Shakespeare in Love
  • Lisa Kudrow, The Opposite of Sex (NYFCC Winner, Spirit Nominee)
  • Kate Beckinsale, The Last Days of Disco
  • Julianne Moore, The Big Lebowski
  • Joan Allen, Pleasantville (OFCS, Boston, BFCA, LAFCA & Satellite winner)

    and still more no one mentioned last night on Twitter...
  • Kimberly Elise, Beloved (Satellite winner)
  • Thandie Newton, Beloved
  • Sharon Stone, The Mighty (Globe nominee) 
  • Christina Ricci, Buffalo '66, Opposite of Sex, Pecker (Florida winner)
  • Anne Heche, Psycho
  • The Lovely Laura Linney, The Truman Show


Mine would've gone like so: Winner - Clarkson; Nominees - Dench, Collette, Kudrow and...???

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Reader Comments (71)

I loved Judi Dench in Shakespeare in Love and saw the win as a make-up award for her getting snubbed in 1997 for Mrs. Brown.

July 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErik

I really don't remember feeling or reading that Judi Dench was expected to win in 1997 for Mrs. Brown. The ones with the most traction were Julie Christie for Afterglow (NYFC Award, Spirit Award, Nat Soc of Film Critics) and Helena Bonham Carter for Wings of the Dove (9 or 10 Critics awards in the US and the UK).

Granted; Dench won the GG and 4 Critics awards; but if there was to be a dark horse, it would have been Kate Winslet for Titanic!

July 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

I can't believe I've never once commented on this site in spite of having been a follower for so long, but here goes...

Not a fan of this lineup. I guess my pick would have been Redgrave by default, although I do like Bates' final moments in Primary Colors.

My picks:
1. Patricia Clarkson, High Art
2. Lisa Kudrow, The Opposite of Sex
3. Kate Beckinsale, The Last Days of Disco
4. Joan Allen, Pleasantville
5. Parker Posey, Clockwatchers (and Henry Fool)

and 5 more:
6. Emma Thompson, Primary Colors
7. Fiona Loewi, Love and Death on Long Island
8. Martha Plimpton, Pecker
9. Louise Lasser, Happiness
10. Maria Doyle Kennedy, The General

July 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterm83

Lynn Redgrave
Judi Dench
Joan Allen
Lisa Kudrow
Kathy Bates

and soooooo close: Laura Linney

July 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Jane Adams/Happiness
Joan Allen/Pleasantville
Judi Dench/Shakespeare in Love
Rachel Griffiths/Hilary & Jackie
Lynn Redgrave/Gods and Monsters

runners up:
Scarlett Johansson/The Horse Whisperer
Brenda Blethyn/Little Voice
Joan Bancroft/Great Expectations
Kate Beckinsale/The Last Days of Disco
Olivia Williams/Rushmore

July 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIvan

Anne Heche in the remake of Psycho? Are you kidding? That movie was abysmal and she had nothing to do. If you're going to mention Anne Heche at all it should be for her performances in "Six Days Seven Nights" and espcially "Return to Paradise" (Oscar worthy). Her supporting role in that disgusting, horrible remake of Psycho (she was too young for the part btw) should be completely forgotten.

July 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

As much as I love Judi Dench (she should have won lead actress for Mrs. Brown), I just adored Lynn Redgrave's performance in Gods and Monsters. I would have given Redgrave the Oscar for a wonderful turn in a great film.

July 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

Omggg I love Pleasantville!!! One of my favorites. And Joan Allen is so great in it. I'm kinda surprised she didn't make it in honestly.

I'm also really sad Lisa Kudrow didn't make it in...really?

Of the winners, I'm content with Judi winning. If she didn't have an Oscar it would feel weird.

July 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

Patricia Clarkson, HIGH ART
Judi Dench, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE (silver)
Rachel Griffiths, HILARY & JACKIE (bronze)
Lisa Kudrow, THE OPPOSITE OF SEX (gold: one of the best supp actress turns of the 90s)
Lynn Redgrave, GODS & MONSTERS

July 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRyan S

m83 -- thanks for speaking out! and it's great to see a Martha Plimpton "Pecker" shoutout. I always forget how funny she is in that.

July 23, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Yeah, Plimpton is hilarious in that. And I'm pretty excited right now cause I feel like I'm talking to a celebrity. :)

July 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterm83

Judi Dench earned that Oscar 100%. No matter how many times this tired conversation comes up, I'll say the same thing and forcefully defend one of my favorite Oscar wins.

Just for kicks, my nominees would be these:

Kathy Bates, "Primary Colors"
Judi Dench, "Shakespeare in Love" (WINNER)
Kimberly Elise, "Beloved"
Lynn Redgrave, "Gods & Monsters"
Renee Zellweger, "One True Thing" (yeah, I went there)

July 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterReynolds

Zellweger was great in OTT, and better than Streep...but she was 100% lead.

July 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

Haven't seen Primary Colors, Little Voice, Hilary & Jackie, The Last Days of Disco and Beloved.

But my best supporting Actress lineup is:

- Paprika Steen (Festen)
- Lynn Redgrave (Gods and Monsters) *Winner*
- Jane Adams (Happiness)
- Joan Allen (Pleasantville)
- Lisa Kudrow (The Opposite of Sex)

and I'm not including Christina Ricci because to me is a leading performance

July 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChecko

OMG I forgot! Anjelica Huston cameo in Buffalo '66

July 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChecko

My picks:

Joan Allen, Pleasantville
Judi Dench, Shakespeare in Love << An extended cameo no doubt but I can't disagree with this win.
Lisa Kudrow, The Opposite of Sex
Laura Linney, The Truman Show
Renee Zellweger, One True Thing << I know she's a co-lead but I feel like it belongs here.

My winner is Kudrow. I was stunned when her name was not included in the actual nomination lineup. One of the biggest snub ever.

July 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJi

I would go for Kudrow, Dench, Linney , Allen.....and the winner would be Sharon Stone for The Mighty.....I really think the academy cant overlook her sex symbol bombshell role in Basic Instinct and since then she was only recognized by her once in a lifetime role in Casino....( and she was totally robbed by Sarandon in 1996)....and lets not forget that the Academy also snubbed her for her heartbreaking performance in "Bobby" (2006)....I just can not believe that the likes of Sandra Bullock, Catherine Zeta Jones and Jennifer Hudson have won their Oscars while brilliant actresses like Stone, Michelle Pfeifffer (White Oleander....not even a nom) , Julianne Moore (Far from Heaven), Annette Bening ( Being Julia, American Beauty) , Laura Linney ( You can count on me), are totally overlooked.

July 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commentereddie

nat you need to make this feature,look at all the posts.

July 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermark

Zellweger's supporting in my book ANDREW. Meryl can stay lead. YMMV.

July 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterReynolds

I'm fine with Dench winning, regardless of the part's lenght, but my favorite that year was Bates... She was wonderful in "Primary Colors" composing a great character.

For me the biggest crime that year was the omission of Joan Allen for such a beautiful performance in "Pleasantville".

July 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercca

A shout out to Sissy Spacek and Marybeth Hurt in Affliction.

July 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw
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