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Random Thoughts on Upcoming "Best Supporting Actress" Race

Being a month late to my usual "April Fool's" predictions has caused me a lot of behind-the-scenes strife. Trying to stare into the open future through a crystal ball when things are actually happening in the present overseas (i.e. Cannes) is incredibly ineffective. Next year I must be more prompt and buy a plane ticket. I have made a few adjustments on the charts mostly in regards to more research on American Hustle and Saving Mr Banks but also in regards to Cannes hits like All is Lost and Philomena (I know, I know -- it didn't show but it still had a great week!).

Carey sings in "Inside Lleywn Davis". The last time she sang onscreen ("Shame") critics fell madly in love but mysteriously zero awards traction happened. 

Cannes buzz
A note of caution to everyone taking each word out of Cannes like its holy scrit. Cannes can be like a magician's misdirect in regards to the Oscar race because for every Jean Dujardin and The Artist there are ten films and performances that get people hot and bothered there under those very special circumstances that don't go anywhere in the real world or, for our purposes, don't excite the mainstream sensibility of Oscar. And quite a few films each decade see their critical fates changed once they leave the festival circuit with its foolishly instant pronouncements of grandeurs and foibles. Take it all with a grain of salt or at least a whiff of the ocean-scented air. Especially if a new Coen Bros' film takes the Palme D'Or. Cannes always loves them so it's like Michael Haneke or the Dardenne Brothers taking a prize. What else did you expect?

But on to this afternoon's topic... 

Best Supporting Actress Chart. Enjoy!

This category, if I know you as well as I think I do, is your first or second favorite of all of them. So I'm eager to gather all your opinions; if I had two comments for every complaint about the wait for the charts there'd be so many to read I'd never get through them all!

the first official still of Blue Jasmine

Happy-Go-Lucky's Revenge?
I've become so obsessed with this still from Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine -- everything from the set decoration, to the color, to the imbalance of the composition, to the weirdly expectant but sorrowful expression on La Blanchett's face excites me. So the only person I knew I'd be predicting a year in advance was Sally Hawkins lurking in the background. Consider it "Poppy's revenge!" It might be wishful thinking on my part but Hawkins is such a fine actress. Consider, for a moment, those remarkably multi-faceted expressive lead performances in Happy-Go-Lucky (a film as good as she was in it) and Made in Dagenham (which couldn't keep up with her)  that I'd love to see her steal this film and have a leading lady career. I fear that if she doesn't have a hit of some sort soon (critical, Oscar or box office...any would do) we won't see except in tiny parts. But of course counting on Woody Allen is impossible these days. For every Midnight in Paris there are two To Rome With Loves but Michael told me to be optimistic, so I shall be!

Best "Supporting" Actress in a Leading Role
We can't know until we see the films who will be attempting category fraud this year but the most likely culprits are Julia Roberts in August: Osage County (is she too big of a star to sell the supporting lie? and why even try to sell it when if the film is great a two-lead nomination IS possible. See Amadeus, Thelma & Louise, etcetera) and maybe Amy Adams in American Hustle or Her... depending on the size of her role in either or both.  I'm also personally curious to see what the overall response will be to The Spectacular Now. I didn't quite get the Shailene Woodley fanaticism for The Descendants and I think she's better in this film but as leading roles go there's not a ton of screentime. Supporting might be wiser given her age but the film is probably too youth-centric to make Oscar waves regardless.

Supporting Long-Suffering Wife/Girlfriend
It's Oscar's favorite role in this category, possibly because it's such a common role that it's rare to see a year go by without several candidates to choose from this year Nicole Kidman, Naomie Harris, Oprah Winfrey, and more are trying this man-adjacent thing on for Oscar size.

Martyr Mom / Monster Mom
It's the Oscar equivalent of the Virgin/Whore complex for ladies of a certain age. They like their screen mamas either saintly or evil. There's less to choose from this year in regards to this favored template but what of Octavia Spencer in Fruitvale or Kristin Scott Thomas in Only God Forgives

Just For Fun... A Few of Nathaniel's Favorite Goddesses
Here are a few performances I'm curious about that I don't have any Oscar dreams for.  


  • What will Michelle Pfeiffer do with her return to mob comedy in Malavita. It's possible I care too much because I ♥ Married to the Mob so much.
  • How is Julianne Moore's magic-fearing blood-shaming mom in Carrie or her blood magic sorceress in Seventh Son (and, regarding the latter, can she top La Pfeiffer's blood magic sorceress from Stardust?)
  • Is anything going to happen with Viola Davis anytime soon with all these random supporting roles (Ender's Game, Prisoners, Eleanor Rigby). GIVE HER LEADS, HOLLYWOOD. YOU'RE WASTING HER TIME AND OURS! DIDN'T YOU WATCH THE HELP?
  • Juliette Lewis in August: Osage County. She's been a favorite since Cape Fear and I'm thrilled she's working in a reputable movie again. Let's hope she's great even if she's unlikely to get past the Streep/Roberts/Martindale blockade in terms of respect and awards traction.



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Reader Comments (72)

Im pretty sure Oprah will end up snagging a nom. People tend to forget what a great actress she truly is once you get past the power of her celebrity.

Plus everyone in Hollywood worships her.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

She won;t get any traction for it, but I thought Julianne Moore was great in What Maisie Knew. The whole ensemble was.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWill h

I really want Carey Mulligan to get nominated for Inside Llewyn Davis. I'd nominate her on the trailer alone. Aces.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJS

it will end up being Oprah vs. Julia in this category, and since they're friends- Oprah would probably be the only person that Julia wouldn't mind losing to..Although, I really hope that Julia Roberts doesn't commit a category fraud and stay in Best Actress- where I think she would also have a great chance of getting a nomination.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMiguel

Nothing would make me happier than Sally Hawkins in a Holly from Hannah and Her Sisters-style role for Blue Jasmine. Well I suppose a retroactive Oscar for Happy-Go-Lucky would make me happier but I'll just let that be.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSean D

Please God let Amy Adams finally win. She is the very definition of SUPPORTING ACTRESS and I have a feeling she'll get it for either HER or AMERICAN HUSTLE, though I hear the former is where she especially shines (but who knows with early buzz, as always... who to trust, who to trust?).

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

1. Amy Adams- American Hustle
2. Julia Roberts- August: Osage County
3. Margo Martindale- August: Osage County
4. Cameron Diaz- The Counselor
5. Sally Hawkins- Blue Jasmine

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJack

Definitely holding out hope that you're right about Sally. I want her in movies all the time, and if Blue Jasmine is a good part, that will certainly help.

My feeling about Martindale was that she was the most obvious shoo-in from this far out, so I was surprised to see her in the 5th slot, but I guess the Julia question makes things more interesting.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

With the richness of material that "August: Osage County" offers I sincerely hope that Julia Roberts isn't pushed into supporting when -- if everyone knocks his/her role out of the park (highly unlikely, but still...) -- the film could see possible nominations in almost every acting category. Besides, there is NO WAY that hers is a supporting part.

If a nomination happens for anyone this year, however, I hope beyond hope that it does so for Cameron Diaz, who had such a great run in the late 1990s/early 2000s. I'd root more for Amy Adams had the Academy not turned her into one of those annoying places holders ("Junebug" and "The Fighter" aside).

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

Unless the screenplay of August has changed significantly, I think even Weinstein will have trouble pushing Julia as Supporting, since the Broadway production was a two-lead deal in terms of awards heat. Margo Martindale is in the exact right spot in her career to sail to a win with her part (which won a Tony for Rondi Reed), but she needs to be seen as doing more than "just" playing another version of every other character she's played. Those three were the only parts that ever got any awards traction, but I hold out hope that Juliette Lewis somehow manages to steal the show. I love her so much.

It would also be kinda sweet if Julianne Moore was able to get a nom for the same part that got Piper Laurie a nom in the original. It could happen if she's different enough and the film is well-received. I don't think she can possibly match Pfeiffer's delicious witch in Stardust with Seventh Son, though.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Oh, my heart still hurts for Sally Hawkins. She truly is one of my favorites working today, able to carry a movie and steal scenes, though without being showy. Her few moments in Jane Eyre and Never Let Me Go still linger in my head as much as anything from those films.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianZ

With Harvey having to juggle Kidman, Streep, and Dench, Roberts is going to have to go supporting. I will be flabbergasted if Roberts doesn't get a nod. And the last two-same-gender-lead-nods is now twenty-two years old. And three former Best Actress winners in the Best Actress race has only happened five times in Oscar history. And the last time was over forty years ago. And, in the last twenty-two years, we have only twice had more than one. And don't forget we have Emma Thompson in a possible BP nominee. Not for sure, but not ruling it out.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVinci Smetana

Pretty sure Julia will commit category fraud.

I also think Oprah is a pretty sure thing, honestly. That's how I feel right about now.

A year without Amy Adams would be nice too but that seems unlikely.

I would love if Cameron Diaz finally got an Oscar nom simply because ... well, that must sting to twice be a sixth place vote getter. Like what's the chance you have that much traction and miss out twice?

I would also love if Octavia got nominated again. I'm always rooting for unlikely winners/nominees to return (assuming I like them), like Sandra Bullock.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

At this point I'm rooting for:

Sally Hawkins
Margot Martindale
Carey Mulligan
Kristin Scott Thomas
Nicole Kidman (duh)

But I do have a reserved spot for Juliette Lewis.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

If (big if) The Iceman takes off, Winona Ryder could coattail her way to a nomination off of Michael Shannon's amazing performance. Ryder does the put-upon wife thing really well and kills it in the final act. Best thing she's done in years. Can the Academy look past the terribly accurate look at 1970s north Jersey fashion to reward a strong crime drama?

I mean, seriously. I've looked through my parents' photo albums and this film nailed north Jersey in the 70s. You think Jersey Shore-style is tacky? Dear God, they have nothing on 1970s suburban Jersey couture.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Margo Martindale and Sally Hawkins-yes please! No to yet another Amy Adams nomination for indifferent work and the thought of her dragging down another actress roundtable with her surly grouchiness.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Here's my slightly odd take on the category right now:

1. Amy Adams, American Hustle
2. Cameron Diaz, The Counselor
3. Carey Mulligan, Inside Llewyn Davis
4. Eva Green, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
5. Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
6. Angela Bassett, Black Nativity
7. Rosamund Pike, The World's End
8. Melanie Thierry, The Zero Theorem
9. Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
10. Amy Adams, Her
11. Cate Blanchett, Monuments Men
12. Tilda Swinton, The Zero Theorem (Yes, I know that, more than anything, the character name (Dr. Shrink-Rom) might be the biggest hurdle.)
13. Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
14. June Squibb, Nebraska
15. Octavia Spencer, Fruitvale Station

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

I really like Cameron Diaz and I would love to see her as a nominee some day...

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFernando Moss

It would actually be ridiculous if Julia Roberts is put in supporting for "August: Osage County." Barbara is the protagonist of the story!

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

What's Diaz's role all about,i have heard it's scene stealing dream of a role,with Hoffman and Waltz last year Weinstein ill do anything to get his films nominated even if he commits category fraud.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMARK

Alex -- but it's ridiculous EVERY time. and that doesn't stop the academy or the legion of fans that try to make arguments as to why protagonists are suddenly secondary characters (like Jamie Foxx in Collateral or Casey Affleck in The Assassination of Jesse James or every other same gendered co-lead (brokeback mountain/notes on a scandal/etcetera)

all people really need to ask themselves is this "Would ___ be considered supporting if their co-star had different genitals than they did?" If the answer is NO than the person is never supporting! ;)

May 24, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Meryl and Julia are absolutely great in A:OC. Meryl will win another Oscar this year and if Julia goes supporting she will win her sencond too.

Category fraud will be committed for winning the Oscar.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSr. Ryan

sr ryan -- so you've seen it?

May 24, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Go, J.Ro.!

I kind of hope she goes Lead, just because she is, even if it means missing out at a nomination. It's not like she really needs one, anyway.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbacio

If the this were a more MTV Movie Awards deal, Amy Adams would win in a walk. She's looking awfully "foxy" in all those stills from American Hustle. Hopefully the actually performance will have some heat to it as well (I do find her a bit overpraised nominations wise, but she's shown that she can bring it).

This is the first time in a while that winner of this category doesn't feel like a given to someone. We all knew that Hathaway would win when the trailer dropped, Spencer became obvious once her film became a hit, Leo did an awards sweep, and they could've engraved the Oscar with Mo'Nique's name once Sundance was over. Even Cruz felt like a safe bet given Woody Allen's rep with Supporting Actress. Maybe someone will emerge out of the blue and thank things by storm. That or it really is a given after all, in which case Martindale wins.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVal

I would like to see Julia Roberts go lead. There is no shame in losing to Meryl Streep, and it will help position her as a strong American actress in her 40's. There are not too many of those, besides Naomi Watts, who is Australian. No comment on Nicole (show us the movie, not the gowns). Oprah will create a Gayle wind force around a supporting nomination, particularly if The Butler is a hit with audiences in August. It's going to be a great year for women.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarbra Streisand

Can you imagine the reaction from the press if Roberts and Bullock were pitted against each other in Best Actress? Julia may go supporting just to avoid the risk of losing to Sandy.

Also, have they ever been photographed together, ever? I can find nothing on Google.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Interesting. Madeline Ashton has never been photographed with Michelle Pfeiffer.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHelen Sharp

I think Jane Fonda's comeback as Nancy Reagen is a bigger story than Oprah... Just sayin

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Oh i hope so.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMARK

I love that Barbra Streisand has taken time out of her busy schedule to make comments here @ The Film Experience!!!

How thrilling lol

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Cal -- from my understanding it's just a cameo.

May 24, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

After seeing a rough cut of The Butler (shh don't tell!) I think Oprah is definitely a possibility and will be in the conversation. She's funny and touching and by far the best thing about the film. Whether she'll pull off a nom (let alone a win) like M'onique or be left on the sidelines like Nicole might have to do with how the film is received which at this point...could go either way. My hunch? AMPAS warms up to it, while critics collectively rejoice in their own takedowns.
And yes, Fonda has maybe 4 lines total. Cameo is even too generous a word.

I'll echo everyone else: hope Julia is as good as she needs to be, goes Lead and nabs a nom.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommentermB

I already hate that movie. You cast Jane Fonda and give her four lines!

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

According to reviews, James Gray's THE IMMIGRANT is one of the best (if not the best) in Cannes. (http://www.hitfix.com/in-contention/cannes-review-fifty-shades-of-james-gray-on-show-in-exquisite-the-immigrant)

Joaquin Phoenix and Marion got plenty of compliments but the reviews suggest Cotillard has a Paltrow in Two Lovers-size role. So... supporting?

If the film succeeds in US market (I'm scared of what Harvey Weinstein will ignore this season - between August: Osage, this, Grace of Monaco, The Butler, Fruitvale...) I'd bet on both of them.

P.S. - Nathaniel predicted Marion Cotillard for this a year ago. ;)

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Rodrigues

I simply cannot fathom Julia campaigning in supporting. The last couple of years-particularly with the egregious category frauds of Hailed Steinfeld, Christoph Waltz, and Philip Seymour Hoffman- I just don't understand how hard it is for academy members to understand the concept that a film can have TWO leads (and YES of the same gender!). I gained a lot of respect when they said hell no and placed Kate Winslet in the right category for a LEAD performance. Chances are if your character is in virtually every scene, the narrative revolves around you, and you are top-billed, then there's a very good chance you are a lead character. I sincerely hope that Julia Roberts is campaigned in the right category, because if she ends up in supporting (and really nails her part) then there is no way she loses. It will be just like Christoph Waltz this year. And she could potentially take the place of a true supporting actress-perhaps someone like Sally Hawkins, Naomie Harris, Juliette Lewis, etc-who really could use an Oscar nomination for their career.

On another note...I'm predicting Martindale, Adams (for either AH or Her. It doesn't matter the quality of her perf. She's a placement holder now), Hawkins, Blanchett (Monuments Men), and Spencer.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

1. Adams, American Hustle
2. Roberts, Osage Co.
3. Oprah, The Butler
4. Spencer, Frutivale Station
5. Foster, Elysium
6. Keener, Cpt Phillips (has anyone heard about the size/depth of this role?)
7. Ruth Negga, 12 Years
8. Vikander, 5th Estate
9. Alfre Woodard, 12 Years
10. Bello, Prisoners (wishful, post-TV welcome back)
11. Scott Thomas, Only God Forgives
12. Kidman, Railway Man

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

I'm betting Martindale takes it. Seems like the perfect part for her and the perfect time in her career due to recent success with "Justified". I'm rooting for Amy Adams though.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

How Gwyneth Paltrow was supporting in Two Lovers? Please

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

I'm guessing Huppert will be nom'ed for THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY: HIS & HERS because I want to believe it!

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

cal roth -- It isn't. Like Marion, Paltrow was a de-facto lead in Two Lovers. But she campaigned as supporting (or so I thought).

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Rodrigues

No offense to the host, I really enjoyed reading this post, but every time I see a supporting actress post on a blog in my mind that's indelibly connected to Stinky Lulu. Can we start a petition to have it back? :)
Also, I'm surprised by how many people have no doubt Roberts will go supporting when one of the biggest criticisms on her is that she's got a huge ego.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteriggy

Well, what do,we really know,qbout Julia? She s not really around much anymore,hardly ever campaigned for awards, and hardly ever stars in films anymore. Now where is that big ego of hers?

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBacio

Helen-it's bizarre that Streep and Pfeiffer have no photographs together too. Those two and the odd way that neither has competed against the other for any major awards as co-nominees is weird though (Bullock and Roberts both were nominated for the Globe against each other in 2009, but neither had a serious chance of winning it).

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

I'd take a hole in my abdomen to be photographed with Madeline Ashton.

On another note, maybe Harvey will get four ladies into the Best Actress field. Might as well dream big.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVince Smetana

Pfeiffer and Streep both were attached to Thelma & Louise to some capacity. Not sure if it was ever at the same time. I know there was a Streep/Hawn possibility before they decided on Death Becomes Her.

LOL when Bullock and Roberts were nominated at the same time, they had two competitors named Meryl Streep.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVince Smetana

Jane Fonda and cameo is like sex and stop.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrookesboy

Another Pfeiffer/Streep connection. In 2002, Pfeiffer and Streep traded spots from SAG to Oscar.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVince Smetana

Vince-that's the bizarre thing about it. My awards show memory is clearly fuzzy, as I had totally blanked that Streep missed at the SAG Awards. I was thinking that Moore or Latifah was the odd-woman out in 2002.

Oddly, even with all of that movie star charisma in 2009, I'd have given the trophy to Marion Cotillard of the 2009 nominees.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

I have to chuckle at the Kristin Scott Thomas predictions. Given that the movie is apparently terrible, it's not gonna happen, guys. Oscar noms didn't even happen for Refn's last film, and that had the critics behind it.

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

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