Oscar History

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Red Carpet: Supporting Actress. (Plus: Octavia's Amazing Record!)

by Nathaniel R

Manville, Janney, Blige, Metcalf, and Spencer (click to embiggen)

Just last week we held a Smackdown honoring these five women and a follow up conversation on the podcast, too. Laurie Metcalf emerged as the Smackdown winner with Lesley Manville as a close runner-up. The readers poll emerged with the same winner but a different runner-up. Like so...


Allison Janney won the Oscar but Octavia Spencer and Mary J Blige both made history: Spencer tied Viola Davis for most Oscar nominations for a woman of color (any category) and Mary J Blige is the first person ever nominated for both acting and songwriting in a single year (Barbra Streisand won Oscars in both but in different years).

A bit more on Octavia Spencer's record. Since all three of her nominations were in Supporting, she's now tantalizingly close to the top eight women in that category.

* means they never won a competitive Oscar

Octavia is moving on up the Oscar Charts

01. Thelma Ritter* (6 nominations)

02. [TIE] (all with 4 nominations)
Amy Adams*
Ethel Barrymore
Lee Grant
Agnes Moorehead*
Geraldine Page (she has an uncommon half & half record with her other 4 nominations in lead)
Maggie Smith
Maureen Stapleton
Meryl Streep (one of the few all time records that doesn't belong to Meryl!)

03. [TIE] (all with 3 each)
Cate Blanchett, Glenn Close*, Glady Cooper*, Celeste Holm, Diane Ladd*, Angela Lansbury*, Frances McDormand, Anne Revere, Octavia Spencer NEW, Marisa Tomei, Claire Trevor, Kate Winslet ...

AND Dianne Wiest and Shelly Winters who are the bonafide champs of the category with two wins each from their three supporting nominations!

But back to that red carpet...

My personal vote for Best Dressed among them on Oscar night goes to Lesley Manville, sporting a classic silhouette with modern assymetry and great texture. She looked gorg' so why did we barely see any footage or photos of her. This image took a bit of searching to find! Press photos of Allison Janney (in bold red... though less daring style than she's been wearing this season) and Mary J Blige (white gowns were on trend) were super easy to come by probably because they're the most famous. Perhaps the others spent significantly less time on the red carpet?

Answer me these questions three in the comments


  1. Who is your best dressed?
  2. How much did you love Janney's "I did it all by myself" quip?
  3. Which of these five do you think is most likely to return as a future nominee? 


P.S. UPDATED: The past eight years of Best Supporting Actress & Best Actress gowns 

And -



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Reader Comments (33)

Spencer and Janney are probably most likely to return. Metcalf doesn't work in film very often, and Blige might turn out like Jennifer Hudson who has yet to be nominated again. Manville may return because she's a tremendously great actress. She needs more prominent films though.

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

1. Betty Gabriel
2. Meh
3. Octavia (because she'll continue to get her pick of these types of parts)

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew

I thought Octavia looked beautiful.

I agree that both Spencer and Janney will be back.

The women of The Help are the queens of Oscar.

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKeegan

1. Octavia (love that dress on her)
2. It was lovely in a night where there weren't enough quips coming from winners who knew they were picking up trophies for months now.
3. Spencer, for sure. She's found her groove, and as del Toro showed, serious directors are starting to reach out to her regularly, and she's someone even lay movie fans seem to really like. I think she'll at least get one more.

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Regarding the women of The Help being the queens of Oscar.

If you asked anyone who would have been the first to win after Octavia, I rate everyone would've gone for Jessica, maybe Viola. Instead it went, Viola and Emma in the same year, Allison and still no Jessica.

Is Jessica next? Or Bryce? Or a second for one of the already winners?

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKeegan

Janney's dress is my favorite: bold and dramatic while also classy and sophisticated.

Loved her quip.

Hoping Spencer is back! And hopefully in a role different from her previous nominations so far. I would love it if she continues to be a presence at the Oscars and keep making history.

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

1) Best Dressed: Allison Janney. Although they all look great.

2) I immediately understood why she'd won. We love her, and no matter what part she's given, she makes it more interesting than almost anyone else could.

3) Watching the wonderful camaraderie of Octavia Spencer and Sally Hawkins this year, I remembered that my favorite audience members of last year were the Hidden Figures women (Spencer, Monae, Henson).
And I have to re-evaluate Spencer. It isn't just that she's a cheerful person who gives reliably good performances and works well with others. There's a tremendous force of will there, that wrenches the environment out of its habitual patterns and into a place where mutual artistry can thrive.
So Spencer's next three nominations will be in Lead, where this dynamo of good will carries a crowd of other people with her.

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commenteradri

In my opinion there isn't a bad gown in this bunch as they all look fabulous in styles that very much suit them.

Of this lot I can see Spencer and Manville returning with Janney being a one and done despite her status as an awards magnet. I don't think that either Blige or Metcalf does enough screen work to expect any repeats from them, though the former could come back for songwriting.

Spencer could do well by the kinds of against-type roles that landed her fellow nominees in the top five. Can you imagine her doing a riff on Cyril or LaVona? I think it would be an inspired synthesis of actress and part.

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

1. Metcalf
2. So much. This show needed more humor.
3. Octavia, for sure.

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterCash

I am here to rep for Metcalf! She saved her best look for the Oscars!

Spencer will easily be the next back. I think Janney may well be a one-and-done winner (which is fine, and typical of any number of Supporting Actress winners).

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

You forgot Winslet with 3 supporting nominations.

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAB

A - Best Dressed was Metcalf loving her hair,although she looked a bit shiny,Green is Octavia's colour,Blige's colour was like her performance for some barely there,I didn't like Manville's dress as much as her jewels.

B -Yes to AJ for bringing the comedy though her win bothers me,all the winners were such BIG performances

C - Spencer hopefully in a u turn role,though I get that coatail noms still exist,Manville maybe another Imelda Staunton but the love is there,Metcalf and Janney I think will be a one timers,Blige very doubtful.

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk


As much as Shirley's "I'm gonna cry because this show has been as long as my career"


March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

1. Leslie Manville hands down the best dressed. But the others were just fine.

2. Loved Janney's quip. It cut through the crap of most of the other speeches.

3. Metcalfe will be back. And Manville if she gets great roles.

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPete

1. Janney, she came dressed to win.
2. A lot, it was glorious.
3. Spencer for sure will come back, I'd say more than once. Janney maybe, I could see Manville back if she gets a juicy role in a movie with great exposure.

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterV.

1. Hilariously enough, I thought Janney's dress was a bit too basic when I first saw her on the red carpet, at least compared to her other awards season look. But I didn't see the DRAMATIC sleeves and so quickly changed my mind. I thought she was best dressed.

2. She should've just ended with that. Perhaps added an "I'm kidding. Love you mom." Then walked away with an Oscar and a jet ski. Alas.

3. I think the more interesting question is which one is least likely to return because the other way is Spencer who everyone loves and she's going to keep working. Least likely? I'm actually thinking Janney and Metcalf. These two roles for them were lightnings in a bottle. Lightning can hit again, esp. if Rogers/Gerwig respectively write another custom-made role for them, but it's not a given.

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

1. I thought Janney was the best dressed. She looks like a benevolent Queen Cersi Lannister.
2. Her speech was lovely.
3. Both Spencer and Janney seem most likely to be invited back because everyone loves them. Blige still can win Grammys Metcalf can still win Tonys but I think Manville has unfortunately reached the "we nominated you once that's enough you're welcome" slot this year.

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTom

1. Best Dressed: Lupita & Nicole
2. Very much
3. Octavia

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

1. Janney. Tall women always look fantastic in gowns. Did anyone get a shot of her with Streep?

2. It was cute. But I was too sad that Laurie Metcalf didn't win, so I tuned out a bit.

3. All, but Blige. Not sure how much she really wants to act, or what opportunities are offered to her. I would love to see her in other roles; maybe a good TV spot is an option? FYI- Lesley Manville just got an Olivier nom this morning for Long Day's Journey. She has stiff competition from another Imelda Staunton tour-de-force in Who's Afraid, and Audra McDonald in Lady Day.

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Octavia's dress is beautiful but it was very unflatering when she was seated.

The best dressed in my opinion is Laurie Metcalf with a very simple yet supremely elegant look that flatered her beautiful silhouette.

Allison Janney, looking everything like the favorite she was, is right behind Laurie and Lesley Manville isn't very far, with a classy look that Cyril would probably have approuved of.

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterClement_Paris

Allison Janney had sound bite of the night. Made me laugh.

Best dressed of the evening was Jennifer Garner.

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

1. Janney, obvi! I'm a sucker for a dramatic sleeve and she gave me that 10 times over.

2. Yes. Twas quite chuckle worthy.

3. Spencer and Janney. This felt like carrer nods for Metcleft and Manville and Blige is going to be back, but as a songwriter not an actress.

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Octavia Spencer isn't a trained actress. Her narrow range played properly in the right material and the era we're in now has enabled her to become a perennial in the least coveted category. All these calls for her to anchor a movie as lead will likely show why she's best in small doses. Spencer will have the easiest time coming back in supporting actress.

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

I think Manville will get snapped up by high profile directors (Coen Brothers, Campion, Coppola, Wes Anderson, PT Anderson again) and get another juicy part. I hold out hopes that Gerwig will develop a stable of actors she continues to use and give a variety of roles to, so I could see Metcalf giving another amazing performance in two to three years time in a Gerwig movie.

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBrendan

Even though Metcalf has an extensive film resume, she has said in almost every interview I've seen that she is always most comfortable as a theater actress. Yes, she's returning to "Roseanne", but three-camera sitcoms are similar to live theater with the live audience aspect.

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJakey

So no one is getting dragged for filth with Streep and Janney wearing the SAME damn red dress? There's no excuse for that in this era of publicists and stylists to the stars! Someone should get fired ASAP

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRick

Jaenny looked beautiful- Octavia just rolled out of her bed and wore the sheets to the Oscars

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterjaragon

Very happy with all of them - they looked great. Re: sitcoms. It pays the bills, very well. I was thrilled Janney won....however, would have been very pleased had any of the others won. Bravo. Next year - fingers are already crossed for angela lansbury in "Mary Poppins Returns." Brief cameo...but you never know.

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterjimmy

Leslie Manville
A lot!
Leslie Manville (Wishful thinking on my part she should've won even if I'm very happy with Janney's win) Probably Octavia...

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterstjeans

1. Metcalf (best silhouette) and Spencer (favorite color).
2. Janney delivered it impeccably as only she could (xoxo).
3. Spencer or, possibly, Manville. The others seem so one-and-done to me.

March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Manville and Janney.
Spencer might return probably. No one see her getting 2 noms after her win.
And I LOVE JANNEY'S SPEECH. fave winner of the night.

March 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterFadhil

Alison Janney was best dressed. She looked like a winner. And her dress is much better than Meryl's.

March 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRobMiles

Octavia is amazing. She'll get a second and probably a third, hopefully one, as lead, some day. It's a great exercise to see The Help, Snowpiercer, Hidden Figures and The Shape of Water in a row, to see how much range she actually has, and how iconic her mere presence is.

March 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Alonso

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