Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Oscar Predictions: Best Actress in a Supporting Role

This year, Oscar nominations will be announced on Thursday, January 14th. I’ll be offering detailed predictions in most of the major categories, saving some of the biggest categories for last.

Last year’s nominees: Patricia Arquette, Laura Dern, Keira Knightley, Emma Stone, Meryl Streep

This year’s locks: Kate Winslet

Very likely: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Alicia Vikander, Rooney Mara

Possible: Kristen Stewart, Alicia Vikander, Helen Mirren, Jane Fonda, Rachel McAdams

Unlikely: Elizabeth Banks, Joan Allen, Julia Walters

The rundown: This is a very tricky category because it’s hard to know where two of the top performances this year will end up being classified. The Golden Globes put Rooney Mara (Carol) and Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) in lead, SAG and the Critics Choice Awards put them in supporting, and BAFTA split them up. The bigger reason that Vikander’s placement matters is that, if she ends up being classified as lead, that will make room for Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina). She just can’t get nominated for both, and might be left off because of a vote split for her two performances. It’s intriguing because, at this point, the only lock is Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs), who cemented her status with a surprise Golden Globe win. Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight) seems likely despite being left off the list by SAG, which probably didn’t see the film. I don’t think that SAG nominee Rachel McAdams (Spotlight) will make the cut since enthusiasm for her film seems to be inexplicably flagging. A surge for Golden Globe nominee Jane Fonda (Youth) wouldn’t be too surprising, but the film hasn’t been landing as strongly as many thought. And then there’s Helen Mirren (Trumbo), who has shown up pretty much everywhere for her scene-stealing performance in a movie filled with showy actors. Mirren was recognized by most awards bodies in 2012 for “Hitchcock” before being snubbed on Oscar nominations day, and I think the same will happen this year. Being left off the BAFTA list when American costar Bryan Cranston made the cut doesn’t help. There’s also Kristen Stewart (Clouds of Sils Maria), who won the French Oscar, the Cesar, for her performance, yet hasn’t really shown up except for critics’ trophies. She’ll need some help, but I believe that she’ll make it. There’s still a chance Elizabeth Banks (Love and Mercy) will show up, and Joan Allen (Room) would be a nominee similar to Laura Dern last year, whose costar got all the praise and then slid in under the radar. There is plenty of potential here, and I’m hopeful that we’ll get a good solid list.

One possible crazy scenario: I didn’t like this performance, but Emmy winner Cynthia Nixon (James White) might earn her first Oscar bid for the Sundance indie.

Forecasted winner: It’s too early to tell. If my list is actually nominated, I think Mara might win.

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