As I made the case in my preview of the coming Best Actress race, strong, fully-developed lead roles for female thespians are scarce these days and unfortunately, the same tends to hold true for supporting roles as well. This is not, again, meant to be construed as an attack on the contemporary set of actresses who are as undoubtedly talented as previous generations of female thespians that came before, but rather a statement of fact on the current trends in modern cinema. Comparing the long lists of potential players in both the Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress categories make the disparity between the sexes all too apparent.
This does not, however, make the prediction of the approaching field of Best Supporting Actress nominees an easy task. For one, the categorical decisions that must be made in determining a “supporting” role are no less difficult on the female side of things than they are with the males.
After publishing my preview of potential Best Actress nominees, a few of you contacted me to point out the fact that you believed Jennifer Lawrence’s role in David O Russell’s upcoming American Hustle to be that of a supporting player, with Amy Adams’ role more likely deserving of lead status. While I will cover my thoughts on Adams’ awards chances momentarily, in the case of Jennifer Lawrence, those that corrected me may very well be right (and I am starting to lean that way), but given some slightly unscrupulous campaigning practices, you just can never say for sure. The same goes for another actress that I featured in my lead preview, Julia Roberts in August Osage County, who many pundits believe will be eligible in the supporting category, but who I contend may be campaigned as a co-lead to make room for other potential nominations in the female-heavy cast.
Another problematic issue that derives from a lack of pre-hyped performances in the Best Supporting Actress category is that it allows for the more serious consideration of “diamond in the rough” candidates. Little known films, with little known actresses, will get all the more scrutiny from Academy voters if they don’t have sufficient enough A-lister buzz distracting them. While this may be a positive thing from the view of a meritocracy, left-field candidates that seemingly come out of nowhere aren’t so helpful in the punditry business.
There are enough big names in contention this year though to force me to have to omit names you will undoubtedly recognize. People like Jodie Foster, Carey Mulligan, Mia Wiakowski, Laura Linney, and even Shirley MacLaine just missed inclusion on this list. There is also the incredible female-centric supporting cast of Spike Jonze’s Her, which includes Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Samantha Morton, and Olivia Wilde, but too scant information is available on the film to have any hope in determining who, if any one, plays a significant enough part in the film to warrant sincere Oscar consideration.
Here then is my best shot at filtering out the ten likeliest options for the Academy to pick for next year’s Best Supporting Actress lineup. After finishing this article, be sure to catch my next article which will preview 2014′s race in my favorite Oscar category, Best Director.
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