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Hollywood Contenders – Looking at Best Supporting Actress hopefuls

As you all very fine ladies and gentlemen must all must know by now (since I’ve pretty much hammered it into your collective heads), it’s one thing to read early Academy Award predictions in order to see what folks like myself think will happen this winter, but it’s a whole separate thing to actually know something about who and what will be in contention. To help out in that particular regard, I’m continuing my yearly ritual of running down some of the major contenders in each Oscar category in order to prep you all for the season to come. Basically, the format will have me saying a few words about what or who I feel are the top tier contenders right now in said categories, along with a longer list afterwards of many of the other hopefuls that the Academy might potentially take a shine to. Consider this a sort of before the awards season cheat sheet to have in your back pocket.

Today I’m continuing on with another of the big acting categories and I bet you guessed which one it is. Yes, it’s now Best Supporting Actress time.

Here are the ten particular women that I have currently in play for Best Supporting Actress, with the top five cracking the unofficial lineup at this point:

1. Allison Janney (I, Tonya) – Not only has Janney surprisingly entered the Supporting Actress race, she currently leads the field. At the Toronto International Film Festival, I, Tonya blew folks away, notably for Janney’s turn, as well as Margot Robbie’s lead one. In a somewhat weak field like this one, there’s a good chance that Janney cakewalks to victory here. As long as Neon is up to the task of mounting an awards campaign, it’s hers to lose right now.

2. Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird) – Another contender to burst on the scene recently is Metcalf. She’s emerged as the main aspect of Lady Bird being universally praised, which certainly helps. Her buzz isn’t quite on the level of Janney’s, but Metcalf should at least be in the conversation for a nod. If she gets in, watch out for her as a potential winner.

3. Michelle Williams (The Greatest Showman) – Williams has a number of projects this year, but in Supporting Actress, The Greatest Showman is her pony to ride. Another nom without a win would almost seem cruel, but that could be what goes down in 2017. As long as she’s good to very good, this field could easily make room for her…

4. Melissa Leo (Novitiate) – Leo has already took home the gold once, but could be back in contention once again with this one. Novitiate is probably Leo or bust, which is always a tricky proposition, but we all know she can campaign with the best of them. The question is, are voters in any particular hurry to give her another statue?

5. Michelle Pfeiffer (mother!) – Even with all the mother! controversy, Pfeiffer remains in the conversation. The question for her will be if enough members of the Academy even give Darren Aronofsky’s divisive passion project a chance. If they do, her chances are pretty decent of sticking around in this lineup. That could turn out to be a big if, however. For now, she’s just hanging on in the top five by the skin of her teeth.

6. Hong Chau (Downsizing) – Chau has seen her chances fade as Downsizing continues to be in a free fall. She was once looked at as a potential winner, or at least a possible spoiler. Now, she’ll struggle to even get nominated. If the film mounts a comeback, her chances improve. If it goes any further downhill, count her out.

7. Miranda Richardson (Stronger) – Depending on if co-star Tatiana Maslany ends up getting the Supporing push as opposed to a Lead one, Richardson may find her chances helped or hindered. Stronger could very well get Jake Gyllenhaal in for Best Actor, so one of these ladies might come along for the ride. Maslany makes more sense, though if they’re both Supporting, they could split votes. If she competes in Best Actress, Richardson is a dark horse in Supporting Actress…

8. Kristen Scott Thomas (Darkest Hour) – Another case of Gary Oldman potentially pulling in another of his cast members. Thomas didn’t receive raves for Darkest Hour, but the cast on the whole was seen as strong, so she’s 100% in play. A lot will depend on just how much Oscar voters fall for this biopic. The more they like it, the more likely a nominee she is. It’s as simple as that.

9. Juno Temple (Wonder Wheel) – Woody Allen has a strong history of getting his ladies Supporting Actress nominees, which bodes well for Temple. Wonder Wheel could just be a showcase for Kate Winslet in Lead, but that recent Trailer suggested something that could contend across the board. I’ll be seeing it next week at the New York Film Festival, so more will be revealed then!

10. Lois Smith (Marjorie Prime) – You could go with someone like Claire Foy (Breathe), Holly Hunter (The Big Sick), or even Cicely Tyson (Last Flag Flying) here, plus the aforementioned Maslany, but right now it seems like Smith remains a viable player for a nomination. Marjorie Prime is a very small contender, but Smith is good enough to stay in play. If the precursors pay her some attention, she could be one of the X factors in this race. Watch out for her.

Next in line I’d have these ten contenders (just sans my commentary here) for Best Supporting Actress:

11. Claire Foy (Breathe)
12. Holly Hunter (The Big Sick)
13. Cicely Tyson (Last Flag Flying)
14. Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water)
15. Carrie Fisher (Star Wars: The Last Jedi)
17. Mary J. Blige (Mudbound)
17. Grace Van Patten (The Meyerowitz Stories)
18. Julianne Moore (Suburbicon or Wonderstruck)
19. Kirsten Dunst (The Beguiled)
20. Sarah Paulson (The Post)

Finally, here are ten more possibilities to give us a top 30 to cull from, just sans commentary as well:

21. Emma Thompson (The Meyerowitz Stories)
22. Margot Robbie (Goodbye Christopher Robin)
23. Julia Roberts (Wonder)
24. Nicole Kidman (The Killing of a Sacred Deer)
25. Sienna Miller (The Lost City of Z)
26. Tilda Swinton (Okja)
27. Katherine Waterston (The Current War)
28. Laura Prepon (The Hero)
29. Bria Vinaite (The Florida Project)
30. Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip)

That’s what the Best Supporting Actress race could very well be made up of folks. Stay tuned next week for my look at the Best Adapted Screenplay race!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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