Thursday, 19 January 2012

Incoherent Oscar: Supporting Actress

And, just like that time has flown and there are only a few days until the Oscar nominations are announced. Here goes…something…

The supporting actress category is both wildly exciting and incredibly boring. A few performances come to mind which might have been much more interesting to see getting laurelled along the way, but here’s what the race is looking like as a few days remain.
MY GUESS: Bérénice Bejo in The Artist; Jessica Chastain in The Help; Janet McTeer in Albert Nobbs; Octavia Spencer in The Help; Shailene Woodley in The Descendants

THEN AGAIN, PERHAPS: Vanessa Redgrave in Coriolanus; Carey Mulligan in Shame

MORE (IM?) POSSIBLITIES: Sandra Bullock in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

It seems to be something of a free for all in some ways where anything can happen, until you realise that most pundits seem agreed that it’s down to six performances (six if you include Vanessa) which could suggest that it’s all much easier to predict than we’re choosing to believe. If anything, the last few days have seemingly assured Octavia Spencer’s position as frontrunner. I had mentioned before that even as I listed Spencer as my projected winner, I was still uncertain of her solidity at taking the prize home. But, there she remains and there she probably will remain. There doesn’t seem to be any actress with a viable chance of upsetting their way to a win.

The only potential spoiler in the race is Jessica Chastain and she has a particular hurdle to overcome which seems all but insurmountable from where I sit. It’s not the fact that she had a plethora of performances to choose from (it seems assured that voters will rally around her work in The Help). What loses her the chance of taking the statue is the simple fact that the most ardent supporters of The Help would certainly not miss the opportunity to reward two black actresses in a single year (and from a single film) and regardless of how lovely Chastain’s Celia Foote is it doesn’t land with the same humanistic nature that Octavia’s more ostensibly sympathetic Minny will, or at the very least so I assume. Excuse my lack of tact, but I’m still doubtful people won’t feel bad voting for the pretty white girl over the sassy black maid amidst all the political correctness surrounding The Help and its stance on racism at the moment. (Not that there aren’t those who adore Spencer’s performance more, just something to chew on.)
So, the question is – who joins these two ladies from The Help? I suppose with the love for The Artist and its “frontrunner” status, Bejo is assured a nod but I still feel that it’s not as simple as it seems. True, I have no seen The Artist as yet, but the support for this performance seems to be coming specifically from the school of “we-love-your-film-so-much-so-hop-on-board” and it’s the very same sort of love that Woodley seems to be getting, which means that I think those two are most susceptible to missing out on nods. Not because people don’t like their performances, but because those performances are so easily overshadowed (seemingly, at the very least) by other attributes of the film.

This means, I think McTeer is more assured of a nod than these two. I have a few reasons for such a supposition. First, actors love it when fellow actors take these gender bending roles, second supporting actresses often get love for these slight but sprightly roles which seem like nothing on paper but spring to life on screen and third and most importantly McTeer is a former nominee, and if we assume that it’s an easy bake-off and McTeer is out and McCarthy is in it means that we’ve got a list of nominees none of which have been nominated before. The last time that happened in this category was in 1999, and I just feel (don’t ask for proof) that voters are liable to invite at least one veteran – even a relative one – the ceremony. It’s this reason too which makes me think that Redgrave has a better chance of showing up on the slate than McCarthy, despite the former’s dodgy precursor showing and the mass of support for the latter including a BAFTA nod which you’d think Vanessa might have been a shoo-in form. But, this is what I’m thinking – and if it’s not for gut feelings, what else is Oscar prognosticating for? Poor Sandy probably has zero chance...
How crazy am I? Is McTeer a shoo-in? Is Redgrave still a possibility? Does the tetchy race factor warrant consideration in Spencer and Chastain's race for winning for The Help? What think ye?


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Jose Solís said...

Janet McTeer is the only thing from that movie that deserves any sort of attention. It pisses me that Geln will get in over Kiki and Lizzie.

Runs Like A Gay said...

I think you're massively under-estimating Melissa McCarthy.

I suspect, based on SAG and BAFTA noms, that Shailene Woodley will be the one to fall out.