Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actress

The Nominees
Penelope Cruz for Nine
Vera Farmiga for Up in the Air
Maggie Gyllenhaal for Crazy Heart
Anna Kendrick for Up in the Air
Mo’Nique for Precious

Filling up three paragraphs on this category is going to prove difficult, hence the start of this section being guarded with meta-waffle about the difficulty of writing this column. The reason it’s difficult is precisely the same reason it is difficult to fill three paragraphs on any complete inevitability. I could probably waffle on for even longer about such inanities, but I’ll get stuck in now. Mo’Nique will win.

For me, Mo’Nique doesn’t give the best performance of the actresses here, partly because her’s fits to closely with the motifs and styles the director Lee Daniels used, all of which extracted me from the film. She is a huge character and it’s a huge performance, but I could never believe what was happening on screen in the way I needed to, meaning that all her ferocious intimidation and her tear-strewn denouement just felt manufactured. No doubt though that, if you liked the film and ‘got’ its style, that it’s an incredible performance. For that reason, I can’t see anyone else winning.

Penelope Cruz continued her streak of looking phenomenal on screen in Nine, but that’s not enough for an Oscar. Vera Farmiga is understated and sexy in Up in the Air, Anna Kendrick is sweet and nails her big scenes. Neither is big enough to take on Mo’Nique. Gyllenhaal too, not enough. Her nomination, though coming at the expense of some other deserving names, does at least make up for the lack of attention she has suffered in past years. She has no chance here though, partly because of being overshadowed in her film by Bridges, and partly because of the awards bulldozer Mo’Nique has been. If there’s a dark horse, I suppose Kendrick or Farmiga. Won’t happen, though.

Predicted Winner: Mo’Nique for Precious

2 responses

  1. Mo’Nique is a shoo-in. Didn’t see Nine with Penelope Cruz (don’t like musicals and I’m guessing her nomination was like a repeat of Catherine Zeta-Jones for Chicago and anyway she already won last year) but none of the other actresseses in category can match Mo’Nique barnstorming, frightening performance. Up in the Air wasn’t really an Oscar-level film IMHO (why the hell did Jason Reitman get a Best Director nom?) and Anna Kendrick was mostly annoying, like a female version of a young Tom Cruise character, who I enjoyed watching being brought down a peg (yes, I know it’s a called a character arc but I still disliked that cocky little bitch she played). Who do think gave a better female performance, Sam?

    1. Well I haven’t seen Nine either, nor Crazy Heart, so I’m probably not a great judge on the performances from a qualitative perspective. I actually think Anna Kendrick is fantastic in Up in the Air and definitely do think it was an ‘Oscar-level film’. I was very moved by that story, it seemed to play on a number of modern concerns and really smartly on the persona of George Clooney in a way I’ve not really seen a film do before. Reitman’s director nod was a little out there, but Lee Daniels’ nod for Precious was ridiculous. That film has its strengths, but none of them are even remotely in the direction. I thought he made a host of missteps throughout the film which killed some of the emotional punches and prevented me from having the experience that Tom, for example, had with the film. I would have undoubtedly had Spike Jonze for Where the Wild Things Are nominated in front of both of them, but I have no problem with Reitman being there.

      On the actress side again, though, I would like to have seen a nod for Julianne Moore in A Single Man. I think that, despite being hampered by a wavering British accent, she remains one of the best actresses working in Hollywood today. Actually, I would lose Cruz and Gyllenhaal from the category, based mostly on other opinions, in favour of Moore and Diane Kruger in Inglourious Basterds. If she is eligible, though I think she was on the Best Actress side, Melanie Laurent would also have got a vote from me in this category.

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