Academy Awards Project: Best Actress in a Supporting Role
I yesterday said that the Best Actor in a Supporting Role category was difficult to rank. Now that I have started working on every other category, I have only just discovered what difficult means. Case in point: putting the Best Actress in a Supporting Role nominees in order was torture in comparison. With this years nominees, you could barely see the gaps in between these five candidates, because they are all so damn good. I cannot even fathom how the fifth place nominee got there. The worst part is that this is not even the toughest category. Maybe 2019 was a solid year after all. Still, there is at least one glaring snub (I don't know how I could replace anyone here, though), and we are looking at how these five ladies boosted their films and the lead roles within them. Here are your nominees for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, ranked from worst to best.
Biggest Snub: Natalie Portman-Vox Lux
Of course, Vox Lux didn't get any sort of awards steam (likely because Neon botched the promotion of the film). It's too bad, because Portman took on an anomaly of a character. This is the day in the life of a terror attack survivor that was plunged into the depths of pop-stardom. She is arrogant, yet terrified. She is her own being, yet she is hooked on substances to stand herself. It is such a shame that such a unique role didn't at least get some sort of attention this awards season. As stated above, I don’t think any of the actual five candidates are replaceable, to be fair.
5. Emma Stone-The Favourite
Yeah. This sucks. Stone nails the part, so having her last just feels wrong. First off, her English accent is bang on (the little things matter, too). Secondly, her charm is a clever disguise for her deceptive ways. She is snarky, and that works in her favour. We feel sorry for her, and we can admit that she seems morally succinct. We get to the end, and realize she duped us, too.
4. Marina de Tavira-Roma
Marina de Tavira pulled off one of the most shocking nominations of the year. I do not think many people predicted that the role of Sofía in Roma was going to get any sort of kudos, and yet here we are. We see the challenging side of her, and we also see her vulnerability. Because the film is through the eyes of Cleo, we get all the lashings and the blessings from the matriarchal figure of a family going through a surprise separation. It is enough to make the subplot meaningful in Roma, and that's sometimes what a great supporting role can do.
3. Amy Adams-Vice
Luckily, no one forgot about Amy Adams' complex turn as Lynne Cheney during the Vice campaign. I was worried, because Adams is the least caricature-like of the leads. However, she too perfectly balances the two sides that Dick himself showed in the film: loving family figure that only his loved ones saw, and the viciousness that she employed politically. Of course, by the end that shred of kindness disappears; she wasn't Dick Cheney's life partner for nothing.
2. Regina King-If Beale Street Could Talk
This is a small performance, but it is arguably the most important in the entire film. King expertly displays the traits of all of our mothers. We understand why daughter Tish is apprehensive about bringing up her pregnancy to her; she is a caring mother that will tell you like it is. We see why she eventually does approach her; she is supportive of her children because she raised them well. She is the catalyst for the perseverance of all of the characters during a difficult time. When things crumble for King's Sharon, you feel the world stop in its tracks.
1. Rachel Weisz-The Favourite
Weisz takes top place by mere molecules. The deciding factors? Firstly, Sarah Churchill is the kind of character you appreciate more once the film is done. To feel forced to reevaluate an entire character because of the complexity brought to the role from start to finish? That takes pure talent. Secondly, Churchill is never over the top, despite being sharp tongued and as blunt as can be. The fact that she is an anchor in a crazy film like The Favourite means everything. You learn to believe everything she says or does, and she becomes a blatant foil to Stone's Abigail (who, of course, is great at deception). You don't need a whole backstory to see why Churchhill is the way that she is: she shows Queen Anne tough love to better her. Weisz pulls off a lot better than you may initially realize, which is why she is this years best actress in a supporting role.
Our Predicted Winner: It definitely seems like Regina King will pull off her first ever academy award win; this is a great victory after many years of being unnecessarily overlooked.
Our Academy Awards Project is an ongoing series that will continue until all the categories have been ranked and reviewed. Tune in Monday to Saturday for a new category each day.
Andreas Babiolakis has a Masters degree in Film and Photography Preservation and Collections management from Ryerson University, as well as a Bachelors degree in Cinema Studies from York University. His favourite times of year are the Criterion Collection flash sales and the annual Toronto International Film Festival.