OSCAR BREAKDOWN: Best Supporting Actress 2017
This year’s Best Supporting Actress race is very exciting! Four of the five nominees have received their first Oscar nominations this year. It’s rare to have so many newcomers to a category but for me, it just adds to the thrilling expense as to who is going to win on the big night. We have some diverse characters in this group and I’m very excited to break it down as to who is the big contender for this year’s award for Best Supporting Actress.
I am now going to list my personal choice for the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award of 2017, starting with my least likely to win to my favorite performance. At the end of this post, I will share who I think the Academy will select to win the award this year.
So let’s get to it! Starting with…
The Shape of Water
Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy film The Shape of Water is leading the Oscar race with 13 nominations and each acting category has a character from this film. Octavia’s character Zelda provided the comic relief that this film needed to keep it breathing. While Octavia’s performance was fantastic and worked on so many levels, I couldn’t help but feel like her character’s personality and quips were just a rehash of her character Minny in 2011’s The Help which won her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. So while I enjoyed Spencer’s portrayal of Zelda, especially toward the end of the film, I am not expecting the Academy to give an award to Spencer for playing such a similar character to one she has already been applauded for. But congratulations to Octavia for landing her third Oscar nomination in this category!
“Don’t pick a fight with me, you certainly won’t come out alive.” This is what Cyril says as she sips her tea so delicately and it is the perfect way to describe Lesley Manville’s character in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread. While this drama, set in London in the 1950s is very slow paced and certainly not a film everyone will enjoy, one can take pleasure in watching Lesley Manville compete with actor Daniel Day-Lewis as his strong-willed and domineering sister Cyril, who works with her brother in the London fashion house. While Cyril is not at the center of the film, her intimidating stares and gestures are enough to make you back up against the wall.
Mary J. Blige
Whenever a musical artist takes on a serious dramatic role, it almost seems like their performance depends on the success of the film. Fortunately, Mary J. Blige provides the life to a film that I found to be ridiculously slow paced. Mary fully commits herself to the character of Florence and creates the most gripping storyline in the film as a wife and mother who will do anything she can to make sure her family is safe and protected. Although I did not find Mudbound to be a very good film, I still recommend it because of Mary J. Blige’s effectively dedicated performance.
Finally! The Academy acknowledges the brilliant acting talents of Laurie Metcalf, who I grew up watching everyday after school with reruns of the hit sitcom Roseanne when she played Aunt Jackie. Laurie Metcalf is one of the best at her craft. She knows how to take real life experiences and emotions and display them on screen, often in comedic ways. One of the things that made Lady Bird work so well was that the characters were truly authentic, they didn’t seem like actors. And Director Greta Gerwig nailed it choosing Laurie to play Saoirse Ronan’s mother in the film. The film centers around their tumultuous mother-daughter relationship and ultimately the scenes between Saoirse and Laurie are the most effective for they reflect the emotional turbulence of what family life can often be. Laurie Metcalf delivers the perfect combination of humor and irony in this role. Any chance we can have a tie this year?
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
The moment I stepped out of the theatre after watching the biographical film I, Tonya, there was no doubt in my mind Allison Janney, an actress whom I have loved ever since her small but hilarious role in the 90’s comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous, would take home the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. As Tonya Harding’s icy (no pun intended) and controlling mother LaVona, Allison Janney goes into this role at full force, not only executing the physicality of this character, but putting away any chance that you might find a shred of compassion in this woman’s fight for her daughter’s success. Her role encompassed both hilarious and brutal one-liners. With a cigarette in her hand throughout most of her time in the film, we see her give what some might consider “motherly advice” to her daughter Tonya (played brilliantly by Margot Robbie) and what others might deem as psychological abuse. Do you want to know just how enthralled I was by Allison Janney’s portrayal of LaVona? About halfway through the film, when LaVona’s character starts to fade into the background, we see Allison Janney’s face suddenly come up on the screen as she says with utter discontent, “Well my storyline is disappearing right now. What the fuck.” My bets are 100% on Allison Janney.
Here is how I think the Academy will vote for Best Supporting Actress:
Best Supporting Actress 2017 – Allison Janney for I, Tonya
2nd - Laurie Metcalf for Lady Bird
3rd - Octavia Spencer for The Shape of Water
4th - Lesley Manville for Phantom Thread
5th - Mary J. Blige for Mudbound