Awards analysis is provided by Sean from @MathTeacherMovies.
With Will Smith in King Richard and Kristen Stewart in Spencer slowly becoming locks for Best Actor and Best Actress, all eyes are drawn to who is leading the supporting performances and the answer is less clear than in recent memory.
This week, Mass opened in limited theaters and this movie contains four of the best performances this year from Jason Isaacs, Reed Birney, Martha Plimpton, and Ann Dowd who are all being marketed appropriately as supporting performances. They are all in the running for deserved nominations but the most likely to receive a nomination and a possible win is Ann Dowd. She is a beloved performer rising in popularity and has never been nominated. She can also represent the rest of the cast with her nomination and possible win which will be well deserved.
Dowd’s main competition will most likely be Kirsten Dunst for The Power of the Dog who has also yet to be nominated and has established a career as someone playing iconic roles as she often drifts into a role that asks much more of her.
Two actresses that are no strangers to winning and being nominated are Marlee Matlin and Judi Dench and both could see potential nominations in their future this year. Marlee Matlin is truly wonderful in the loved CODA and while she may not be the standout performance, she is the standout performer and is using her celebrity to champion the film. She deserves the nomination for a great performance and a way to honor a film that will unfortunately be light on nominations. Meanwhile, Judi Dench is starring in another crowd pleasing film, Belfast, where many performances are getting love. It has been a while since Dench has been in the Oscar spotlight but when she is in a film there’s often a nomination that follows.
Aunjanue Ellis has had a storied career as a character actor and will most likely ride the momentum of King Richard to an additional nomination. As will Ariana DeBose in West Side Story who is an up and coming star in a tremendously huge film which the Academy will look upon with great favor. Ruth Negga received a surprise nomination a few years back for Loving and could easily receive another this year for the Sundance hit Passing as she is receiving quite a bit of buzz.
Olga Merediz has become a long shot for a nomination for her performance in In the Heights and yet there is still a chance with her being the heart of the film in a role she was literally born to play. Jessie Buckley continues to curry public favor in movies and television and is showing stand out buzz in The Lost Daughter which will become an Oscar heavy hitter. Finally, Meryl Streep is a huge long shot for a nomination in the Adam McKay film Don’t Look Up but with a track record like Streep, she should never be counted out.
The category of Best Supporting Actor is just as unclear at this time but there are a few frontrunners. The Humans is designed to be an actors showcase and Richard Jenkins has the best chance of being honored. Bradley Cooper is playing what seems like a stand out performance in Licorice Pizza and his nomination seems imminent. He is also in the running for Best Actor in Nightmare Alley and while he can be nominated twice, it’s a rare accomplishment.
Jesse Plemons has gotten much respect in the industry and yet has not received an Oscar nomination. He stars in Power of the Dog that will feature many other Oscar nominated performances and it seems like Plemons will go along for the ride. There is less of a chance for Kodi Smit-McPhee to be nominated in the same movie but he is still receiving some chatter and might see an Oscar nomination. Jared Leto often flirts with the buzz of an Oscar nomination when he changes himself physically especially last year and this looks like it will happen for House of Gucci.
The Tragedy of Macbeth is obviously receiving buzz for the two lead performances but Corey Hawkins is being hailed as the standout and has the high chance of a nomination. While Ann Dowd might be the only performance to be nominated in Mass there is a chance that Jason Isaacs could be nominated as he is also a standout but it’s not as certain as Dowd.
One of the long shots is Ciaran Hinds for Belfast who could be nominated based on the love for the film and the respect for the actor. The other long shot is Willem Dafoe playing a narrator type figure in Nightmare Alley. Dafoe has an amazing track record for nominations, always managing to show up even when unexpected and this could be his year again.
While everything is uncertain for supporting actor and actress now in a few months and after a few more film releases things will begin to take shape, narratives will begin to form, and Oscars will be given out.