2017 Oscars Preview - Best Supporting Actress

2017 Oscars Preview - Best Supporting Actress

It's never too early to take a look at the Oscar race ahead. Every year, studios jockey for nominations and statues. And every year, the race begins long before the telecast. While the quality of the performance definitely matters, pedigree, campaigning and narrative can all make just as big of a difference. Is that actor due? Have they been doing consistently solid work for a long time? Are they just someone we can imagine winning an Oscar? All of these things matter more than most people realize. If you want to be way ahead of the game for your Oscar pool next year, stay tuned!

At this point, very little is known about the roles listed below, but here is an early look at the ladies who may be in the mix come year's end.

Michelle Williams - Manchester By The Sea

Photo Courtesy of Roadside Attractions

Photo Courtesy of Roadside Attractions

Michelle Williams is a three-time Oscar nominee (Brokeback MountainBlue Valentine and My Week With Marilyn), but has yet to win. Three nominations is the point at which some start to say someone is "due." Could this be her year? In Manchester By The Sea, she plays the bitter ex-wife of Casey Affleck's character who moves back to his hometown after his older brother dies. From the early reviews, it seems as if the movie will be good enough to at least secure her a nomination. It was well-received at the Sundance Film Festival and is set for a limited release on November 18, 2016.

Octavia Spencer - Hidden Figures

Photo Courtesy of Randee St. Nicholas

Photo Courtesy of Randee St. Nicholas

Octavia Spencer won this award in 2011 for her role in The Help. This year, she is set to play a member of a team of Black female mathematicians who were instrumental in helping NASA during its first successful space missions. In the wake of #OscarsSoWhite II, the Academy may seek to diversify the final lineup in every category. The black women who have won this award in the past are usually playing slaves or maids (see Spencer's first win in The Help), so it is hard to predict whether they will recognize this role. If they are trying to break with tradition, however, this would certainly be a start.  

Rachel Weisz - Deep Water and The Light Between Oceans


Rachel Weisz, like Octavia Spencer, has won this award before. She won the Oscar in this category for her work in 2005's The Constant Gardener. While there is often a reluctance to award a second Oscar, her win was long enough ago and she hasn't been nominated since. With two films that will be in the mix, she may be the safest bet on this list.  In Deep Water, she plays a widow forced to raised four children alone after her husband mortgaged their properties to compete in a sailing race. In The Light Between Oceans, she plays a mother who lost her child at sea and meets a couple who has been raising a child lost at sea since around the same time. She could easily be nominated for either of these roles.

Naomie Harris - Moonlight


Naomie Harris is a relatively fresh face who could figure prominently in the Oscar discussion. She is best known for roles in Pirates of the Caribbean and Skyfall. Moonlight is the story of a young man coming of age during the War on Drugs and struggling with a decaying home life and his own sexuality. Her role in the film is unclear, but she could get a boost from being in multiple relevant movies in the same year (à la Alicia Vikander), as she is also set to star in Collateral Beauty opposite Will Smith.


Katy Sagal - Bleed For This

Katy Sagal is best known for her role as Peggy Bundy in the 80s TV show Married...With Children and more recently on the show Sons Of Anarchy. She is set to play the mother of Miles Teller's character in this boxing drama and is already beginning to generate buzz. If the film is a hit, look for her to get a lot of attention. This is a category that is very kind to veteran actresses and with the right narrative, she could certainly be a threat to win if the performance is good enough. 



Laura Dern - Wilson; The Founder

Laura Dern is a two-time Oscar nominee--for Best Actress in 1992 (Rambling Rose) and more recently for Best Supporting Actress (Wild). She has never won before, but she is the kind of consistently good actress that can be a threat to win in this category in the right year.  She stars opposite Woody Harrelson in Wilson and opposite Michael Keaton in The Founder, which chronicles the origins of McDonald's. Given her recent campaigns for herself, her mother, Diane Ladd (Joy) and her father, Bruce Dern (Nebraska), she knows how to work the Oscar circuit and could be a real threat to win if either of these movie put her in the mix.



Nicole Kidman - Lion

Lion tells the story of an Indian boy adopted by an Australian couple, who sets out to find his birth-family when he reaches adulthood. Kidman plays one half of that Australian couple. Because she is such a famous name, she will always be a threat in the right role, so the quality of the movie will probably make all the difference. Kidman is a three-time Oscar nominee (Moulin Rouge!, The Hours and Rabbit Hole) and one-time winner (The Hours). It has been six years since she has been nominated, so she is poised for a good year.



At this point last year, Alicia Vikander, last year's eventual winner, was already making a lot of noise in this category, so don't be surprised to see these names pop up again at the end of the year. Other possible names include: Jennifer Jason Leigh in LBJ, Meg Tilly in War Machine, Julianne Moore in Maggie's Plan, Kristen Stewart in Billy Lynn's Last Halftime Walk, Judi Dench in Tulip Fever, Aunjanue Ellis in The Birth of A Nation.

For now, be sure to check out our other previews of the acting categories linked below:

Best Picture

Best Director

Best Actor

Best Actress

Best Supporting Actor


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