2018 Oscars Preview - Best Supporting Actress
Welcome to a fresh Oscar race, ladies and gentlemen! It is never to early to take a look at who is making noise early based on pedigree, script and the usual career narratives. In fact, looking back at last year's preview, I called three of the five eventual nominees and it would have been four if not for Viola Davis going Supporting instead of Lead. Let's take a look at who is out front based on what little is known now.
Julianne Moore - Wonderstruck
One of my favorite actors working today, she was one of the most "overdue" in all of Hollywood just a few years ago. Then she won Best Actress in 2014 for Still Alice, in a race that was all but over from the jump. While she is no longer 'owed,' Julianne Moore at the peak of her powers is always formidable. Paired with Todd Haynes (Carol) in an adaptation of an acclaimed novel by the same name, Moore is always good enough to be in the mix. If the movie turns out to be as good as its distributor, Amazon, may think, look out for Moore to potentially lap the field. The film is set to compete in the main competition at Cannes, which should offer strong early indications of which way the film is headed.
Kristin Scott Thomas - Darkest Hour
It is war, it is history, it is real people, it is British. All of these factors weigh heavily in favor of Darkest Hour, which claimed frontrunner status in the Oscar derby with a certain photo. The film follows UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill as he faces a crucial moment against Adolf Hitler's German Army at the beginning of World War II. This is the stuff the Academy traditionally eats up, but recent history is showing us that things may be changing as the makeup of the Academy isn't what it used to be. Still, Thomas is a well established actress whose sole nomination came over 20 years ago for her work in The English Patient. That sort of long career can certainly help in the Supporting categories, but her fortunes likely rise and fall with the film itself.
Melissa Leo - Novitiate
Melissa Leo is a veteran character actor and has made a career of varied and interesting supporting roles. This year, she will play a nun in this Sundance hit. Early reviews single her out among a cast of lesser known actors. And while it may be an uphill climb to win again (after winning in 2010 for The Fighter), she seems poised to continue racking up nominations when her work is strong.
Mary J Blige - Mudbound
What good are predictions this early if you can't go out on a little bit of a limb every now and then? This prediction comes with the caveat that I don't believe in Netflix in the least, but this Sundance darling has a lot of things working in its favor and Blige could be one of the things that rises to the top. This is director Dee Rees' followup to critical darling, Pariah, and tells the story of a Black family relocating to rural Mississippi and coping with racism and the effects of World War II. Given the rapidly changing demographics of the Academy (younger and more diverse), look out for out of the box choices like singer turned actor Mary J Blige.
Michelle Williams - The Greatest Showman
She's back! Michelle Williams was the out front leader in this category for most of last year, but when Viola Davis switched categories, it was Williams' Oscar chances that took the biggest hit. After doing remarkable work in very little screentime in Manchester By the Sea, there is no doubt the Academy will be thinking of Michelle Williams yet again. She is now a four-time nomineee and is really starting to feel "due." She will win eventually; it is only a matter of time. This film, which stars she and Hugh Jackman, is a good bet to be a standout this seaosn, which might be just enough to make this her year.
Michelle Pfeiffer - mother!
Michelle Pfeiffer's professional peak came in the late 80s and early 90s, when she was nominated for three Oscars (Dangerous Liaisons, The Fabulous Baker Boys and Love Field). With a nearly 40 year career at this point, there is a definite argument that she is due for a win. Could playing opposite Jennifer Lawrence in this family drama be her ticket to Oscar gold?
Margot Robbie - Goodbye Christopher Robbin
As a beautiful, young ingénue, Margot Robbie is next up for Oscar recognition. With recent high profile turns in The Wolf of Wall Street and Suicide Squad, her star is certainly on the ascendency. All of this on top of the fact that Oscar loves period pieces and she seems like a fair bet to make the cut in this film that traces the origin story of Winnie the Pooh.
To be thorough, here are some other ladies who might wind up in the mix throughout the year.
Katherine Waterston - The Current War
Rachel McAdams - Disobedience
Vicky Krieps - Untitled P.T. Anderson Film
Hong Chau - Downsizing
Hopefully I am fairly close with the above guesses, but this should be a fun season no matter what!
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