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Oscar Contest: Category Highlight: Best Supporting Actress

February 13th, 2011

With our annual Oscar Prediction contest underway, now is the best time to look at the nominees and try and figure out who the favorites are and which films should just feel honored to be nominated. This weekend we will look at the four acting categories, starting with Best Supporting Actress, which is possibly the most competitive of the four acting races. Even though there's definitely a favorite.

(Note: All previous awards listed are only for acting and not other categories. However, they are for supporting and lead acting.)

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams for The Fighter
Tomatometer Score: 90% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Two SAG and One Golden Globe
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Actress's Previous Major Nominations: One Independent Spirit Award, Three SAGs, Two Golden Globes, and Two Oscars
Actress's Previous Major Wins: One Independent Spirit Award
Notes: I believe Amy Adams is an Oscar-worthy actress. However, there's little hope she will win an Oscar for this performance, as her co-star, Melissa Leo, is the favorite here. She would have to overcome previous losses and vote-splitting to win, which is just too much to ask for.

Helena Bonham Carter for The King's Speech
Tomatometer Score: 95% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Two SAG and One Golden Globe
Movie's Previous Major Wins: One SAG
Actress's Previous Major Nominations: One SAGs, Two Golden Globes, and One Oscar
Actress's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: Helena Bonham Carter is not the favorite to win this award, but she has a legitimate chance at pulling the upset. First of all, Melissa Leo does have to deal with potential vote-splitting, while it is possible that The King's Speech will be the big winner come Oscar night, which could mean it will win a lot of awards it was not favored to win. On the other hand, vote-splitting hasn't hurt Melissa Leo during Awards Season so far and Helena Bonham Carter's only win was as part of an ensemble cast.

Melissa Leo for The Fighter
Tomatometer Score: 90% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Two SAG and one Golden Globe
Movie's Previous Major Wins: SAG and Golden Globe
Actress's Previous Major Nominations: One Independent Spirit Award, One SAGs, and One Oscar
Actress's Previous Major Wins: One Independent Spirit Award
Notes: After going two for two during Awards Season so far, Melissa Leo is the heavy favorite to win again. Her odds of winning might not be greater than the rest of the field combined, but its at least close to that, that's how heavily favored she is to win.

Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit
Tomatometer Score: 95% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: SAG
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Actress's Previous Major Nominations: First Movie Role
Actress's Previous Major Wins: First Movie Role
Notes: The only other actress that might have a real shot at upsetting Melissa Leo, but Hailee Steinfeld is more of a long shot than Helena Bonham Carter is. First of all, she's young. Really young. She wouldn't be the youngest actress to win an Oscar, but she would be relatively close and Awards Season voters tend to have a nasty habit of passing over young actors with the thought they can make up for that later in their careers. Secondly, her performance was definitely a leading role, which may or may not hurt her chances. On the one hand, she had a better chance to impress voters because of her screen time. On the other hand, voters might reject the obvious attempt to game the system. At best, she's got a no better than average chance at winning, just 20%.

Jackie Weaver for Animal Kingdom
Tomatometer Score: 97% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globe
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Actress's Previous Major Nominations: None
Actress's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: When the Oscar nominations were announced, this was one of the bigger surprises, Animal Kingdom was a small Australian film that barely got noticed here. Granted, the film was brilliant and she did earn a Golden Globe nomination, but many, myself included, thought the fifth nomination would go to Mila Kunis. A surprise nomination generally means a heavy underdog, and that is certainly the case here.

Conclusion: This is the most competitive acting category in this year's Oscar race, but it appears that Melissa Leo is still the heavy favorite. In fact, depending on who you talk to, she might have a better chance of winning than the rest of the field combined. Her chances to win are likely twice as high as Helena Bonham Carter's chance, and the latter has the best shot at pulling the upset.


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Filed under: The Fighter, True Grit, Animal Kingdom, The King’s Speech