2014 Awards Season: Oscar Highlight: Best Supporting Actress

12 Years a Slave poster

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 week we will look at the four acting categories, starting with Best Supporting Actress, which is again not a very competitive category this year. I'm not saying it is impossible for upset to happen here, but it is very, very unlikely. (On a side note, except for changing the links and using another poster, this is an exact cut and paste from last year. This category is slightly more competitive that last year, but not by enough to matter.)

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

Best Supporting Actress

Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine
Tomatometer Score: 86% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: One Golden Globe and One Independent Spirit Awards
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None (One Pending)
Actress's Previous Major Nominations: One Golden Globes
Actress's Previous Major Wins: One Golden Globes
Notes: Sally Hawkins has almost no chance of winning an Oscar this year. Blue Jasmine is earning a lot of Oscar buzz, but it is almost entirely going to Cate Blanchett for Best Lead Actress. Additionally, she hasn't won yet this Awards Season and didn't even pick up a SAG nomination. I don't know if she's the longest of the long shots, but it is close.

Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle
Tomatometer Score: 92% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: One Golden Globe and Two SAGs
Movie's Previous Major Wins: Golden Globe and SAG
Actress's Previous Major Nominations: Two Oscars, Two Golden Globes, Three SAGs, and Two Independent Spirit Awards
Actress's Previous Major Wins: One Oscars, One Golden Globes, One SAG, and One Independent Spirit Awards
Notes: One of two actresses actresses who have a better than average shot at the Oscar this year. On the one hand, Jennifer Lawrence did win the Golden Globe, but on the other hand, lost out to Lupita Nyong'o for the SAG. American Hustle did win the best Ensemble at the SAG awards, which might be considered the tie-breaker for Jennifer Lawrence. However, she also won last year, and it is very, very rare for an actor to win two Oscars in a row, even in different categories. If she wins, it won't be a total shock, but I don't think she's a favorite.

Lupita Nyong'o for 12 Years a Slave
Tomatometer Score: 96% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: One Golden Globe, Two SAGs, and One Independent Spirit Awards
Movie's Previous Major Wins: Golden Globe and SAG (One Pending)
Actress's Previous Major Nominations: First Film Role
Actress's Previous Major Wins: First Film Role
Notes: As I already pointed out, the evidence points to a close race between Lupita Nyong'o and Jennifer Lawrence. The pair split the two previous major Supporting Actor awards, but Lupita Nyong'o won the SAG, which is the better indicator and Jennifer Lawrence won an Oscar last year, so there's little chance she will win again. Maybe some voters won't want to give her the award because this is her first movie performance, but I think that would only come into play if she was up against a veteran actress who had never won an Oscar, despite numerous nominations. Frankly, I think Lupita Nyong'o is at least a two to one favorite to win at a 60% / 30% split over Jennifer Lawrence with the other three nominees fighting over the remaining 10%.

Julia Roberts for August: Osage County
Tomatometer Score: 64% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: One Golden Globe, Two SAGs, and One Independent Spirit Awards
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Actress's Previous Major Nominations: Three Oscar, Seven Golden Globe, One SAG, and One Independent Spirit Awards
Actress's Previous Major Wins: One Oscar, Three Golden Globe, and One SAG
Notes: This is the longest of the long shots. The movie earned weak reviews compared to the other films on this list. It has picked up more major nominations that I would have expected given the reviews, but it has been shut out thus far. Finally, Julia Roberts has won in the past, so Oscar voters won't be looking to fix past mistakes.

June Squibb for Nebraska
Tomatometer Score: 92% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: One SAG
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Actress's Previous Major Nominations: None
Actress's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: June Squibb started acting in 1958 doing theater work for years and years. It wasn't until 1990 that she landed her first movie role and she has been pretty busy in supporting roles in movies and on TV since then. However, Nebraska is the first film she's earned any Awards Season buzz for. It would make for a great storyline if she won, but the evidence suggests she's at least a ten to one underdog.

Conclusion: Evidence suggests Lupita Nyong'o is a heavy favorite over Jennifer Lawrence to win her first Oscar for her first movie role. Perhaps 12 Years a Slave peaked too soon and that will cost her the win, but I think that's unlikely.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-02-18