Best Supporting Actress Predictions

Current Predictions (09-29-11):
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Sandra Bullock, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Naomi Watts, J. Edgar
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids

A weak crop of candidates could keep this race suspenseful or it could allow a clear winner to emerge before nominees are even announced. Octavia Spencer in The Help would be the most viable person to start raking in precursor awards. Similar to Monique in Precious, there has been buzz about her performance from the moment the film was released. The only thing standing in Spencer’s way is the long shadow of Viola Davis’ unparalleled performance. The Help is an actor’s movie and I think it will be recognized as such. With virtually all tech categories out of the question, look for the Academy to reward great performances for the film.

Jessica Chastain is the new “it” girl. She’s turning up in just about everything this year. I have a feeling she will be rewarded for her efforts and get a nod as one of the other head-turners from The Help.

I’m skeptical of Sandra Bullock since she won for a pretty pat role in The Blindisde only a few years ago. Can she actually be better in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close? If she is, I think she might actually benefit from having been rewarded for a weaker movie already. The rest of the category is still very much up in the air. I am always excited by any new Naomi Watts performance so I’ll keep her int he shaky 4th slot.

Vanessa Redgrave is probably a weak bit of wishful thinking but her name keeps popping up in Oscar discussion this year, something that has not happened in quite some time.

Melissa McCarthy, fresh off her Emmy win, might be the most compelling candidate. She’s a standout in a very successful, widely seen comedy, Bridesmaids, filled with spectacular performances all around. In a weak category, she has a very good chance of being nominated, and rightfully so.

Side Note: I believe Keira Knightley and Viola Davis will each be campaigned in the Lead Actress category. Either might instead be pushed in this category. If both go Supporting then it all but locks up Davis for the win here. If only Knightley goes Supporting then I think she will be competing with Spencer the whole way. Spencer still would have the edge.

Another Side Note: Is it just me or does Best Supporting Actress generally shape up to be the most boring major category? It’s become a wasteland for one hit wonders. Each year there is little suspense over the winner and when there is a surprise it’s generally for a forgettable performance (Marcia Gay Harden and Marisa Tomei come to mind).

Good Bet:
Octavia Spencer, The Help

Still In Play:
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Sandra Bullock, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Naomi Watts, J. Edgar
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Vanessa Redgrave, Coriolanus
Judi Dench, J. Edgar
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Berenice Bojo, The Artist
Kate Winsley, Carnage
Shalene Woodley, The Descendants

Wishful Thinking:
Carey Mulligan, Shame

Distant Possibilities:
Emily Watson, War Horse
Evan Rachel Wood, Ides of March
Mia Wasikowska, Albert Nobbs
Elizabeth Reezer, Young Adult

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