Those Oscar Missed: Best Supporting Actress


Best Supporting Actress has sometimes produced some surprise winners, but it has grown mostly predictable for the last decade.  What strikes me is how quickly the winners of the last decade have been largely forgotten (with the exception of Cate Blanchett, Penelope Cruz, and Tilda Swinton).  How many people even remember that Jennifer Hudson won nearly six years ago for Dreamgirls (I was against this because most of her performance was singing, not acting)?  Or Mo’Nique about three years ago for Precious (I was against this because I felt that Paula Patton, who wasn’t even nominated, gave the better supporting performance)?  What’s Renee Zellweger been doing for the last few years?  It’s saddening when an Oscar win is not used to gain bigger or better roles.  It’s even more saddening when some truly excellent supporting performances get ignored or go unnoticed.  But now, let us highlight those major snubs.

One major snub is Anne Baxter for 1950’s All About Eve.  She gave what is now a legendary performance as Eve Harrington, a fan of Margo Channing who gets to meet the Broadway actress.  She gets hired as Margo’s assistant and meticulously puts her plan to replace Margo as a new star into motion.  Baxter is quite devilish as her Eve manipulates, blackmails, and tries to seduce her way to the top.  It’s too bad she wasn’t nominated, but that’s because she lobbied and pushed for a Best Actress nod instead (which she got along with Bette Davis, but it only destroyed Davis’ chances of winning).  Baxter later regretted pushing for Best Actress instead of Supporting Actress.  Baxter is a two-time nominee (1 Best Actress nod for 1950’s All About Eve, 1 Supporting Actress win for 1947’s The Razor’s Edge).

The actual nominees at the 23rd Academy Awards were:
Harvey – Josephine Hull (*Winner)
Caged – Hope Emerson
All About Eve – Celeste Holm
All About Eve – Thelma Ritter
Sunset Boulevard – Nancy Olson

Another major snub is Sandra Bernhard for 1983’s The King of Comedy.  She gives a scene-stealing performance as Masha, a friend of Rupert Pupkin who is also obsessed with and late night talk show host Jerry Langford.  She helps engineer Rupert’s first “meeting” with Jerry, and when Rupert’s other attempts to get Jerry to give him a shot fail, she helps him with kidnapping Jerry.  Perhaps the most famous sequence in the film is where she has dinner with Jerry (who is duct-taped to a chair) and tries to seduce him (with hilarious results).  It’s too bad she wasn’t nominated for her terrific performance in this film, for she has yet to be nominated for an Oscar.

The actual nominees at the 56th Academy Awards were:
The Year of Living Dangerously – Linda Hunt (*Winner)\
Silkwood – Cher
The Big Chill – Glenn Close
Yentl – Amy Irving
Cross Creek – Alfre Woodard

One major snub is Miranda Richardson for 1999’s Sleepy Hollow.  She gave a terrific performance as Lady Van Tassel.  She’s subtle and unsuspecting for most of the film until (spoiler alert) she’s r as the film’s true villain.  Her villainous reveal is deliciously wicked, and she just revels in the fun as she seeks her complete revenge on the Van Tassel family.  Richardson also plays Lady Van Tassel’s identical twin sister Crone, the witch in the woods.  It’s a shame that she wasn’t nominated for her work here.  Richardson is a two-time nominee (1 Supporting Actress nod for 1992’s Damage & 1 Actress nod for 1994’s Tom and Viv).

The actual nominees at the 72nd Academy Awards were:
Girl, Interrupted – Angelina Jolie (*Winner)
The Sixth Sense – Toni Collette
Being John Malkovich – Catherine Keener
Sweet and Lowdown – Samantha Morton
Boys Don’t Cry – Chloe Sevigny

Another major snub would be Diane Keaton for 2005’s The Family Stone.  Keaton turned in a wonderful performance as Sybil Stone, the strong-willed matriarch of the Stone  Sybil is a breast cancer survivor, and throughout the film she deals with the recurrence of the illness while trying to be the glue that holds her family together.  She initially refuses to give her son Everett his grandmother’s ring to use as an engagement ring, but she eventually reconsiders and offers it to him.  It’s a shame Keaton wasn’t nominated for her terrific work here.  She is a four-time nominee (3 Actress nods for 1981’s Reds, 1996’s Marvin’s Room, and 2003’s Something’s Gotta Give, 1 Actress win for 1977’s Annie Hall).

The actual nominees at the 78th Academy Awards were:
The Constant Gardener – Rachel Weisz (*Winner)
Brokeback Mountain – Michelle Williams
Capote – Catherine Keener
Junebug – Amy Adams
North Country – Frances McDormand

One final major snub would be Leslie Mann 2007’s Knocked Up.  An underrated actress, Mann gave an excellent performance as Debbie, a woman who fears that her husband is unfaithful and that the future of their marriage is bleak.  She tries to fight for her marriage while trying to give her younger, pregnant sister emotional support, as well as dealing with the fact that she’s not as young as she used to be.  This was one of the most overlooked performances of 2007, and it was a shame that she wasn’t nominated for her terrific work here (especially since Ruby Dee got a sympathy nod for American Gangster since she was old).  Mann has yet to receive a single Oscar nod.

The actual nominees at the 80th Academy Awards were:
Michael Clayton – Tilda Swinton (*Winner)
American Gangster – Ruby Dee
Atonement – Saoirse Ronan
Gone Baby Gone – Amy Ryan
I’m Not There – Cate Blanchett

Other actresses that were considered include Kirstie Alley for 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Frances O’Connor for 2001’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence, and Rosemarie DeWitt for 2008’s Rachel Getting Married.

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3 Responses to Those Oscar Missed: Best Supporting Actress

  1. Have to say that I completely agree with you on Jennifer Hudson. Dreamgirls was on last a couple of weeks ago and I couldn’t believe she won. Anika Noni Rose was better I thought.

  2. le0pard13 says:

    Agreed. Kudos for bringing up Miranda Richardson in ‘Sleepy Hollow’, a Burton I never tire of. Well done.

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