Kerry Condon is brilliant in “Banshees of Inisherin”. Oscar nomination forthcoming
Early December has a way of suddenly narrowing down Oscar nomination dreams but until we get there, the year’s most volatile acting category feels like Best Supporting Actress. From the plethora of films with multiple options (Women Talking, The Woman King, Everything Everywhere All At Once, Glass Onion, Tár, She Said) to stand-outs in films with male leads (The Banshees of Inisherin, Armageddon Time, Triangle of Sadness, The Whale, The Inspection) and one key still-to-screen performance (Jean Smart in Babylon), there are a lot of valid choices for Academy members. And that isn’t even all of the options if they’re feeling freethinking and adventurous this season (rare but one can always dream).
At this point we’re predicting…
Jessie Buckley, Women Talking
Because the universe often conspires to reduce ensemble pictures down to one performer and Buckley has one of the two showiest roles (the other belongs to Claire Foy). Plus she’s fresh off her first nomination and the Academy often stays in love for a bit after that first trip to the golden circus. Potential Obstacle: Claire Foy plus over-hype for the film which, whatever its merits, is exactly that title.
Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin
Because even if the performance wasn’t phenomenal (it is) she’d have the advantage of being the only major female in an acclaimed male-heavy surefire Best Picture contender. That advantage has led to several wins over the years, let alone nominations.
Potential Obstacle: It’s hard to spot one which means she could even win!
Hong Chau, The Whale
Chau presumably came close to the Oscar shortlist as the MVP (by a Grand Canyon sized margin) in Downsizing five years ago. Eventually Hollywood is going to catch on to her incredibly reliable gifts; She always elevates the role beyond what’s written.
Potential Obstacle: A24 has focused everything on Brendan Fraser thus far. There aren’t even stills of Chau in the movie released. Oscar voters could (incorrectly) see The Whale as a one-man show. Plus, the film’s other supporting actresses, Sadie Sink and Samantha Morton, have more to do in the final scenes.
Dolly De Leon, Triangle of Sadness
A brilliant best-in-show take on a role that could easily have been flatter. Plus she’s a delight on the campaign trail (yes, that helps… especially if the voters aren’t that familiar with your career). The love for the movie, which is real if not unanimous, has to go somewhere and where better than here?
Potential Obstacle: Who – voters have to know your name. Finally, she has considerable competition for the ‘discovery/rising star’ factor with Mbedu, Hsu, also working that angle.
Nina Hoss, Tár
Like both Condon and Chau, her campaign will unquestionably benefit from having a strong scene-partner who already feels locked up for a lead acting nod. That always helps in the supporting category. Plus she has her own devout fans among Oscar’s international membership as a leading lady of reknown in German language cinema. What’s more the role is a familiar type. Oscar voters love a spouse who has had to put with a lot from their partner.
But it’s hard to feel confident that that’s the five when Jamie Lee Curtis (overdue and hilarious), Claire Foy (memorably angry), Stephanie Hsu (complex role + rising star alert!), Gabrielle Union (Gotham nominee in a film that’s just getting started) are all right there and feel viable, too. Not to mention the leading roles that are competing here like Thuso Mbedu (The Woman King) and Carey Mulligan (She Said) and deeper cut performers from those same exact films.
Finally, nobody has seen what current Emmy champ Jean Smart has to work with in Babylon… maybe that’s a surefire nomination waiting to happen.