Only one of the five nominees for Best Supporting Actress has contended at the Oscars before.
Winning most of the precursor prizes has made Octavia Spencer the clear frontrunner for her scene-stealing performance as a defiant maid in “The Help.” While she gets a lot of laughs, she also causes tears to flow as she talks of her her abusive husband.
As the young ingenue who bewitches a fading matinee idol, Berenice Bejo is really the female lead in “The Artist.” Indeed, she contended for Best Actress at BAFTA. While her leading man, Jean Dujardin, has won Best Actor from the Globes and SAG, she has been left on the sidelines. However, another French actress with a big part in the Best Picture champ won this award in 1996: Juliette Binoche (“The English Patient”).
Many pundits credit Melissa McCarthy‘s broad comic turn in “Bridesmaids” as one of the reasons she pulled off an upset at the Emmys last September, claiming Comedy Actress for the freshman season of “Mike & Molly.” This nomination is a win for McCarthy as her sort of over-the-top performance is rarely recognized by the academy.
Jessica Chastain appeared in two of the Best Picture nominees — “The Help” and “The Tree of Life — as well as the critically acclaimed “Coriolanus” and “Take Shelter.” The acting branch singled out her performance in “The Help” as a new bride ostracized by the rest of the community because she is not of their social standing.
British stage actress Janet McTeer contended for Best Actress for “Tumbleweeds” in 1999. In “Albert Nobbs,” she is a woman masquerading as a man who befriend the the cross-dressing title character played by Glenn Close. Linda Hunt won this category in 1983 for playing a man in “The Year of Living Dangerously.”
Click on the pundits below to see a breakdown of their rankings in this race.
Click on each of the categories below for the overview of that race.