Oscar upset: How Kate Winslet could win Best Supporting Actress for ‘Steve Jobs’

After its two Golden Globe wins, “Steve Jobs” seemed poised to make a long-awaited comeback into the Oscar race. But it earned only two nominations — lead Michael Fassbender and supporting player Kate Winslet — thus marking a quiet and disappointing ending to what has been a rollercoaster of a season for the film.

Yet, there’s still hope, right?

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While Leonardo DiCaprio looks like a lock for Best Actor, the Supporting Actress race is hotly contested and Winslet is coming off that surprise victory at the Globes. However, she only faced one of her Oscar competitors — Jennifer Jason Leigh in “The Hateful Eight” — in that race. The other Globe nominees were Jane Fonda (“Youth”), Helen Mirren (“Trumbo”) and Alicia Vikander (“Ex Machina”), none of whom are nominated for those same roles at the Oscars.

At the Oscars, Winslet also faces two actress who competed (but lost) as leads at the Globes — Rooney Mara (“Carol”) and Vikander (“The Danish Girl”) — as well as Rachel McAdams (“Spotlight”). All four are also nominated at the SAG Awards as is Mirren.

Our combined racetrack odds have Vikander, who won at the Critics’ Choice Awards on Sunday, in out front at 9/10, with Mara hot on her tail at 21/10. Winslet is in third place with 9/1, but far ahead of the others (Leigh is at 40/1 and McAdams at 80/1).

As this is Winslet’s seventh Oscar nomination(she won Best Actress in 2009 for “The Reader”), she faces an uphill battle. There is not the same urgency to award her as there is for relative newcomers Vikander and Mara. Tack on the less than stellar performance of her film in other branches and Winslet’s road to the Oscar is even steeper.

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However, there is precedent for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar champ to have won only one other major award during the season. In 2007, Tilda Swinton (“Michael Clayton”) lost at the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice and SAG Awards to a trio of her Oscar rivals. The Globes picked Cate Blanchett (“I’m Not There”), the Critics Choice went to Amy Ryan (“Gone Baby Gone”), and SAG selected Ruby Dee (“American Gangster”). Swinton won the BAFTA before prevailing at the Oscars. And in 2000, Marcia Gay Harden (“Pollock”) without even being nominated for any of these precursors prizes.  

That fact couple with the category confusion could mean this is a much closer race than we think. With four of the Oscar nominees in contention, the SAG Awards on January 30 may well be the most telling precursor in this race. The combined racetrack odds in that race are similar to those of the Oscars, though Mara currently edges out Vikander with 8/11 compared to 21/10. Winslet still sits in third with 16/1. McAdams is fourth (50/1) and Mirren fifth (80/1). If Winslet wins there, 

After that, BAFTA announces its winners on February 14. Three of the Oscar nominees compete there (Leight, Mara, Winslet) as does Vikander, but for “Ex Machina” not “The Danish Girl,” and home-grown favorite Julie Walters (“Brooklyn”). Again Winslet is in third according to our combined racetrack odds. This could be where Winslet pulls off an upset, just three days after final Oscar voting begins. Having surprised once already, she could very well surprise again.

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Photo Credits: “Steve Jobs” (Universal)

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