The Oscar for Best Supporting Actress went to many A-list stars in the 2000s, including Cate Blanchett, Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Penélope Cruz. Some were not as well-known but earned a nice boost in their careers, such as Marcia Gay Harden, Jennifer Connelly, Rachel Weisz and Jennifer Hudson. Then there were others who showed a whole new side of their talent, like Tilda Swinton and Mo’Nique.
The quality of their Oscar winning performances has been debated for years, but who is your favorite Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner of the 2000s? Take a look back on each of their performances and then vote in our poll below.
Marcia Gay Harden, “Pollock” (2000) — Marcia Gay Harden came out of nowhere to win Best Supporting Actress for “Pollock,” in which she plays impressionist artist Lee Krasner, the long-suffering wife of Jackson Pollock (Ed Harris). Harden had not even been nominated at any of the major precursors. She would later be nominated for “Mystic River” (2003).
Jennifer Connelly, “A Beautiful Mind” (2001) — Jennifer Connelly was also in a “long-suffering wife” role in “A Beautiful Mind,” playing John Nash’s (Russell Crowe) wife Alicia. Unlike Harden, Connelly won the Critics’ Choice, Golden Globe and BAFTA for her performance. This remains Connelly’s only nomination.
Catherine Zeta-Jones, “Chicago” (2002) — Catherine Zeta-Jones was the scene-stealer of “Chicago,” in which she plays accused murderess Velma Kelly, a role that required her not only to act, but to sing and dance at an expert level. She swept most of the precursors. This is Zeta-Jones’ only nomination and win at the Oscars.
Renée Zellweger, “Cold Mountain” (2003) — Renée Zellweger, Zeta-Jones’ co-star in “Chicago,” took home Best Supporting Actress the following year, for her performance as rustic farmer Ruby Thewes in “Cold Mountain.” Zellweger earned every major precursor on the way to Oscar. She had been nominated the previous two years for “Bridget Jones’s Diary” (2001) and “Chicago” (2002).
Cate Blanchett, “The Aviator” (2004) — Cate Blanchett may be known for her leading roles these days, but she won in Best Supporting Actress for playing screen legend Katharine Hepburn in “The Aviator.” A longtime favorite of the Academy, she would later win in lead for “Blue Jasmine” (2013), while earning nominations for “Elizabeth” (1999), “Notes on a Scandal” (2006), “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (2007), “I’m Not There” (2007) and “Carol” (2015).
Rachel Weisz, “The Constant Gardener” (2005) — Rachel Weisz’s performance as murdered humanitarian Tessa Abbott-Quayle in “The Constant Gardener” put her on the map as a serious actress. She earned the Golden Globe and SAG heading into the Oscars. This is Weisz’s only nomination from the Academy thus far.
Jennifer Hudson, “Dreamgirls” (2006) — Jennifer Hudson is a prime example of a dream coming true in Hollywood. Having previously been known as a singer on “American Idol,” she knocked it out of the park with her debut performance in “Dreamgirls” as Effie White and swept award season all the way through. “Dreamgirls” remains the only nomination for Hudson.
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Tilda Swinton, “Michael Clayton” (2007) — Tilda Swinton’s performance in “Michael Clayton” as lawyer Karen Crowder was a change of pace from her usual eccentric roles. Swinton’s Oscar win was a surprise, having only won at BAFTA. Despite multiple nominations at other award shows, this is still Swinton’s sole Oscar nomination and win.
Penélope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (2008) — Penélope Cruz spitfire performance as Maria Elena, ex-wife of a Spanish artist, in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” earned her a BAFTA and Oscar. Cruz became the first Spanish actress to win an Oscar. She was also Oscar nominated for “Volver” (2006) and “Nine” (2009).
Mo’Nique, “Precious” (2009) — Mo’Nique, primarily known for her standup and roles in outrageous comedies up to that point, surprised everyone with her brutally real performance as abusive mother Mary Lee Johnston in “Precious.” She easily swept through award season, including most of the critics groups as well. This is Mo’Nique’s only Oscar nomination and win, though she was recently nominated at the Emmys for playing Ma Rainey in the TV movie “Bessie.”
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