Rachel Weisz has won the BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress for her turn as the conniving Lady Sarah in ‘The Favourite,” cementing her as a possible favo(u)rite to win the Oscar. Awards experts have long been expecting Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Award winner Regina King to triumph for “If Beale Street Could Talk,” but her lack of a nomination at either the Screen Actors Guild Awards or BAFTA suggests support may be elsewhere when it comes to the industry. While many are still sticking to their guns and predicting King to win Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars, Weisz’s BAFTA victory should not be underestimated.
Recent Oscar history has shown how a splintered acting race, and very specifically a splintered Supporting Actress race, can often favor the BAFTA winner. Over the past 25 years, we have seen actresses like Penelope Cruz (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” 2008), Tilda Swinton (“Michael Clayton,” 2007), Judi Dench (“Shakespeare in Love,” 1998), and Juliette Binoche (“The English Patient,” 1996) win just the BAFTA and Oscar, after being overlooked at the Golden Globes, SAG and Critics’ Choice Awards. Of course, BAFTA took place after the Oscars in the ’90s when Dench and Binoche won, but it still suggests British support was instrumental in pushing both to Oscar glory. Additionally, some may say Cruz only won because Kate Winslet, who had beaten her at the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice and SAG Awards for “The Reader,” was instead nominated in lead at both BAFTA and the Oscars. Regardless, the British tea leaves indicated that Cruz was the one to beat in a chaotic category.
Even if you don’t buy those previous scenarios indicating Weisz could win at the Oscars, the best recent example would be Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies,” 2015) pulling off an Oscar upset over Sylvester Stallone in “Creed.” Stallone had won the Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Awards for Best Supporting Actor, with the crowds giving him a standing ovation each time. This led many prognosticators to pick him as the Oscar winner, ignoring the fact that he was snubbed at both SAG and BAFTA. The parallels between 2015 and now continue as the non-Oscar-nominated Idris Elba (“Beasts of No Nation”) won at SAG, just like this year’s Oscar snubbee Emily Blunt (“A Quiet Place”). All Rylance took home among major precursors was BAFTA, and that may very well be all Weisz needs to pull off an Oscar victory of her own.
It has been suggested throughout the season that Weisz and co-star Emma Stone will split “The Favourite” vote in this category, with no clear indication about who has a better chance over the other. Now that we see that Weisz has enough support to overcome vote-splitting, she should be taken very seriously as a threat to win. Another factor helping Weisz, outside of the strength of her wickedly fun performance, is that it has been a while since her first win. She claimed victory for “The Constant Gardener” a full 13 years ago, while Stone just won two years ago for “La La Land.” Mahershala Ali (“Green Book”) will likely have no problem picking up his second Oscar in three years over in the Best Supporting Actor category, but it would be very out of the ordinary to see two actors pull this off in the same year, and there may not be urgency to give a young star like Stone a second Oscar.
Even with Weisz’s BAFTA win, King is a formidable contender despite her precursor misses. Emmy predictors know full well to never undervalue the respect the industry has for King, who has pulled off three wins at the Emmys in four years, often unexpectedly. It also hurts that King is the only actress in her lineup not in a Best Picture nominee, but the groundswell of love for the “Beale Street” standout may just cancel out all of those cons. Yet, it won’t be easy for Keng, especially now that Weisz has emerged as her strongest competition with the support of BAFTA. After all, as Weisz’s character knows, favor is a breeze that shifts direction all the time.
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own 2019 Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on February 24.