Regina King has been the frontrunner for Best Supporting Actress since the start of this awards season. No matter what has happened, which has been a lot, no one has been able to budge the “If Beale Street Could Talk” star from the number one spot – and many are still predicting her to win her first Oscar following her first nomination. But here’s why she may not be as safe as everyone thinks.
King was snubbed by both SAG and BAFTA. Amy Adams (“Vice”), Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz (both “The Favourite”), and Margot Robbie (“Mary Queen of Scots”) all made it in at both of those groups. It was Emily Blunt (“A Quiet Place”) who took King’s place at SAG and Claire Foy (“First Man”) who took her place at BAFTA. Adams, Stone, and Weisz were the only three to make it into those lineups as well as the Academy’s and the Globes.
Despite King’s duo of egregious snubs, she is still assumed to be the front runner. But here is a stat that may change your mind: Since the academy expanded Best Picture to between five and 10 films, there have only been two Supporting Actress winners from a film that was not nominated for Best Picture.
Alicia Vikander for 2016’s “The Danish Girl” was the first. However, unlike King, Vikander was nominated at all major precursors: BAFTA, the Globes, Critics Choice, and SAG. She won the latter two. The reason she didn’t win at BAFTA and at the Globes is that she was placed in the lead category at those groups. King has had no such category confusion, so it’s even more baffling as to why she was snubbed by two major precursors. It’s the same story with the second of the two – Alison Janney in 2018’s “I, Tonya.” Again, Janney swept – she won the Golden Globe, BAFTA, SAG, and Critics’ Choice before taking home her Oscar.
“The Danish Girl,” which was greeted with lukewarm reviews, was more readily embraced by the academy than King’s critics-darling “Beale Street.” Tom Hooper‘s “The Danish Girl” earned three Oscar nominations on top of Vikander’s win: costume design, production design, and a Best Actor bid for Eddie Redmayne. And “I, Tonya” earned nominations for Film Editing and Best Actress for Margot Robbie, showing it had a lot of support from the academy’s biggest branch – the actors. Conversely Barry Jenkins‘ “Beale Street” has only been nominated for adapted screenplay and score.
If your film isn’t in the Best Picture race, it may be hard to drum up enough support and passion for your performance. Just look at Rooney Mara (“Carol”) and Kate Winslet (“Steve Jobs”) the year that Vikander won. Their supporting performances were hotly tipped to challenge for the Oscar – with Winslet even winning the Golden Globe and BAFTA – but their dreams of Oscar glory ended as soon as their critically-loved films were snubbed in the Best Picture race
King’s four challengers are all in Best Picture nominated films: Stone and Weisz steal scenes in “The Favourite,” Adams does likewise in “Vice,” and Marina de Tavira is a revelation in “Roma.” These three films aren’t just token Best Picture nominees. “Roma” clearly has a lot of support from the actors after de Tavira and Yalitza Aparicio‘s surprise bids; “The Favourite” leads the way with 10 Oscar bids; and “Vice” over-performed A LOT at the Oscars by claiming eight nominations. Oh, and Adams is a six-time nominee who is long over-due. So King has to deal with that narrative, too.
Indeed, if one of Weisz, Stone, or, likeliest, Adams wins both at SAG and BAFTA, you can consider King very much in trouble. Her best hope is that the two awards groups go different ways – maybe SAG with Adams and BAFTA to home-town favorite Weisz? The worst case scenario is if someone wins both.
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