Ann Dowd is early Oscars front-runner for ‘Mass’: Will she finally get her due a decade after financing her own campaign?

Ann Dowd leads our Oscar odds for her powerhouse performance in “Mass” as the mother of a school shooter. Bleecker Street releases this intense drama on October 8. The Emmy winner (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) is the early favorite to win Best Supporting Actress, according to the combined predictions of thousands of Gold Derby readers. If she does win, it would be a fitting end to a story almost 10 years in the making. Back in 2012 she had to finance her own Best Supporting Actress campaign for her role in the indie film “Compliance.” Better late than never.

“Compliance” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2012, which was followed by a release to general audiences that August. The film starred Dreama Walker as a fast-food employee and Dowd as her manager, who is tricked by a prankster over the phone into cruelly tormenting the employee. Dowd’s performance was acclaimed, but its distributor, Magnolia Pictures, didn’t have the budget for an Oscar campaign, so Dowd footed the bill herself to send screeners to the academy.

Dowd didn’t end up with an Oscar nomination for “Compliance,” but she did win Best Supporting Actress from the National Board of Review and received nominations from the Critics Choice Awards, Independent Spirit Awards, and various other regional critics groups. But even without Oscar, I’d argue that she won in the long run. The following years were the decade of Dowd with major roles on TV in “Olive Kitteridge,” “Masters of Sex,” “The Leftovers,” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” (for which she won an Emmy) and on the big screen in “Captain Fantastic,” “Hereditary,” and now “Mass,” which follows two couples coping with a tragedy that links them.

Seven of the Expert journalists we’ve surveyed are currently betting on Dowd to prevail: Thelma Adams (Gold Derby), Joyce Eng (Gold Derby), Tim Gray (Variety), Perri Nemiroff (Collider), Christopher Rosen (Gold Derby), Sasha Stone (Awards Daily), and Susan Wloszczyna (Gold Derby). So while the Oscars didn’t get onboard for “Compliance,” Dowd’s gutsy investment in her own career has been paying off more and more.

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