Welcome to Oscar Experts Typing, a weekly column in which Gold Derby editors and Experts Joyce Eng and Christopher Rosen discuss the Oscar race — via Slack, of course. This week, we try to make sense of the Best Supporting Actress race, which looks a lot different now than it did two weeks ago.
Christopher Rosen: Hello, Joyce! The stockings are hung by the chimney with care and we’re ready to type about the acting race with more contenders than Santa has reindeer. I’m referring, of course, to Best Supporting Actress, which has maybe just one person I’m ready to say will definitely get nominated — and 10 other actresses who could conceivably make a legitimate argument to reach the final five. Let’s start with the One True Thing: Kerry Condon from “The Banshees of Inisherin.” Remember that hot five minutes when I thought she wouldn’t even get nominated? Now, she’s at the top of our odds and it wouldn’t shock me if she just steamrolled through the rest of the season — the Sam Rockwell to Colin Farrell’s Frances McDormand. Beyond Condon, though, I have so many doubts. For most of the season, the women talking in “Women Talking” felt like obvious picks — and Jessie Buckley, once the leader in our odds, remains close behind Condon on the charts. But I’ve since bounced both Buckley and Claire Foy due to the fact that “Women Talking” hasn’t really raced out of the starting gate. This was a top early contender after it premiered at Telluride, but I don’t get the sense that pundits are really passionate about the movie. Whether voters warm to it remains to be seen — there is a sense that despite its early start, “Women Talking” is a title many industry folks will try to catch up with over the holiday. But even if “Women Talking” has a resurgence in buzz, I still think Buckley and Foy could face an uphill road to a nomination: Not only will they split the vote (and with other members of that film’s excellent ensemble), but it’s hard to imagine either would get enough No. 1 support to overcome the presumed passion for other contenders. That same scenario could play out with Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu. I’ve got both “Everything Everywhere All at Once” stars getting nominations, but I’m not sure about it! And if I had to pick one to miss, it might be Curtis due to the fact that Hsu — while not a Hollywood legend like her co-star — arguably gives the film’s best performance, an emotional piece of work that is likely to be at the top of the ranks for a good many of the film’s supporters. So for me it’s Condon, Hsu, Curtis, and then I rounded out the top five with Hong Chau and Dolly de Leon. My case for the former is that she remains an obvious coattail nominee for Brendan Fraser and she too gives the film’s best performance. For de Leon, it’s all about Passion (there’s that word again, but this time I capitalized it, because it’s important). But if you told me the category is filled out with Angela Bassett for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and Janelle Monáe for “Glass Onion,” or Nina Hoss for “TÁR” as a coattail and Carey Mulligan for “She Said” as a surprise, I wouldn’t blink an eye. Help me sort this madness out, Joyce!
joyceeng: You temporarily abandoning Condon, who’s in a top Best Picture contender, and not even predicting her at the Golden Globes when they like Martin McDonagh and “Banshees” is such a Globes movie (a leading eight noms!) was one of the funniest things ever. Never change. She is the only one I feel good about as well and can definitely go all the way. Condon also might be the only contender who’ll hit the Globes, Critics Choice, SAG and BAFTA. Curtis and Bassett are the other two who also have Globe and Critics Choice bids, and though I think they’ll make SAG, BAFTA will be a tougher get. I don’t really see either being top three or a jury pick, while Condon will probably be No. 1 and will win, and that’ll be all she wrote. After last week, I dropped down to one “Women Talking” woman, Buckley, but I now have zero after both failed to make London Critics’ Circle in the category. I think one (probably Buckley) could still show up at BAFTA, but the vibes around the film are unfortunately flat and they haven’t even been able to emerge as a consensus pair that doesn’t win, a la “The Favourite’s” Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz or “Up in the Air’s” Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick. Of the “Everything Everywhere” ladies, I only have Curtis, whom I can also picture missing in the end. And then I have three people who don’t have strong internal competition: de Leon, Monáe and Chau. The first two deliver their best work in the back half of their films and de Leon can monopolize the “cool Euro vote.” Monáe and Chau were snubbed by the Globes, which could be a red flag, but the former’s buzz will pick up now that “Glass Onion” is finally on Netflix. I agree Chau is the best part of “The Whale,” which will probably play better with the people that just gave “CODA” Best Picture than it does with critics. If you can’t figure it out by now, I have dropped my girl Nina Hoss, but I still believe in the Cate coattail. I’ve heavily debated slotting in Hsu — “Everything Everywhere” is closer to double noms than not — and I probably would have her right now if Curtis hadn’t gone Full Consider (to be clear, I’m into it — more openly naked campaigning, plz). Is JLC the Tom Cruise of this category? A Hollywood icon no one was seriously considering six months ago but for different reasons now has a legit shot at a spot?
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Christopher Rosen: I do think that tracks — and I think Curtis knows it too. Like you said, she’s doing the Leo this season and I too am loving it. More of that! In fact, if she does get in (which we both are expecting), I could make the case she ultimately winds up as the winner – especially if “Everything Everywhere” goes into juggernaut mode. But back to the category as a whole: it sounds like we’re in step on four of the five, but I have Hsu and you have Monáe. Why do we have to pick just one? Oh, because this isn’t the Critics Choice Awards. Got it. I would love to go for Monáe, especially because “Glass Onion” feels like a strong movie overall — I loved that Nathan Johnson made the Oscar shortlist for his score and this movie should compete in production design, editing, and could wind up as the frontrunner for adapted screenplay. But I do wonder if “Glass Onion” ultimately winds up as the Screen Actors Guild Award ensemble pick — even over “Everything Everywhere” — due to its appealing cast, and doesn’t really pop for any one individual. Monáe missed at the Globes (strange) and could easily miss at SAG too. But let’s circle back to the “Women Talking” actresses before we head out into the Christmas night. What if we’re seriously underestimating the movie — and the standout potential nominee. Most of the people I know who saw the movie loved Judith Ivey most out of the cast and I could see her generating No. 1 support that leaves her as a shocker on Oscar morning. Do you think Ivey is an upset choice beyond the 10 contenders here? Or do you see a path for Mulligan to land among the five instead?
joyceeng: Please, we both know that by this time next week you will have Monáe in after Netflix vaguely brags about how “Glass Onion” destroyed its streaming records. Any of the “Women Talking” stars would have a better chance if the film were as formidable as we all thought it would be three months ago. It can definitely have an industry resurgence, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of passion for it even though almost everyone who sees it agrees it’s good. Mulligan arguably has a greater shot simply due to her co-lead role and being “She Said’s” main supporting push. Funny you say you can see JLC coming out on top (no offense to her) because the buzz is really about her receiving her inaugural nomination at 64 years old. There’s very little talk about her actually winning, whereas many have felt and still feel that Hsu has the performance and role to win. I know you don’t have Michelle Yeoh taking Best Actress, but a lot of people do, and I also can’t see “Everything Everywhere” nabbing three acting awards, something only two films have done. You know how we say getting the nomination is the hardest part for some folks? In Curtis’ case, I think getting the nomination is easier than the win is, especially if Hsu, with the showier role, makes it. However, for Bassett, it’s the opposite. The nom will be the hurdle, but she has some dramatic, emotional Oscar clips. I don’t have her in my Oscar five, but I did just put her in first at SAG. Move over, Emily Blunt?
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Christopher Rosen: The case for Bassett is pretty compelling: She’s not just that industry veteran who should have an Oscar by now, she’s in one of the year’s biggest movies with one of the most emotional roles in the field. As we noted in our chat this week, “Wakanda Forever” was a massive winner in the shortlists derby, landing on five of the lists. Of course, none of its citations were unexpected — but unlike “Everything Everywhere” or “The Fabelmans,” it had no missed opportunities. That doesn’t mean I’m ready to move “Black Panther” into the Best Picture field, but it does mean this movie has some staying power in the industry. That, to me, helps buttress Bassett’s case for a nomination. So, if I do move here — and we both know I will — it will likely be to Bassett instead of de Leon rather than Monáe. And if Bassett gets in — in a field without a real show-stopping frontrunner — it seems like she could help Marvel break another glass ceiling: winning an acting Oscar. Joyce, I’ve gone around the bend once again, so I’ll let you have the last word.
joyceeng: We should probably just focus on the MCU getting its first acting nomination before anything else. I know I sound like a hypocrite since I just said the win would be easier for her than the nomination, but it’s still difficult in the overall field since it is a comic book performance that doesn’t scream “undeniable” like Jokers Ledger and Phoenix did. The ironic thing is that Bassett does play the traditional winning role in this category: the long-suffering and/or supportive female relative. But so does Condon, who also has the film to back her up. Regardless of who wins, I hope this race remains messy until the bitter end. We really do need to send Michelle Williams a fruit basket for going lead. A true (early Christmas) gift.
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