While the Best Supporting Actress Oscar is often awarded to an ingenue, it can also be a way to reward a more season performer who has been overlooked by the academy in the past. Indeed, that is just what happened at the 2019 Academy Awards when Regina King took home this Oscar for her scene-stealing performance in “If Beale Street Could Talk.” (Scroll down for the most up-to-date 2020 Oscars predictions for Best Supporting Actress.)
While King was clearly a featured player in her picture, two of her rival nominees, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, could easily have submitted themselves in lead for their roles in “The Favourite.” But the studio decided to campaign only their co-star, Olivia Colman, for Best Actress and this proved to be a winning strategy. Stone and Weisz were both Oscar winners already with the former prevailing in lead for “La La Land” in 2017 and the latter taking home this award in 2006 for “The Constant Gardener.”
Weisz could have easily positioned herself as a lead for that film but she made the savvy decision to contend in supporting for this substantial role. Three recent winners also took this tack: Viola Davis (“Fences,” 2017); Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl,” 2016) and Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood,” 2015).
When Stone won Best Actress, she became the 32nd winner to be in her 20s when picking up this prize. By comparison, only 17 of the Supporting Actress winners have been under 30. Conversely, just two Best Actress victors have been in their 50s while it is seven for supporting, including Allison Janney (“I, Tonya,” 2018).
While 34 of the Best Actress winners were thirtysomething, this is true of just 26 of the supporting actress champs. However, only 15 of the Best Actress winners have been in their 40s compared to 24 of the supporting ones (both Colman and King number among these).
Six of the Best Actress winners were in their 60s (Katharine Hepburn won twice at that age) as were four in Supporting Actress. Hepburn is also the only Best Actress winner to be in her 70s while five women of this age have done so in supporting. Jessica Tandy was the lone champ in her 80s, having hit that milestone almost a year before she won Best Actress for “Driving Miss Daisy” in 1990.
UPDATED: October 1, 2019
Please note: Only those films with confirmed release dates are listed below. Check back often as new contenders are scheduled while other are dropped due to delays or critical reaction. To read full descriptions of each film, check out our Best Picture predictions. Certain contenders are also included in the Best Actress round-up, pending confirmation of campaign strategies.
Annette Bening, “The Report” (Amazon – November 15)
Laura Dern, “Marriage Story” (Netflix – November 6; streams December 6)
Jennifer Hudson, “Cats” (Universal – December 20)
Scarlett Johansson, “Jojo Rabbit” (Fox Searchlight – October 18)
Margot Robbie, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (Sony – July 26)
Zhao Shuzhen, “The Farewell” (A24 – July 12)
Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey” (Focus – September 20)
Meryl Streep, “The Laundromat” (Netflix – September 27; streams October 18)
Emma Watson, “Little Women” (Sony – December 25)
Penelope Cruz, “Pain & Glory” (Sony Pictures Classics – October 4)
Judi Dench, “Cats” (Universal – December 20)
Joanna Froggatt, “Downton Abbey” (Focus – September 20)
Anne Hathaway, “Dry Run” (Focus Features – November 22)
Nicole Kidman, “Bombshell” (Lionsgate – December 20)
Brie Larson, “Just Mercy” (Warner Bros. – December 25)
Jennifer Lopez, “Hustlers” (STX – September 13)
Florence Pugh, “Little Women” (Sony – December 25)
Margot Robbie, “Bombshell” (Lionsgate – December 20)
Octavia Spencer, “Luce” (Neon – August 19)
Caitriona Balfe, “Ford v. Ferrari” (20th Century Fox – November 15)
Juliette Binoche, “The Truth” (IFC – Fall)
Ellen Burstyn, “Lucy in the Sky” (Fox Searchlight – October 4)
Laura Carmichael, “Downton Abbey” (Focus – September 20)
Laura Dern, “Little Women” (Sony – December 25)
Susan Kelechi Watson, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” (Sony – November 22)
Janelle Monae, “Harriet” (Focus – November 1)
Elisabeth Moss, “Us” (Universal – March 22)
Meryl Streep, “Little Women” (Sony – December 25)
Tilda Swinton, “The Personal History of David Copperfield” (Fox Searchlight – Fall)
Tilda Swinton, “The Souvenir” (A24 – May 17)
Click on the linked categories below to read our previews of each of these races.