2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actress [UPDATED: November 20]

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 2020 Academy Awards when Laura Dern took home this Oscar for her scene-stealing performance in “Marriage Story.” (Scroll down for the most up-to-date 2021 Oscars predictions for Best Supporting Actress.)

While Dern was clearly a featured player in her picture, two of her rival nominees, Florence Pugh and Margot Robbie, could easily have submitted themselves in lead for their roles in “Little Women” and “Bombshell” respectively. But the studios decided to campaign only their co-stars, Saoirse Ronan and Charlize Theron, in the top race and this proved to be a winning strategy as all four reaped bids.

In 2019, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz could have contended in lead for their roles in “The Favourite” but got out of the way of their co-star, Olivia Colman, who bagged the Best Actress Oscar. 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 was the de facto leading lady in her winning film as were other such recent Best Supporting Actress champs as 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 eight for supporting, including Dern and 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.

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UPDATED: November 20, 2020

Leading Contenders

Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” (Amazon Studios – October 23)

Ellen Burstyn, “Pieces of a Woman” (Netflix – January 7, 2021)

Olivia Cooke, “Sound of Metal” (Amazon – November 20)

Saoirse Ronan, “Ammonite” (Neon – November 13)

Amanda Seyfried, “Mank” (Netflix – December 4)

Yuh-Jung Youn, “Minari” (A24 – Winter)

Helena Zengel, “News Of The World” (Universal – December 25)

PREDICT the 2021 Oscar nominations through March 15

Strong Contenders

Jessie Buckley, “The Courier” (Lionsgate – February 19, 2021)

Priyanka Chopra, “The White Tiger” (Netflix- January 22, 2021)

Olivia Colman, “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics – December 18)

Dominique Fishback, “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros. – Winter)

Natasha Lyonne, “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” (Paramount – February 12, 2021)

Dearblha Molloy, “Wild Mountain Thyme” (Bleecker Street – December 11)

Debra Winger, “Kajillionaire” (Focus Features – September 18)

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Possible Contenders

Glenn Close, “Hillbilly Elegy” (Netflix – November 24)

Toni Collette, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” (Netflix – September 4)

Elizabeth Debicki, “Tenet” (Warner Bros. – September 3)

Nicole Kidman, “The Prom” (Netflix – December 11)

Lauren Patel, “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” (20th Century – January 21, 2021)

Tilda Swinton, “The Personal History of David Copperfield” (Searchlight Pictures – August 28)

Marisa Tomei, “The King of Staten Island” (Paramount – June 20)

Alicia Vikander, “The Glorias” (Roadside Attractions – September 30)

We will be updating our Oscar predictions for each competitive category often in the days to come so be sure to bookmark this page and keep checking back as the race heats up.

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PREDICT the 2021 Oscar nominations through March 15

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