Oscars 2022: Best Supporting Actress Predictions and the state of the race

Brr, is it cold in here? Because the Oscars 2022 Best Supporting Actress race has become Kirsten Dunst’s to lose. At least that’s how the Gold Derby experts see it, with Dunst having pulled ahead of early favorite Ann Dowd in the category. Dunst, who has been hailed for her performance in “The Power of the Dog,” is the current pick in the Gold Derby odds to win Best Supporting Actress for what would be her first-ever nomination despite decades of lauded work in popular hits like “Bring It On” and arthouse favorites such as “Melancholia.”

But Dunst and Dowd, who has gotten rave reviews for “Mass,” are just two of the compelling narratives brewing in the supporting actress category — and we haven’t even mentioned past winner Marlee Matlin for “CODA,” beloved “Outlander” star Caitriona Balfe for “Belfast,” or two-time Emmy nominee Aunjanue Ellis for “King Richard.”

But despite the unsettled nature of the race at this stage, Gold Derby users and experts haven’t been shy about making Oscars 2022 Best Supporting Actress predictions. Although she has fallen behind Dunst in the overall odds, Dowd is still expected by many to land a nomination. The only things that seemingly can stop Dowd from receiving her first Oscar nomination after years of critical acclaim and Emmy Awards success are out of her control: whether “Mass,” a small-scale drama about two sets of parents grieving over a school shooting, can break through amid a slate of bigger productions, and how much her co-star, Martha Plimpton, captures voters’ imaginations as well.

If neither Dowd nor Dunst emerges victoriously, however, there are plenty of other options. In third among both users and experts is Ellis, who plays Orecene Price in “King Richard,” the mother to Venus and Serena Williams. “King Richard” has been presented as a showcase for Will Smith, a favorite in the Best Actor race, but the crowd-pleasing drama is loaded with top-flight supporting performances with Ellis at the head of the class.

The fourth and fifth spots could be made up of some combination of Matlin, a previous Oscar winner (Best Actress at the 1987 ceremony) who has received strong reviews for the emotional Apple TV+ drama “CODA,” or “Belfast” costars Balfe and Judi Dench. (If those “Belfast” nominations did materialize, Balfe and Dench would become only the fourth set of costars to receive nominations from the same film since 2010, joining Amy Adams and Melissa Leo for “The Fighter,” Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer for “The Help,” and Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz for “The Favourite.”)

If someone from that above group falters, there are more worthy nominees waiting in the wings. Former Best Actress nominee Ruth Negga is a strong contender for “Passing” Jesse Buckley and Dakota Johnson have some flicking buzz for “The Lost Daughter,” although noise around those performances — especially Buckley’s — should grow as the film gets screened more and more before its December bow on Netflix. Then there are a group of actresses with showy roles in films coming to close out the year, including Ariana DeBose as Anita in “West Side Story,” Nina Arianda in “Being the Ricardos,” Cate Blanchett in “Nightmare Alley,” and Meryl Streep in “Don’t Look Up.” Also a possibility: Rebecca Ferguson who stars as Lady Jessica in “Dune,” and could benefit from that film’s likely massive nominations haul. 

Christopher Rosen Oscars 2022 Best Supporting Actress predictions as of Monday, November 22 (updated weekly)

  1. Kirsten Dunst, “The Power of the Dog”
  2. Caitriona Balfe, “Belfast”
  3. Aunjanue Ellis, “King Richard”
  4. Nina Arianda, “Being the Ricardos”
  5. Cate Blanchett, “Nightmare Alley”

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