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Best Supporting Actress- Are it's Days Of Being The Wildcard Category Over?

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  • Joe Burns
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    Obviously Oscar statistics go in and out of fashion over the years but one of them has stayed in contention for quite a while. Best Supporting Actress has typically been the category where we see upsets occur and it has been that way over 60 years:

    1. Miyoshi Umeki winning over Elsa Lancaster
    2. Patty Duke winning over Angela Lansbury
    3. Lila Kedrova winning over Agnes Moorhead
    4. Helen Hayes winning over Karen Black and Sally Kellerman
    5. Eileen Heckart winning over Jeannie Berlin and Shelly Winters
    6. Ingrid Bergman winning over everyone else.
    7. Beatrice Straight winning over Jodie Foster and Piper Laurie
    8. Geena Davis winning over Sigourney Weaver
    9. Marisa Tomei winning over everyone else.
    10. Anna Paquin winning over Winona Ryder and Rosie Perez
    11.Juliette Binoche winning over Lauren Bacall
    12. Marcia Gay Harden winning over Kate Hudson and everyone else
    13. Tilda Swinton winning over Cate Blanchett, Ruby Dee, and Amy Ryan(although she was a bit less of a surprise then the others on this list)

    But this decade has seen either the early frontrunner prevail after all(Melissa Leo, Regina King), two-horse races resulting in a win for the contender who won Critics Choice/SAG(Lupita Nyongo, Alicia Vikander),and Oscar wins for performances that were pretty much locked up from the start(Octavia Spencer, Anne Hathaway, Patricia Arquette, Viola Davis, and Allison Janney). Obviously we have one year left in this decade of Oscar winners and if it doesn’t end up happening this decade it doesn’t mean the stat is over but I can’t help but wonder if the sheep mentality that carries into SAG/BAFTA will erode this category’s history of dark horses and long shots prevailing. What do you think? What are your thoughts on the sheep mentality’s chances of continuing in general?

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    RobertPius
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    I think the Colman/Close situations shows a surprise can pop up anywhere.

    Are you sure all those you listed were big surprises? (Helen Hayes, Eileen Heckart, Ingrid Bergman I think weren’t total shocks.)

    It was in the nineties where I think Supporting Actress got the reputation of being the wild card category with Tomei, Paquin, Harden and Binoche all scoring huge upsets back to back practically.

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    M: The Original
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    Mark Rylance was a genuine surprise in Supporting Actor. And Regina King wasn’t a sure thing despite popularity with critics groups.

    Kathy Bates for Best Supporting Actress (Richard Jewell)

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    Gabarnes43
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    I think there’s gonna be a surprise next Year.

    Maggie Smith will probably win BAFTA

    Margot Robbie will probably win Globe

    Annette Bening will probably win SAG

    FYC Golden Globes- Fleabag, The Crown, Olivia Colman, Jennifer Aniston

    FYC Oscars- Maggie Smith, Charlize Theron, Brad Pitt, Adam Driver

    FYC Emmys- Schitts Creek, The Crown, Years and Years

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    Joe Burns
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    I think the Colman/Close situations shows a surprise can pop up anywhere.

    Are you sure all those you listed were big surprises? (Helen Hayes, Eileen Heckart, Ingrid Bergman I think weren’t total shocks.)

    It was in the nineties where I think Supporting Actress got the reputation of being the wild card category with Tomei, Paquin, Harden and Binoche all scoring huge upsets back to back practically.

    Eileen Heckhart had no precursor wins and wasn’t even nominated at the Globes so I don’t feel that her win was necessarily expected but all of those winners you mentioned weren’t in races that were completely locked up so Tom might be exaggerating them being upsets(I got confirmation that the wins were considered upsets by him from his book). To be honest the amount of precursors/media coverage compared from them to now makes it really hard to know for sure but I feel that Heckhart and Bergman were definitely not expected winners as Ingrid’s role was pretty small and Heckhart had no precursor attention. Have you read that those three winners were expected?

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    Dennis El Mar
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    I forget where I read it, but I remember reading some articles where prognosticators predicted Shelley Winters over Eileen Heckart, so I feel like her win probably wasn’t a huge upset but wasn’t locked either.

    After looking at that list, I think with the exception of Binoche, more often than not what makes this category a wildcard category is the fact that there isn’t a clear frontrunner many times and votes are split to favor someone who may have not had a strong showing at precursors. Take Harden; almost everyone in her category had won a major precursor and split awards equally between them, so there wasn’t a clear frontrunner based on industry support; this made it a lot easier for her to prevail even after being snubbed multiple times. It was similar for Paquin, Tomei,  Davis, Swinton, etc. King benefitted from the lack of a frontrunner as well, so I feel like BSA was still a wildcard category this year as it followed the pattern of previous “upset” wins.

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by  Dennis El Mar.
    • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by  Dennis El Mar.

    FYC: Mary Kay Place in Diane

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    keithw
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    The year that Eileen Heckart won I think both Shelley Winters & Jeannie Berlin were favoured. Geraldine Page had several nominations (and was so great in “Pete n Tillie”) but didn’t likely stand a chance and Susan Tyrell was lucky to be nominated. All 5 performances were so great!

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    Joe Burns
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    Sigourney was the frontrunner the year Davis won and Ryder was slightly favored by pundits although neither she nor Perez were overwhelming frontrunners which did help Paquin as you said.

    I want to say that most categories do have upsets every decade but Supporting Actress seemed to be the ones with the most recognized history of it. Best Actress has seen upsets though(Loretta Young, Simone Signoret, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Hepburn winning for Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?, Hepburn/Streisand tie, Maggie Smith, Glenda Jackson’s 2nd win, Katharine Hepburn winning for On Golden Pond, Marion Cotillard, Olivia Colman) and Best Picture has obviously seen upsets in pretty much every decade besides the 70’s(Casablanca, The Greatest Show On Earth, An American In Paris, Oliver!, Chariots Of Fire, Shakespeare In Love, Crash, Moonlight, Green Book).

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    Mukund
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    ^Green Book won PGA and Globe. I don’t think it was an upset on the level of the films you have mentioned.

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    Eddy Q
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    Best Picture has obviously seen upsets in pretty much every decade besides the 70’s(Casablanca, The Greatest Show On Earth, An American In Paris, Oliver!, Chariots Of Fire, Shakespeare In Love, Crash, Moonlight, Green Book).

    Was Oliver! really considered an upset? I’m genuinely asking because I don’t know. I do know that The Lion in Winter won DGA and there was no PGA, but Oliver! is so in line with other musical winners of the 60s.

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    Dennis El Mar
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    True that Weaver was the frontrunner in 1988, but the reason I lumped Davis in with those wins is that she benefitted from vote-splitting. Weaver had two-way vote splitting between Cusack and her nomination in Leading, and both of the other nominees were in BP nominees that the Academy responded well to. It is probably one of the weirdest years for BSA ever, as it doesn’t totally fall into “de facto frontrunner upset out of nowhere” or “weak category benefits winner by vote-splitting” categories, it’s a mix of the two.

    FYC: Mary Kay Place in Diane

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    RobertPius
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    Eileen Heckhart had no precursor wins and wasn’t even nominated at the Globes so I don’t feel that her win was necessarily expected but all of those winners you mentioned weren’t in races that were completely locked up so Tom might be exaggerating them being upsets(I got confirmation that the wins were considered upsets by him from his book). To be honest the amount of precursors/media coverage compared from them to now makes it really hard to know for sure but I feel that Heckhart and Bergman were definitely not expected winners as Ingrid’s role was pretty small and Heckhart had no precursor attention. Have you read that those three winners were expected?

    For some reason I think I’ve read Bergman wasn’t that big of a shock.

    Winters would have been a three time winner and had just won a few years prior so I always just assumed that is why she lost.

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    M: The Original
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    Why would Bening win SAG?

    Because precursors want to sure up narrative for Oscar voters.

    Kathy Bates for Best Supporting Actress (Richard Jewell)

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    Milk Money
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    Don’t forget about Goldie Hawn in ‘69.

    Annette vs Margo this year.

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    Eddy Q
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    True that Weaver was the frontrunner in 1988, but the reason I lumped Davis in with those wins is that she benefitted from vote-splitting. Weaver had two-way vote splitting between Cusack and her nomination in Leading, and both of the other nominees were in BP nominees that the Academy responded well to. It is probably one of the weirdest years for BSA ever, as it doesn’t totally fall into “de facto frontrunner upset out of nowhere” or “weak category benefits winner by vote-splitting” categories, it’s a mix of the two.

    But why would Weaver split votes with Cusack? That would be like Catherine Zeta-Jones splitting votes with Queen Latifah in Chicago – in both cases, one clearly had a bigger role and better shot at winning than the other. Weaver was just unlucky to compete with an even more favoured performance. She was probably 2nd while Cusack was 5th.

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