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Monday, February 22, 2016

2016 Oscar Preview: Best Supporting Actress


- Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
- Rooney Mara (Carol)
- Rachel McAdams (Spotlight)
- Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)
- Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)

WHO SHOULD BE HERE: Daisy Ridley (Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens)

I was not as big on The Force Awakens as the vast majority of the country was since I felt like much of the film was just a rehash of Episode IV. However, the film did have plenty of redeeming qualities, including everything new and original this go around. One of those new and original aspects was Finn and Rey. While they were mainly an amalgam of characters in the original trilogy, they were still their own, unique thing. That in turn made them the best part of Episode VII. Daisy Ridley’s portrayal of Rey was particular exciting as we got to see a female protagonist actually have some agency and be a bad ass. Ridley brought instant likeability to Rey while also convincing you of her journey towards being this new trilogies version of Luke Skywalker.


JENNIFER JASON LEIGHBetween The Hateful Eight and Anomalisa, Jennifer Jason Leigh is having quote the career resurgence. Despite spending most of the film being punched in the face by Kurt Russell’s character, Leigh’s Daisy Domergue ends up being this incredibly powerful character- both by her actions as well as Leigh’s screen presence. As if the performance itself wasn’t enough to convince you this nomination is a worthy one, think about how the role would have looked if Jennifer Lawrence, who was strongly rumored to be in contention for this part, was Daisy Domergue. I love J-Law as an actress, but the film wouldn’t have worked. Daisy Domergue needed to have this rugged toughness that JJL perfectly captured that J-Law probably couldn't. 

ROONEY MARAThe first example of category fraud in the Best Supporting Actress category is Rooney Mara for her work as Cate Blanchett’s lover in Carol. Rooney Mara plays a sweet and vulnerable store clerk in 1950’s New York. She gets swept off of her feet by Cate Blanchett’s character and ends up in a tryst despite the frustration of Rooney’s boyfriend and Blanchett’s husband. Mara’s character in Carol is a different than her normal bitch/bad ass work (The Social NetworkThe Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), and her character is more in line with something her sister would play, but if you enjoyed Carol (as I did), then it is in large part because of the wok of Rooney Mara.

RACHEL McADAMSI love Spotlight, but I’m not entirely convinced that Rachel McAdams is very good in it, in large part because her character is extremely underwritten. I’ve heard a lot of people praise McAdams and claim Spotlight is her best role, but I guess I missed what everybody else is seeing. Plus, Regina George is McAdams best role.

ALICIA VIKANDERRooney Mara being in this category is most certainly category fraud, but at least Mara is the second lead in Carol. Alicia Vikander is the lead person in The Danish Girl and the film is seen through her character’s perspective. Alicia Vikander is excellent in this film, she’s an excellent actress, and she’s had a phenomenal year, but she deserves to be in this category for her work in Ex Machina and she deserves to be in the Lead Actress category for her work in The Danish Girl. I am all for giving Vikander all of the awards, but let's just be transparent about what we are doing, shall we?

KATE WINSLET: For starters, I can't understand Winslet's accent in this film. She is supposed to be Eastern-European, but she has her normal voice in the first act, a thick, fake Russian accent in the second act, and then that accent comes and goes when it pleases in the third. The only thing that takes me more out of a performance than a bad accent is a bad accent that comes and goes when it pleases. Secondly, Winslet doesn't have any juicy dialogue or speeches to give in Steve Jobs, which is basically a Sorkin-esque, melodramatic monologue walk-and-talk film. This leads me to believe Oscar voters didn't see the film and just voted Winslet based upon her reputation alone. There are some really good supporting actress roles in Steve Jobs, mainly Katherine Waterston's performance, but I'm not entirely convinced Winslet gave one of those performances. 


- Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
- Rachel McAdams (Spotlight)
- Daisy Ridley (Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens)
- Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina)
- Julie Walters (Brooklyn)

WHO SHOULD WIN: Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
WHO WILL WIN: Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)



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