2013 Oscars: Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams (The Master)
Sally Field (Lincoln)
Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook)

Best Supporting Actress is often an extremely competitive category at the Oscars, mostly due to the lack of big, meaty roles for leading ladies. This year is a good example of the latter (if not the former). There’s no one in the Oscars Supporting category who could have been considered a lead, but you’ll see when I post my Best Actress write-up in a couple of days that there are two “Leadings” who should have found their way to this slot.

Of the five Oscars nominees here, only one comes close to being a lead, and that’s Helen Hunt in The Sessions. Though the film revolves around the man in the bed, Hunt is given relatively equal screen time from the point where she is introduced to the end of the film. Hunt has always been something of an underrated actress (despite her Oscars win in 1998 for “As Good as it Gets”), and has fallen off in recent years. But the emotionally raw and naked (literally) performance has put her back on the map; hopefully this will give her a better shot at some files in the near future.

But…pure screen time does not an Oscars win. In the supporting roles, people have won with as few as 10-15 minutes on screen. This year is not likely to be an exception (sorry, Helen).

Of the five, the only nominee that was even a slight surprise was Jacki Weaver of Silver Linings Playbook. Given her lack of fame, especially up against nominated co-stars Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro, she was a bit overlooked. However, it can certainly be argued that she not only held her own against the legend De Niro, but actually pushed him to once of his best performances in years.

It is somewhat unique to have an entire stable of nominees who all have been nominated before; in fact this group has been nominated a total of 13 times with 3 wins. 7 of these nominations come from screen veterans Amy Adams and Sally Field. Both have found ways to take any role up a notch, and add a certain presence to the screen that few can match. Unfortunately, neither had a role that landed themselves to a certain win; Adams’ The Master was plain awful and she had few opportunities to shine and Fields’ Lincoln was focused on, well, Lincoln. She was a strong contributor, but was never able to take over the screen.

No, this year’s Best Supporting Actress Oscars win will go to the actress given the best opportunity to take over the film (even if only for 15 minutes). Anne Hathaway’s Fantine was her best work: strong yet crippled, heartfelt yet heartbroken. Her rendition of I Dream a Dream was terrific, lifted the film up from good to great and deserves recognition all its own. Plus, no one in Hollywood is really talking about anyone else right now.

Who will win: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Who should win: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables