Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Best Supporting Actress for LAMB Devours the Oscars

Note: This Post was originally published on LAMB site on 29th January as a part of 32-Post series 'LAMB Devours the Oscar' where 32 different LAMB members wrote about 32 different posts covering different categories of Oscars. I am posting it again here after some edits. You can have a look at all the other entries that have been published so far in the series, here.

With multitude of awards going in every which possible way, this award season has successfully kept us guessing till today. There are very few categories this year that have even clear frontrunners, let alone locks. With the recent surge of Argo(2012) winning a whole bunch of awards and Affleck being not nominated for Directors Category in Oscars, there is still a room for speculation about will Argo be able to pull it off at Oscars? And if it does, what about Director? Even Best actress race, even though down to Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain with Lawrence little ahead with her SAG win, is still interesting. Remember right around this time last year, almost all the nominations were more or less down to 2 horse races. We may agree or disagree with the decisions but at least it has kept most of us interested in the races. However, probably along with the Best Actor category, today’s category in question – Best Actress in Supporting Role, is the only category that does have a clear frontrunner, and dare I say even a lock. Let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?

Nominations for the Best Actress in Supporting Role in 2013 Oscars are
Amy Adams, The Master
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Sally Field, Lincoln
Let me go through all the nominations one by one and we will discuss their role, their Oscar history and most importantly, their chances of winning come Sunday, 24th February.

First in line is Amy Adams playing the role of Peggy Dowd, Master’s wife in The Master(2012). This is her 4th Nomination though she has never won one yet. The Master has had fair share of its fervent supporters as well as distractors. I for one, happen to fall on the good side of it. There are also fair share of people who believe Amy Adams wasn’t there enough or wasn’t good enough to deserve this nomination.  I also happen to fall on the other side of this argument. I agree that she had very few moments to show her worth but she grabbed every single one of them with both hands and even when she was just in the background, not really doing much, she made her presence felt. However, if we look at the chances of her winning this year, I am pretty sure she will have to wait yet another year to get her hands on that statuette. It really pains me to say that as I am a BIG Adams fan – I woke up on the day of nominations at 5:30 in the morning and only thing I really hoped for was they don’t snub Amy Adams. I would have gone berserk if they did – but her chances of winning remain slim to none.

Next in the line-up is Anne Hathaway for playing the role of Fantine in Tom Hooper’s adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic Les Miserable(2012). It is her second nomination following the Best Actress nom for Rachel Getting Married in 2009. She hasn’t won an Oscar yet either but this year might as well be her chance. Talking about not being in the movie enough, Hathaway is in this movie for like 15 minutes but as she has said in the every interview she has given for last few months, she does get the most powerful song of the movie and I will be honest, with her voice, with her body language, with everything she’s got, she Kills that song. And her role. She started off this year with a scene stealer role of Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises(2012) and capped it off with this heartfelt and devastating performance which leaves us wishing she should have been there longer. At this moment, carrying the momentum from multiple wins including Critics Choice and Globes, I would call her the frontrunner.

Next is Helen Hunt for The Sessions(2012) in which she is in the role of Cheryl, a professional Sex surrogate who helps Mark O’Brian who is on iron lung loose his virginity. She is also a second time nominee and a past winner of Best Actress Oscar for As Good As It Gets(1997). First of all, this is a remarkable story. Very touching, sentimental but not unnecessarily melodramatic, lovely and since it is about sex, even a little embarrassing but never icky or uncomfortable. Helen Hunt and John Hawkes playing Mark get majority of the credit to carry the emotional weight of this movie on their shoulders. Helen Hunt handles her role with a great honesty and maturity. Now if we look at her chances in this Oscar race, there is a lot of similarity between her and Amy Adams. Both were considered viable candidates long before their movies were released. After they did and they both promptly delivered as per the expectations, everyone started calling them virtual locks for the nomination. But after landing that nom unfortunately, for both of them, buck stops here.

Fourth actress to get nominated is Jacki Weaver in the role of Bradley Cooper’s mother Dolores in Silver Linings Playbook(2012). This is her second nomination following the 2010 nomination for Animal Kingdom(2009). This movie is a success story of this year’s nominations getting nominated in every single category it can in Top 8(Acting, Directing, Writing and Film). However, out of all the seven nominations film got, Jacki Weaver’s nomination is probably the least anticipated. She does a great job of playing this kind of lynchpin of a character trying to do what she thinks is best for holding all the relations together. I loved her in that role and I am really happy that she got nominated but I really do not see her anywhere within miles of winning this Oscar. Even though this is a supporting category where these characters are not supposed to steal the thunder, almost all the nominees have at least one shining moment in their film. Jacki Weaver doesn’t even have her moment of glory which makes it a through and through supporting character. If she did, I would have made a much stronger case for her.

Last nominee in this field is Sally Field playing the role of Mary Todd Lincoln, President Abraham Lincoln’s wife in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln(2012). This is third nomination for Sally Field and she has won both the time she was nominated before. Though overall I had a lukewarm response to the movie, I did think that it had some great performances. However, Sally Field wasn’t one of them. Personally, I did not feel like there was an enough conviction in her role to reinforce the emotions her character goes through in the movie. But that’s just non-American me who doesn’t really know anything about Lincoln’s personal life and besides I don’t get to vote to decide who wins this award. So considering those who do *obligatory joke on Oscar Voter’s demographic* I am still not ready to discount off Sally Field completely. Even though over the last few years this has been the category where Academy tries to show it has a broader range, because of the role she is playing, I still believe Sally Field is a viable candidate to take home that coveted third Oscar.

So to wrap it up, I think Anne Hathaway pretty much has both her hands around this Oscar. Sally Field is the dark horse of this race and if they announce her as the winner on the Oscar Sunday, it will not surprise me but personally, it will definitely disappoint me. You can do better than that Academy!! At least, I hope you can. Everyone else should enjoy the Red Carpet and work on their poker face.


  1. Damn man, what a well written and thoroughly engaging essay. Seriously, well done. I could never write about this particular race this year, because it would anger so many people. Let me just say that I was not a fan of three of three of the nominees' performances. But either way, I loved reading this.

    Also, Hathaway is as strong a lock for this award as any award this year. Take it to the bank!

    1. Whoa, Thank you so much Alex !! It means a lot, especially coming out of you.

      I definitely would have loved to see few other names getting mentioned(e.g. Ann Dows, Rosemarie DeWitt) but usually, once we move past nominations I don't fret over few didn't get nominated. Out of the nominees, I didn't like Sally Field much. Jacki Weaver was good but needed something more. I liked other three performances. Out of curiosity, which 3 you DIDN'T like?

    2. (sigh) Okay, with no context given, I did not like Hathaway, Field, or Hunt. To be fair, I liked Hunt, but similar to what you said about Weaver, I needed something more.

    3. No Argument against Field and Hathaway - I am surprised you even saw Les Miserables. :) But Hunt worked for me.

  2. Excellent write-up man! Apart from Field and Weaver, I like this year's lineup. I agree that Hathaway will likely win, and a Field upset would disappoint me too. She doesn't need 3 Oscars. Of course, I don't think DDL does either. ;)

    1. Thanks Josh !! I am with you regarding this line-up and with DDL for Lincoln. He was good but there were others better than him. At least in my opinion. :)

  3. Excellent post! You're a terrific writer, and I found your discussion of these nominees quite engrossing.

    Of the movies discussed, so far I've only seen Silver Linings Playbook. I really liked Jacki Weaver's performance. Her character was more low key than the others in the film, and she could easily have faded into the background, but she held her own. I thought it was a subtle performance, and she was wholly convincing as the lady trying to hold everything together, providing comfort and stability, between the two very intense men in her life.

    Since I haven't seen the other films yet, I don't have an opinion about whether she deserves to win. But I'm glad to see she has a shot. I am definitely a fan of Amy Adams and Helen Hunt. And I've always liked Sally Field too, though -- based on what everyone is saying -- her performance is Lincoln wasn't nearly as good as one might have hoped.

    1. Woah, woah !! Thank you so much, Stephanie !! You know, I still don't consider myself a "Writer". So it means a lot. :)

      I liked Weaver's performance but I think I have more problem with the script than her writing because I thought she kinda did fade in the background. About Sally Field, you will see a very split opinion. I unfortunately didn't like it much.

      Hope you get to the rest and like them as well.


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