Ok, in my last Oscars column, I predicted the screenplay categories. On to supporting performances!
One of my favorite things about the supporting categories this year is that both Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst are nominated for The Power Of The Dog, in which they are a married couple both in the movie AND in real life. Something about that just warms my heart, y’all.
Ok. Let’s get predicting!
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter
Ariana DeBose, West Side Story
Judi Dench, Belfast
Kirsten Dunst, The Power Of The Dog
Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard
WHO WILL (AND WHO SHOULD) WIN?: This is the one category where everything seems like a slam dunk. Ariana DeBose has just been dominating all of the major awards, and with good reason. Her performance as Anita in West Side Story is just absolutely electrifying and one of the best performances of 2022. Not only will she win, she absolutely deserves it.
UPSET SPECIAL: This list has one other powerhouse performance, and I could see Jessie Buckley sneaking away with the Oscar. Playing the young version of Olivia Colman in The Lost Daughter, Buckley is absolutely brilliant in an extremely challenging role that asks a lot of hard questions while coming away with no easy answers. If not for DeBose, I would be campaigning for Buckley so damn hard. It’s tough to be second best. Well, third best, because…
WHO GOT SNUBBED?: I know that the Academy voters saw The Tragedy Of MacBeth, because they nominated Denzel Washington. So how did they miss Kathryn Hunter, who plays all three witches? This is an insane performance by Hunter, manipulating her body and voice to provide mystery and menace. Behind only DeBose, she is the best performance of 2022, and definitely the best part of MacBeth, which is amazing when you consider it is a movie starring Washington and Frances McDormand AND directed by a goddamned Coen brother. In a fair and just world, Dench is out, Hunter is in, and this is the strongest Supporting Actress category the Oscars have had in a long while.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Ciaràn Hinds, Belfast
Troy Kotsur, Coda
Jesse Plemons, The Power Of The Dog
J.K. Simmons, Being The Ricardos
Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power Of The Dog
WHO WILL (AND SHOULD) WIN?: Had you asked me when the nominations came out, I would have told you that Kodi Smit-McPhee was a lock to win. But then Troy Kotsur won the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and that caused me to take a second look at the data and this appears to be one of the closest races of the evening. They’re both amazing, and if Kotsur wins, I’ll only be upset because I didn’t officially pick him. But I like Smit-McPhee’s performance just a hair more and it is the best performance of the five nominated, so I’m gonna go with my gut. My stupid, stupid gut.
UPSET SPECIAL: I will be STUNNED if someone besides Smit-McPhee or Kotsur win. I cannot see a situation where that happens. So I’m gonna showcase Jesse Plemons with this paragraph, because he is the one person in The Power Of The Dog not giving a full-force heavy-emotion performance. In a world of big characters doing large things, Plemons needs to be kind and thoughtful and do so in a way where even though his character gets pushed around sometimes, as an actor, he’s holding his own. What he does in this film is impressive.
WHO GOT SNUBBED?: Mike Faist. Mike Faist. Fucking Mike Goddamned Faist should not just be nominated, but the frontrunner in this category and it’s kind of sickening that he isn’t. As Riff in West Side Story, Faist makes us believe that someone who sings and dances as well as he can is also someone we should be afraid of. He brings full menace and chaos whenever he is on screen, but also shows us why all the Jets admire him. Whoever wins Best Supporting Actor will have to know that they won because Mike Faist wasn’t nominated.