In the last few years, all of the major locks have come from the supporting acting categories. There have been no real surprises or upsets. You don’t see Olivia Colman winning over Glenn Close or Anthony Hopkins stealing Best Actor from Chadwick Boseman. There is something nice to know I can just check these off as guarantees, but also kind of a bummer to know there’s really no home for an upset.
Will 2023 be the same? Let’s take a look…
Best Supporting Actress
Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Hong Chau, The Whale
Kerry Condon, The Banshees Of Inisherin
Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All At Once
Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All At Once
WHO WILL WIN?: Give Marvel and Angela Bassett their (and her) first acting Oscar! It’s been a long time coming for Bassett, who was last nominated THIRTY years ago for What’s Love Got To Do With It and has just turned in a career where she has been stellar in basically every film she’s been in. I actually think Bassett is doing a lot of great things here in Wakanda Forever because she’s basically tasked with carrying a large part of the film’s emotional burden. She plays grieving mother and queen while also the most badass action star all in the same effortless breath.
WHO SHOULD WIN?: Jamie Lee Curtis has been campaigning the hardest (more on that later) for Everything Everywhere All At Once, but the best supporting actress nominated (more on that later, too) is from the same film. Stephanie Hsu has to give a performance which is the embodiment of the film; weird and wonderful, but also heartbreaking and emotional. We have to be able to relate why the decisions she deals with as a daughter connect to what she is doing as a psychopathic multiverse warlord. There are a hundred different ways great actresses could have played this role long, but Hsu absolutely nails what she is doing for one of the most impressive performances of the year.
UPSET SPECIAL: I mentioned that Jamie Lee Curtis, who has- shockingly- NEVER been nominated for an Oscar, has been getting out there and doing the most press and most campaigning. Sometimes, that’s good enough to help put you over the top. Hell, it got Andrea Riseborough nominated that way. This feels like a lock for Bassett, but if it’s Curtis standing up on the stage accepting the award, it won’t be the biggest surprise.
WHO GOT SNUBBED?: Allow me a few moments here, because this is the rare case where none of the people who I felt should have been nominated actually got nominated, and I’m a little steamed about that. I’ve talked before how Michelle Williams should have been nominated for supporting instead of lead, so we won’t dwell on that anymore. Frankie Corio in Aftersun delivers an absolute gut punch of a performance that should put her on the Academy’s radar for years to come. Confess, Fletch is a hilarious and great film, and that movie is absolutely stolen by the two scenes Annie Mumolo is in. And the Oscars have never respected voice performances, which meant Isabella Rosellini had no chance for Marcel The Shell With Shoes On.
The best supporting performance this year, of any kind, was Evan Rachel Wood in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. First, Wood had to transform herself into 1980’s Madonna. Then, she had to play that version of Madonna as a cold-hearted calculated sexpot willing to do anyone (even people who play accordions) to advance her career. This only works because she gives her all to the role and never once lets the audience in on the joke. It’s an absolutely brilliant performance and the one I’m the most destroyed by its absence.
Best Supporting Actor
Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees Of Inisherin
Brian Tyree Henry, Causeway
Judd Hirsch, The Fablemans
Barry Keoghan, The Banshees Of Inisherin
Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All At Once
WHO WILL (AND WHO SHOULD WIN)?: Perhaps, in all the major categories, there is no greater lock than Ke Huy Quan winning Best Supporting Actor. It’s a sure bet. Write it down. Lock it in. Confidence is higher than high. And it’s absolutely deserved. Dude is so good in this film and, much like Hsu, being asked to do about 100 different choices at once. However, here’s the big difference: where Hsu makes it seem effortless and easy, Quan makes it feel difficult, which is exactly what is needed for the tone of this film to succeed. It’s one of the best performances of the year, and Quan will be rewarded for it.
UPSET SPECIAL: This is not gonna happen. No way. No how. However, because he is an actor I adore and he’s amazing in this movie, I will just say that if Everything Everywhere didn’t come out last year, we would be talking about how Brendan Gleeson is one of the best actors working today.
WHO GOT SNUBBED?: Quan and Gleeson were obvious keepers for me. I would have replaced Judd Hirsch in The Fabelmans for Paul Dano, who is so much better an interesting. He brings the edge to Michelle Williams’ heart. And I would have had two goofball pics. Nicolas Cage is great in The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent, but that film suffers without the amazing performance Pedro Pascal turns in. And Christian Bale would have been my MCU acting nomination, as he is bringing true menace and terror to an otherwise meh Thor: Love And Thunder.