Oscars 2016: Wave of 90’s and 00’s Supporting Actresses in Play?

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freeheldThe supporting ladies have been a great place to re-discover great talent as we saw this past year with Patricia Arquette winning for “Boyhood.”  This year, there are a great crop of unrecognized talent that are aching for long, overdue recognition from the Academy.  This year, I’m looking to the glorious star that is Jennifer Jason Leigh who will have the main female role in Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight.”  After critics vocalized their disdain for the treatment of Kerry Washington’s character in “Django Unchained” a few years back (I thought she was fantastic in a very underwritten role), here’s hoping that QT gives JJL something substantial to chew on.  

Next on the docket is Parker Posey in Woody Allen’s “Irrational Man.”  Posey’s career has been highlighted with performances in “The House of Yes,” “Broken English,” and on TV’s “Louie.”  Woody, who is notorious for shining the light on his Supporting Actresses, is a good bet for a career nomination and maybe even a win.

After Jessica Chastain was passed over for “Interstellar” and “A Most Violent Year” this year, her upcoming role in Ridley Scott’s “The Martian” is said to have some heft to it.  As expected with Chastain, she has a bit of releases scheduled for this year including “Crimson Peak” which could factor in.  They may feel inclined to wait for her upcoming role as Marilyn Monroe in “Blonde” in 2016 (or make a last minute shift into the Oscar race this year?).  

Kristen Stewart became the first American woman (second American overall) to win a Cesar for her role in “Clouds of Sils Maria.”   As expected, that carried into some great publicity for her.  Despite an early release date in April (remember that “Budapest Hotel” opened in February), Stewart can ride some wave of critical love into a nomination, especially with other roles in “Anesthesia” and “Equals” scheduled for later this year. 

Rachel McAdams hasn’t had her moment in the limelight yet.  Her closest run was for “The Notebook” over a decade ago.  These days, she’s making a great living in independent cinema like last year’s “A Most Wanted Man.”  Opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in “Southpaw” could provide her an opportunity to be the Amy Adams of the year.  

Todd Haynes’ “Carol” has a plethora of female roles to choose from and chances are Sarah Paulson and Rooney Mara could be the standouts for a supporting nomination.  Though Mara could be campaigned in Lead alongside Cate Blanchett if and when it comes into discussion.  Laura Linney (or as we lovingly dub her the “awards thief” around these parts) will have a role in “Genius” which could build some momentum.  Naomi Watts has been in and out of the conversation for the past few years and in “The Sea of Trees,” there’s no telling how big her role will be.  Van Sant does great things for his actors.  

Amy Ryan has “Bridge of Spies” while Julia Roberts has a double dose of “The Secret in their Eyes” and “Money Monster.”  Film fans have been standing on the rooftops for us to pay attention to Brie Larson‘s role in “Room” which could go to either category at the moment.  After “Short Term 12” failed to gain traction, I’m excited for her to have another Oscar vehicle.  My new Julianne Moore in life is Joan Allen, who also has a role in the film as well.  

Speaking of Julianne Moore, she’s back in the hunt as well with “Freeheld” opposite Ellen Page and her work in “Map to the Stars” is still a highlight of the year.   Supporting Actress is notorious for double dipping so look to Shailene Woodley and Melissa Leo in “Snowden” or Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep in “Suffragette” or Winona Ryder and Taryn Manning in “Experimenter.”  

Once an Oscar goddess, Renee Zellweger is back with more than a new look in “The Whole Truth” which could start a narrative for a comeback.  And then there’s SNL standout Vanessa Bayer in Judd Apatow’s “Trainwreck” who can only be awesome as she is in the show.  The trailer was quite impressive and Bayer looks just as vital as co-star Amy Schumer.  Sound off on the rest of the contenders.  There’s more to come.

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Clayton Davis--prolific writer and autism awareness advocate of Puerto Rican and Black descent, known for his relentless passion, dedication, and unique aptitude. Over the course of a decade, he has been criticizing both film and television extensively. To date, he has been either featured or quoted in an array of prominent outlets, including but not limited to The New York Times, CNN.com, Variety, Deadline, Los Angeles Times, FOX 5, Bloomberg Television, AOL, Huffington Post, Bloomberg Radio, The Wrap, Slash Film, and the Hollywood Reporter. Growing up in the Bronx, Clayton’s avid interest in the movie world began the moment he first watched "Dead Poets Society” at just five years of age. While he struggled in English class all throughout grade school, he dived head first into writing, ultimately taking those insufficiencies and transforming them into ardent writings pertaining to all things film, television, and most importantly, the Academy Awards. In addition to crafting a collection of short stories that give a voice to films that haven’t made it to the silver screen, Clayton currently serves as the Founding Editor of AwardsCircuit.com. He also holds active voting membership at various esteemed organizations, such as the Broadcast Film Critics Association, Broadcast Television Journalists Association, African-American Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Online, Black Reel Awards, and International Press Academy. Furthermore, Clayton obtained his B.A. degree in American Studies and Communications.