Six Spot #10: Best Supporting Actress 2008

Contenders for the Six Spot

 Penelope Cruz Vicky

No, you haven’t skipped a page: for this Very Special Edition of the Six Spot, we’ve skipped ahead. At this point in most Six Spots, I rundown how the eventual five nominees got nominated and then I rundown contenders for the Six Spot. But…since the contenders for the Six Spot are the five eventual nominees, we can fast-forward to the juicy parts.

Sometimes, Oscar season has a way of working itself out. As the season began, Penélope Cruz’s insanely good performance in Vicky Cristina Barcelona won all the important precursors: NBR, NYFCC, and LAFCA. Hard to lose the Oscar after nabbing that strong trio of trophies. However, once the televised awards started, and she was pitted against pitiable Oscarless Kate Winslet for The Reader, the real Oscar campaign began. Cruz lost the BFCA, Globe, and SAG to Winslet. Going into Oscar nomination morning, it looked like Cruz was a surefire nominee, but a distant second for the win. Little did we know…

In a film adapted from a famous play, it always helps to play a part that won a Tony Award. Such was the case with Viola Davis for her role in Doubt. Davis landed all the right precursors: Globe, BFCA, SAG, and runner-up status at nearly every critics’ group. Looking at the evidence, it wouldn’t be tough to argue that Davis could have won in a year without Winslet and Cruz. Going into Oscar morning, she likely was one of the safer bets, despite her one—albeit stellar—scene in Doubt. Normally, I would point out her rather glaring BAFTA snub as a point of weakness, but the BAFTAs have been notorious for snubbing American character actresses in lieu of, well, Amy Adams (see also: Melissa Leo).