Sizing Up 2014: Best Supporting Actress

patty2_article_story_largeContinuing on with the Sizing Up series, this one is a look at the slate of Best Supporting Actress contenders. As always with this annual tradition of mine, this is as large a grouping of the hopefuls as is possible, categorizing them by their assumed likelihood of a nomination come the big morning. Oftentimes, more than a few of the Best Picture nominees wind up with some form of representation here, and this year I think there will be a least a little bit of a correlation in that regard, but of course absolutely anything is possible with the Academy. Just to quickly brag, I got all five right, including eventual winner Lupita Nyong’o for 12 Years a Slave. We shall see what happens in the end this year, but enough talk, right? Let’s go right ahead and take a look at the contenders for Best Supporting Actress and size up the field!

The “Wishful Thinking” Category

Let me throw out a few names right off the bat that have no chance of getting nominated this year. I’d say that Elizabeth Banks for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, Cameron Diaz for Annie, Kirsten Dunst for The Two Faces of January, Jennifer Garner/Judy Greer for Men, Women & ChildrenSigourney Weaver for Exodus: Gods and Kings., and Jess Weixler for The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby. Those are just a few ladies (some who deserve far better as well) that you can safely disregard from the race, but they’re certainly not the only ones, by any stretch. Moving on though, let’s go ahead and focus on the people who might actually have a decent shot at this, starting with, of course, the long shots for a nod.

The “Dark horse/Long shot” Category

This first particular group consists of ten supporting actresses that I think almost certainly won’t be nominees in the end, but aren’t out of the race completely yet and deserve a small mention at this point. They either have films that won’t really be able to make big headway in the race, performances that won’t appeal to the Academy strongly enough, or just don’t have any real traction to date to move them forward. Some of them are potentially bigger contenders than others and could wind up surprising you a little bit, but for me I’m inclined to bet against each and every one of them right now. The ladies in question here are:

mackenzie-foy-5-facts-about-the-child-actress-of-interstellar-01Shohreh AghdashlooRosewater
Dorothy AtkinsonMr. Turner
Kaitlyn DeverMen, Women & Children
Kim DickensGone Girl
Mackenzie FoyInterstellar
Sienna MillerAmerican Sniper
Kelly ReillyCalvary
Uma ThurmanNymphomaniac Volume One
Oprah WinfreySelma
Robin WrightA Most Wanted Man

Much like with last year, it’s a pretty lean lineup here, no doubt about that, but that’s the nature of this category for 2014 as well. Aside from a teensy tiny possibility that Oprah Winfrey pulls off a surprise nomination (don’t bet on that, though), no one here has a particularly realistic chance. Some deserve better, like Kaitlyn Dever and Mackenzie Foy, to name two, but such is life.. Regardless, these aren’t the heavy hitters for the category, not by a long shot. Fear not though, as we’ll be getting to those soon enough…

The “Second Tier” Contenders

This next set of gals are more solidly in play for some attention in the Best Supporting Actress field, but have at least a few question marks impeding them from further progress at the current moment. I think they all will wind up fading away by the time nomination morning rolls around, but it’s possible one or two of them could ride the precursor wave still to come and wind up with a surprise nomination when all is said and done, especially considering the category on the whole. There are ten of these particular actresses that would like to be considered big time contenders. At least one or two of them have been predicted for nods at some point this season, but I don’t see them as especially big ones right now, though like I said, they’re not too far off. The ones I see in this specific light are a varied bunch of women and happen to be as follows:

75Marion BaileyMr. Turner
Viola DavisThe Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
Anna KendrickInto the Woods
Jessica LangeThe Gambler
Lorelei LinklaterBoyhood
Vanessa RedgraveFoxcatcher
Octavia SpencerBlack or White
Imelda StauntonPride
Marisa TomeiLove is Strange
Katherine WaterstonInherent Vice

If you asked me which contenders that I have a feeling about from this bunch, I’d mention Lorelei Linklater and Katherine Waterston as the ones to not rule out. Linklater especially could show up if the Academy goes wild for Boyhood. Anna Kendrick isn’t impossible either, but she’s definitely a level down (though still ahead of the others). We certainly shall see how it turns out in the end, but these aren’t the ladies to focus in on…

The “Pole Position” Contenders

Well now, here at last, we have the dozen most likely contenders for a Best Supporting Actress nomination in my eyes this year. My personal Academy Award predictions at this point (as is always the case) feature five of the women in this grouping, though that’s hardly surprising. They each have a lot going in their favor and seem to be in position for some more precursor attention in the coming weeks. They’re also the stars of some of the more highly and hotly mentioned films of the year, and I don’t expect that to change too much as the precursors begin. The 12 particular thespians that I speak so highly of? They are:

jc amvyPatricia ArquetteBoyhood
Jessica ChastainInterstellar/A Most Violent Year
Carrie CoonGone Girl
Laura DernThe Fault in Our Stars/Wild
Carmen EjogoSelma
Keira KnightleyThe Imitation Game
Rene RussoNightcrawler
Kristen StewartStill Alice
Emma StoneBirdman
Meryl StreepInto the Woods
Tilda SwintonSnowpiercer
Naomi WattsBirdman/St. Vincent

Right off the bat, you can put down the names of Patricia Arquette and Jessica Chastain in ink for nominations (with the latter likely scoring for A Most Violent Year). Also seemingly in a really good spot is Emma Stone, so she’s sitting pretty as well. One level down, we have the other likeliest nominees in Keira Knightley and Meryl Streep. They’re hardly locked in, but the smart money is on them. If that holds true, the category is set. It’s not necessarily that way though, as Laura Dern is knocking on the door (for Wild). They’re the basically undisputed top six, with another half dozen contenders hoping to stay in play. The most likely of those are probably Carrie Coon, Carmen Ejogo, and Kristen Stewart, with Stewart a potential upset special for her first nod. The other three, Rene Russo, Tilda Swinton, and Naomi Watts (more than likely for Birdman if it would somehow happen), aren’t out of play for noms, but their road is much bumpier. One thing is for sure…Arquette (the current frontrunner) and Chastain aren’t missing, so if someone like Stewart wants to break through, she’s going to either have to hope that Stone is a surprising miss or either one of Knightley/Streep is snubbed. Stay tuned there.

Check out the official latest Oscar Predictions for Best Supporting Actress!

Thoughts? How do you see Best Supporting Actress shaping up? Discuss in the comments!