Six Spot: Who Missed Out On Best Supporting Actress in 2010?

Start your week off right with the ninth entry in our latest Six Spot series.

The 2010 Supporting Actress lineup featured a pretty strong group of women from tonally different Best Picture nominees thrown in with an Australian import who really wow’d the critics. At the end of the day, “The Fighter’s” Melissa Leo walked away with the win (and Kirk Douglas’ cane). However, which woman came in 6th place and missed being a part of this lineup? Let’s start with who made it in first.

THE NOMINEES WERE:

  • Amy Adams: “The Fighter”
  • Helena Bonham Carter: “The King’s Speech”
  • Melissa Leo: “The Fighter” – WINNER
  • Hailee Steinfeld: “True Grit”
  • Jacki Weaver: “Animal Kingdom”

OVERALL SUMMARY

Since Melissa Leo started taking the televised awards, it became her’s to lose. The character actress chewed enough scenery in “The Fighter” to fashion her own makeshift Oscar. This was also true during the campaign. While Paramount was interested in pushing Amy Adams (who was also nominated), Leo saw this as her time to shine. She took out her own personal Oscar ads urging voters to “Consider.” Many thought this might cost her the win (because the public always dings people who want it “too much”). If so, who would be the one to usurp her?

Child star Hailee Steinfeld made quite a debut in “True Grit,” the western remake from the Coen Brothers. The film was a huge hit and Steinfeld was arguably the lead of the film. In many ways, this recalled Tatum O’Neal’s iconic 1973 win for “Paper Moon” in this category. Also in the running was BAFTA winner Helena Bonham Carter for “The King’s Speech,” which went on to Best Picture. Though the film was snatching awards left and right, her understated turn didn’t excite enough voters to win. Lastly, while Jacki Weaver had won plenty of critics prizes, her film “Animal Kingdom” was not seen by enough people to nab her the win.

THE SIX SPOT CONTENDERS ARE:

  • Marion Cotillard: “Inception” – Best Picture Nominee
  • Dale Dickey: “Winter’s Bone” – Indie Spirit Winner
  • Barbara Hershey: “Black Swan” – BAFTA Nominee
  • Mila Kunis: “Black Swan” – Golden Globes Nominee, Critics Choice Nominee, SAG Nominee
  • Rooney Mara: “The Social Network” – Best Picture Nominee
  • Lesley Manville: “Another Year” – BAFTA Nominee, National Board of Review Best Actress Winner
  • Miranda Richardson: “Made in Dagenham” – BAFTA Nominee

BEST PICTURE DRAFTING

Four of the five nominees in this category were from Best Picture nominees. In fact, supporting actresses from Best Picture nominees have been known to surprise in this category, even without any precursors. Just this year, Marina De Tavira became the latest to do that for her performance in “Roma.” Among Best Picture contenders, Marion Cotillard (“Inception”) and Rooney Mara (“The Social Network”) were the two most notable supporting actresses to receive no major precursors. The competition was strong enough, both from films in and out of the Best Picture race, that these performances were longshots at best.

Another longshot with more passion was Dale Dickey for her work in “Winter’s Bone,” another Best Picture nominee. Dickey had won the Best Supporting Actress prize from the Indie Spirit awards. However, co-star John Hawkes was the recipient of the most surprising acting nomination that year from the same film. It was unlikely “Winter’s Bone” fans were going to sneak in two surprises to the race.

BAFTA NOMINEES

While many of the precursors stuck to the same group of supporting actress nominees, BAFTA went its own way. Only Amy Adams and Helena Bonham Carter (who won) repeated in the BAFTA lineup. The most left-field BAFTA choice of the bunch was Miranda Richardson for the 60s set strike drama “Made in Dagenham.” While well received, the film never made a dent at the U.S. box office. Though a previous nominee herself, this prevented Richardson from contending again in this category.

Much more of a threat was Lesley Manville from “Another Year,” Mike Leigh’s film. Manville had scored a number of critics wins and nominations, including the National Board of Review. The only issue was many of her wins were in lead. Many couldn’t make the distinction between lead or supporting for her. Thus, despite plenty of support, Manville lost out on a nomination due to category confusion. Luckily, she was able to sneak back into the race for her work in “Phantom Thread” a few years later.

THE BLACK SWANS

“Black Swan” was a huge force in the Oscar conversation this year. Natalie Portman was expected to win the Best Actress Oscar throughout. The film became a December hit, grossing over $100 million domestically. However, when the Oscar nominations were announced, “Black Swan” got five nominations – Picture, Director, Actress, Cinematography and Film Editing. Many had expected Mila Kunis to contend for her role as Lily, a free spirited ballerina who proves to be the black swan to Portman’s white swan. Kunis racked up nominations from the Critics Choice Awards, Golden Globe Awards and SAG. At this point, Kunis was still most famous for her long running role on “That ‘70s Show,” a FOX comedy. Perhaps Oscar voters turned up their noses at a TV star competing. However, the more likely culprit was that Kunis was experiencing some internal competition.

Even after snagging all those nominations, many voters were still toying with the idea of honoring “Black Swan” co-star Barbara Hershey. Her role as Nina’s (Portman) overbearing mother drew raves and introduced the ‘80s star to a new generation of fans. While the campaign seemed to push Kunis, Hershey wound up with a surprise BAFTA nomination. It’s quite possible Oscar voters were torn between a scary stage-Mom and a devilish dancer.

THE SIX SPOT FOR 2010 BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS WAS:

MILA KUNIS – “BLACK SWAN”

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