Film-Blue Is the Warmest Color_3702180_ver1.0_640_480Continuing the Sizing Up series, this one is, obviously, on the slate of Best Supporting Actress contenders. As always, this is as large a grouping of the hopefuls as is possible (excluding some no shot contenders and members of bigger ensembles…or else this could have 50 or more people in the article, and frankly I’d be reaching quite a bit), categorizing them by their assumed likelihood of a nomination come the big morning. Often, 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 more than a little correlation in that regard, but of course absolutely anything is possible with the Academy. We shall see what happens in the end, but enough talk for the time being. Let’s go right ahead and take a look at the contenders for Best Supporting Actress and size up the current field!

The “Wishful Thinking” Category

Right off the bat, let me throw out a few names that have exactly no chance of getting nominated this year. I’d say that Rose Byrne and Eva Mendes will see their fine work in The Place Beyond the Pines go unrewarded, and the same goes for Lily Collins in Stuck in Love, Catherine Keener in Captain Phillips, Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Spectacular Now, and Julianne Moore in Don Jon. They all turned in quality work (what little of it there was in Keener’s case_, but it’s just not the year and/or category for them. Those are a few ladies that you can safely disregard from the race, but they’re certainly not the only ones. 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 grouping in particular 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 (for better or worse) 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 are:

film-counselor-650Maria Bello- Prisoners
Penelope Cruz- The Counselor
Viola Davis- Prisoners
Kaitlyn Dever- Short Term 12
Cameron Diaz- The Counselor
Scarlett Johansson- Don Jon
Juliette Lewis- August: Osage County
Rooney Mara- Her
Julianne Nicholson- August: Osage County
Elizabeth Olsen- Oldboy

It’s a pretty lean lineup here, no doubt about that, but that’s the nature of this category for 2013. Had The Counselor been more than an awards non-starter, Cameron Diaz could have potentially capitalized on her divisive performance. Aside from her, it’s really just down to if someone from August: Osage County can break out (my guess is that neither Juliette Lewis nor Julianne Nicholson will be the ones to do it) or if Rooney Mara can emerge as a stronger possibility for Her (I think a certain other co-star is the one to watch there though). Regardless, these aren’t the heavy hitters for the category, but we’ll be getting to those soon enough…

The “Second Tier” Contenders

This next set of gals are solidly in play for some attention in the Best Supporting Actress field, but have more than 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 to 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. A good portion of them have been predicted for nods at some point this season, but I don’t see them as especially big ones right now, but 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:

kristin-scott-thomas-only-god-forgivesMelanie Diaz- Fruitvale Station
Jennifer Garner- Dallas Buyers Club
Naomi Harris- Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Melissa Leo- Prisoners
Margo Martindale- August: Osage County
Cristin Milotti- The Wolf of Wall Street
Zoe Saldana- Out of the Furnace
Kristin Scott Thomas- Only God Forgives
Emily Watson- The Book Thief
Kristen Wiig- The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

I have a feeling that from this bunch, Jennifer Garner actually is the one with the best chance to move up and compete with the top tier contenders. An argument can be made for Melissa Leo and Margo Martindale as well, though I’m more skeptical there. We have no idea how big a role Cristin Milotti will have in The Wolf of Wall Street, but she’s perhaps an X factor to keep an eye on. The same goes for Zoe Saldana and Out of the Furnace. No one else really seems like a threat, though it’s possible I’ve shortchanged some of these remaining actresses, but I have doubts in that regard. 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

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 always) feature five of the women in this grouping, though that’s hardly surprising I’m sure. They each have a lot going in their favor and seem to be in position for some strong 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:

1915593Amy Adams- Her
Sally Hawkins- Blue Jasmine
Scarlett Johansson- Her
Jennifer Lawrence- American Hustle
Carey Mulligan- Inside Llewyn Davis
Lupita Nyong’o- 12 Years a Slave
Sarah Paulson- 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts- August: Osage County
Lea Seydoux- Blue is the Warmest Color
Octavia Spencer- Fruitvale Station
June Squibb- Nebraska
Oprah Winfrey- Lee Daniels’ The Butler

It’s all but a foregone conclusion that Oprah Winfrey is getting nominated here and is the frontrunner to win, followed by Lupita Nyong’o and June Squibb. Those two ladies are the only ones who could pull an upset here, so it’s looking like Winfrey’s to lose, unless the precursors rally heavily around Nyong’o or Squibb (which isn’t impossible). From there on, we have nine lovely ladies competing for the final two spots. Most have Jennifer Lawrence getting one of the slots (myself included), but she is a bit of a wildcard due to American Hustle not being much of a known entity yet. Still, she’s in a good spot if the film delivers. As for the remaining contenders, Amy Adams, Sarah Paulson, and Octavia Spencer are bringing up the rear. Adams and Paulson due to their co-stars having better shots in this category, while Spencer just is in a movie without much buzz anymore. Carey Mulligan is next in line, though she’s probably going to lack the precursor attention that she’d need to be a true impact player here. Lea Seydoux is a trendy X (no pun intended) factor pick, but it really just depends on if her flick gets considered or not. If they give it a chance, watch out for her. That leaves Sally Hawkins, Scarlett Johansson, and Julia Roberts for that last place at the table. Most are picking Roberts, but I have a hunch that August: Osage County might be ignored come nomination time, so I think that Hawkins could sneak in there. Johansson is certainly deserving, but it would be a rather revolutionary nomination. There’s a push coming though, it’s just a matter of it it’ll work. We’ll know more when the precursors begin in a few weeks, but there’s lots to contemplate at the moment, and watch out for Seydoux. She could shock a lot of people, especially if my hunch about Roberts’ film comes to fruition…

Obviously this list will compress itself just a bit as the weather continues to get colder, but for now there’s a lot to look at and consider in this assembly of supporting actresses, especially considering how open the final spots in the category are. As previously stated, I think the ultimate nominees for Best Supporting Actress will come from my pole position contenders, but that’s always the case, and we shall see what happens in terms of that, since anything is possible here (yes, that last slot could be open to just about anyone). I’m very excited to see how the race shapes up/turns out (it’s the category I change up the most often in each new set of predictions), and I know you all are too. It’s going to be a lot of fun to get the precursor season started!

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