"This year the age old “empty!” gripe is aimed at the Supporting Actress category," growls Nathaniel R at thefilmexperience.net. That's what most Oscar gurus are saying nowadays, but nay, nay, I say!
Still, it's fun to read Nathaniel's rant, particularly his breakdown of the five character types that usually triumph: Long-Suffering Wife (think Jennifer Connelly in "A Beautiful Mind" and Beatrice Straight in "Network"), Monstrous/ Martyr Mom (Brenda Fricker in "My Left Foot," Eileen Heckart in "Butterflies are Free"), The Mouth on Her (Dianne Wiest in "Bullets Over Broadway," Maggie Smith in "California Suite"), Little Miss Sunshine (Tatum O'Neal in "Paper Moon," Anna Paquin in "The Piano"), and More Than Just a Pretty Face (Kim Basinger in "L.A. Confidential," Angelina Jolie in "Girl, Interrupted").
I count more than a dozen candidates with a real shot for a nom (see below), many of them fitting the types cited above. By the way, on the pressing question of which "Atonement" gals get in, I don't buy the buzz that it's the middle one (Garai). I think we could see the young one (Ronan) and even the old one (Redgrave) even though the latter part is only a few minutes. They are the key transcending moments of the whole film.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS CONTENDERS
Cate Blanchett, "I'm Not There"
Jennifer Connelly, "Reservation Road"
Ruby Dee, "American Gangster"
Olympia Dukakis, "Away from Her"
Romola Garai, "Atonement"
Jennifer Garner, "Juno"
Catherine Keener, "Into the Wild"
Nicole Kidman, "The Golden Compass"
Jennifer Jason Leigh, "Margot at the Wedding"
Leslie Mann, "Knocked Up"
Kelly McDonald, "No Country for Old Men"
Vanessa Redgrave, "Atonement"
Julia Roberts, "Charlie Wilson's War"
Saoirse Ronan, "Atonement"
Amy Ryan, "Gone Baby Gone"
Emmanuelle Seigner, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
Meryl Streep, "Lions for Lambs"
Tilda Swinton, "Michael Clayton"