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Inside track on the Oscars' supporting-actress race

November 29, 2009 | 12:46 pm

Supporting actress mo'nique precious entertainment news

In the Oscars' race for best supporting actress, Mo'Nique is widely presumed to be the front-runner.

However, the star of "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" portrays a monstrous ghetto mama so vile that voters may hold the role against the actress. In that case, this contest is wide open, and several of her rivals have a good shot at an upset, including Julianne Moore ("A Single Man") and "Up in the Air" stars Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick. I think a lot of my fellow Oscarologists are foolishly underestimating Farmiga. Most think that her young, bubbly costar, Anna Kendrick, has a better shot at getting nominated.  But beware: Award voters, mostly male and middle-aged (and older), often get excited by mature women who portray the seductress. Think Virginia Madsen ("Sideways," 2004), who was nominated at the Oscars and Globes, won the Indie Spirit and swept the critics awards — New York, Los Angeles, National Society of Film Critics and Critics' Choice.

At the Golden Globes, the Weinstein Co. is pushing Mélanie Laurent up to lead, but that may not hold at the Oscars, so I'm keeping her on this list of supporting players. Remember, academy voters can place a contender in whatever category they wish.

Below, bullets mark the five gals I believe will reap nominations. Also, check out how I handicap these races: best actor, lead actress, supporting actor and best picture.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
FRONT-RUNNERS
Patricia Clarkson, "Whatever Works"
• Penelope Cruz, "Nine"
Judi Dench, "Nine"
• Vera Farmiga, "Up in the Air"
• Anna Kendrick, "Up in the Air"
Mélanie Laurent, "Inglourious Basterds"
• Mo'Nique, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
Samantha Morton, "The Messenger"
• Julianne Moore, "A Single Man"
Susan Sarandon, "The Lovely Bones"
Rachel Weisz, "The Lovely Bones"

POSSIBLE
Ellen Burstyn, "The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond"
Mariah Carey, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
Marion Cotillard, "Public Enemies"
Diane Kruger, "Inglourious Basterds"
Jane Lynch, "Julie & Julia"
Paula Patton, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
Rosamund Pike, "An Education"
Natalie Portman, "Brothers"
Betty White, "The Proposal"

LONG SHOTS
Kate del Castillo, "Julia"
Rachel Evan Wood, "Whatever Works"
Charlize Theron, "The Road"
Emma Thompson, "An Education"

Photos, from left: Mo'Nique in "Precious." Credit: Lionsgate. George Clooney and Vera Farmiga in "Up in the Air." Credit: Paramount 

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Comments

Nine and The Lovely Bones is starting with bad reviews. Many critics find both film disappointing! If this continues, the two possible contenders from The Lovely Bones and the multiple Nine actresses who are all in the running for the Oscar Best Supporting Actress race might end up not being nominated!
Mariah Carey and Mo’nique though did really good in their supporting roles in Precious.To land in the Oscar top 5 would do them justice! Variety said “Pitch Perfect” to Mariah Carey’s performance in the film!

Standing Ovation for Mariah Carey's performance in Precious! Precious deserves to get a lot of nominations including three actors for the Best Supporting category namely Mariah Carey, Mo'Nique, and Paula Patton. But Carey has my full support! The awards that she recently won for her role in the film just prooves how much she deserves to be nominated... even win!

Mariah Carey's portayal of an unglamorous social worker is perfect. All the critics agree, many movie goers say so, and hopefully the academy voters will get to see and realize that too. Entertainment Weekly was right, "she more than deserves to be in this race". I agree to everything Hai said and I believe that's what almost all people who've seen Precious would say if they were to comment here. To the the person who keeps saying negative feedbacks to Carey and/or her performance in the film, I won't stop you from hating, make it a goal in your life to bash Carey or other artists, live in hatred, and good luck on being happy! And Ooooh... Congratulations to Ms. Carey for the awards you've won for your role in Precious. Very very much well deserved!

Mariah won Palm Springs Film Festival and Capri Film Festival....big whoop! What about Cannes or Sundance?Gee...the competition must have been slim pickings. Sorry, but a nom for Mariah for an Academy Award would be a big mistake when especially there will be other far more deserving performances to choose from. Face it! Ms. Carey's performance wasn't all that...doesn't seem Oscar worthy really...

Virginia Madsen lost. To a real actress. And now she's on Monk.
Better to not be nominated?

Mariah Carey deserves to be nominated for the Best Supporting Actress category. Her performance in the movie Precious was perfect. The raves that she's getting right now are well deserved and the two acting awards she has won so far for her role in Precious didn't hurt her chances of getting nod!

Mariah Carey's performance in Precious earned her two awards so far:

-2009 Palm Springs International Film Festival
for Breakthrough Performance Award
-2009 Capri Hollywood - International Film Festival
for Supporting Actress of the Year

Critics always rave abo t Vera Farmiga, and then we get to see her on the Big Screen, and she's just ehhh. She was wooden in The Departed.
I wouldn't underestimate Mariah Carey for a second--the Academy loves it when glamourous types go against that type (how else did Theron win?) and M'onique is terrific.

Natalie Portman should definitely be nominated for Brothers! It is such an emotionally intense role, and she has been in the business for so long. I admire her so much.

Her name is EVAN RACHEL WOOD not Rachel Evan Wood. (Under Long Shots for 'Whatever Works.'

So Mariah Carey acts without make-up...Big Whoop! Any other actress could have played her role...even blindfolded. I really don't see the big hoopla behind her performance. It simply wasn't "all that". If Ms. Carey gets a nom, then the Academy has no relevancy. I'm sure there are far more excellent performances to choose from. A nom for Mariah would be a very weak choice. Let's just give her an "E" grade for effort.

Oh, and agree with @RBBrittain that Mo'Nique is fantastic in Precious. Failing to nominate this performance would be an injustice.

You should have Paula Patton higher, and Mariah Carey moved down to "long shot." Mariah can enjoy her SAG Ensemble nomination (or win) as a celebration of turning the corner on Glitter. But she won't be an Oscar nominee unless Nine and The Lovely Bones both fail to be released. And even then, it's iffy.

Sir Nigel, it appears you haven't seen the final scene of "Precious", where Precious & Mary confront each other in Ms. Weiss' office. I have; it proves Mo'Nique's performance is more than just one-track meanness. She deserves the Oscar IMO.

If Mo'Nique loses, it won't be because of her character's meanness; it'll be because Lionsgate insisted on promoting all the lesser cast members alongside her. There's too much of a chance that other "Precious" nominees will only dilute Mo'Nique's vote to where someone else will win.

The fact that both Susan Sarandon & Geena Davis were nommed for Best Actress in 1991's "Thelma & Louise" destroyed both their chances, paving the way for Jodie Foster's win--and ultimately the "Silence of the Lambs" sweep. Also, though multiple noms in Best Original Song (the only non-acting category where it's possible) once all but guaranteed a win, failure to designate a clear favorite nominee caused the "Dreamgirls" & "Enchanted" debacles of 2006-07 more than having three noms did (the 2008 rule change notwithstanding); "Jai Ho" won BOS last year because Fox Searchlight made it clear it was their favorite of the two "Slumdog" noms, even though IMO "O...Saya" was better.

The fact that Mo'Nique is even being considered for awards is inane. She is not an actress by any artistic standard. When she is on screen I don't see any "acting" in sight. She simply substitutes one-note intensity for a fleshed-out performance.


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