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For Your Consideration: 5 Overlooked Supporting Actresses Who Deserve Some Oscar Season Attention

by Oliver Lyttelton
November 20, 2013 3:08 PM
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FYC - 5 Overlooked Supporting Actresses

Last week, we began our For Your Consideration series, with five Supporting Actor should-be-contenders, highlighting performances that deserve awards recognition, but have been otherwise overlooked by prognosticators and predictors. So this week, we're moving onto the Supporting Actresses.

In case you've forgotten when we took a look at the category a couple of months back, it's one of the categories that's most in flux this year: Oprah Winfrey for "The Butler," Lupita Nyong'o for "12 Years A Slave" and June Squibb for "Nebraska" are all looking good, but things have changed since we made our predictions. It's safe to say that Cameron Diaz will not be figuring into the race this year, while Scarlett Johansson has become a surprise dark horse in the category for her vocal-only turn in "Her" thanks to a win at the Rome Film Festival.

So excluding the other serious contenders in the category (Octavia Spencer, Jennifer Lawrence, Margo Martindale and Julia Roberts are likely to be battling it out with Johansson for the other slots), what other performances haven't figured much in the conversation, but are just as deserving of votes from Academy members? We've picked five of our favorites below, and you can fly the flag for your favorites in the comments section.

Sally Hawkins Blue Jasmine

Sally Hawkins - "Blue Jasmine"
One of the more upsetting Oscar snubs in recent years came in 2009, when despite having won the Comedy/Musical Golden Globe, Sally Hawkins failed to earn a nomination for her outstanding turn in Mike Leigh's "Happy-Go-Lucky." But even if voters didn't pay much attention, Woody Allen clearly did: he'd already worked with the British actress on the otherwise inexcusable "Cassandra's Dream," and reteamed with her this year on his latest, "Blue Jasmine." Again, she seems destined to be overlooked, with much of the attention on the film focused on her co-star, Cate Blanchett. And it's an enormous shame, because while her work is less showy than Blanchett's, it's just as terrific. Hawkins plays Ginger, the Amy Winehouse-haired Stella to Jasmine's Blanche, and while her adopted sister has ended up in a life of wealth and privilege, Ginger struggles to get by over in San Francisco, working menial jobs and making a series of somewhat disastrous choices about men. With a flawless American accent, Hawkins eschews Blanchett's theatricality for a quiet, lived-in naturalism, creating an equally vivid creation that might be Hawkins' finest work to date—which is certainly saying something. It's also remarkable the extent to which the two really do feel like sisters; all too often, screen siblings end up appearing like they met a few days earlier, but between them, Blanchett and Hawkins create an instant shorthand that shows off a lifetime of resentment and reluctant love. It's a turn both sweet and subtle and voters would do well to remember Hawkins' contribution as well when filling out their ballots.

Joanna Scanlan The Invisible Woman

Joanna Scanlan - "The Invisible Woman"
After the film got decent, but hardly ecstatic notices at Telluride and TIFF, most dismissed Ralph Fiennes' "The Invisible Woman," his biopic of Charles Dickens' mistress Nelly Ternan, from the Oscar race, and I hadn't been particularly looking forward to it. So I was pleasantly surprised when I caught up to the film, and discovered that it's something of a gem, a confidently-made, woozily beautiful film that's closer to Wong Kar-Wai than Merchant-Ivory. There's a brace of very fine performances in the film, with leads Fiennes and Felicity Jones particularly excellent, but I'd argue the absolute stand-out is a face who may not be especially familiar to American audiences—Joanna Scanlan, who plays Dickens' wife Catherine. Scanlan is best-known in the U.K. for her amazing performance as civil service jobsworth Terri in Armando Iannucci's "The Thick Of It," and as the co-creator and star of dark nursing comedy "Getting On" (with the remake from HBO debuting this weekend), but given the comic nature of those parts, she's a rather unexpected face to see in a role like this; a woman whose marriage has been sexless and loveless for so long that she's become cold out of self-preservation, but who can't disguise the deep hurt when she finds that she's been betrayed. Scanlan only has a few brisk scenes, and is mostly absent from the second half of the film, but she makes an indelible and crucial impression on the whole: one scene in particular, as she comes to Ternan to deliver a present from Dickens that was delivered to her by mistake, is one of the most heartbreaking, generous and powerful bits of acting I've seen all year. Scanlan's low profile, and the lack of heat on the film as a whole, will likely see her overlooked, but we bet there'll be more nominated performance that'll be much less good than this one.

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  • Jinny | December 13, 2013 3:29 PMReply

    Where the HELL is Lea Seydoux on this list?!!!

  • Zoe79 | December 8, 2013 6:45 AMReply

    Lea Seydoux, absolutely. She was incredible in Blue is the Warmest Color.

  • ali | December 5, 2013 11:59 PMReply

    Kaitlyn Dever is a talented actress - I think she has a great chance to be the next big thing along the lines of Jennifer Lawrence. Even her work on Last Man Standing, while limited, is pretty good

  • Kris | December 4, 2013 6:58 PMReply

    Juno Temple in Afternoon Delight, Julianne Moore in Don Jon and Kristen Scott Thomas in Only God Forgives

  • Brad | November 27, 2013 12:58 PMReply

    I thought Nicole Kidman was riveting and commanding in Stoker. On paper I think it was a rather confusing character but she really did extraordinary things with it, as well as ensuing a subtle sense of humor and ravishing sexuality.

  • sandylieberson | November 26, 2013 7:53 AMReply

    Oliver....good take on Invisible Woman.
    can't understand why this has been overlooked.....and don't forget about Felicity Jones!

  • Steve Warren | November 26, 2013 12:47 AMReply

    The Robert Redford-Julie Christie pairing in The Company You Keep was a letdown, but Susan Sarandon gave one of her best performances in the early part of the film.

  • Pablo | November 23, 2013 4:38 PMReply

    More noise should be made for Shailene Woodley in The Spectacular Now, she was really impressive. And it's ridiculous that Sally Hawkins isn't considered a serious contender in this race, especially since the Academy owes her for Happy-Go-Lucky.

  • bailey | November 23, 2013 3:01 PMReply

    I'd love to hear how "Cassandra's Dream" was "inexcusable." What a weird word choice.

  • Drew | November 23, 2013 2:29 PMReply

    Emma Watson - THE BLING RING

  • Philippe | November 23, 2013 2:08 PMReply

    Happy you brought up Joanna at the tail end... That performance was remarkable.

  • Sure | November 21, 2013 4:09 PMReply

    Sally hawkins was really good but her accent was far from flawless

  • LB | November 21, 2013 9:56 AMReply

    Can't believe Sally Hawkins is being overlooked, all eyes seem to be on Blue Jasmine and there's no doubting the brilliance of her work, she is equally as good as Cate B. Consequently it's ridiculous that Julia Roberts is a serious contender, the film's mediocre and her performance just okay, surely the consideration is based on other shallower factors, but I've found in the past that the academy acts with some integrity in the supporting nominations.

  • CP | November 21, 2013 9:47 AMReply

    Lea Seydoux for BITWC. What a transformation! The girl is a chameleon. Her performance was outstanding, generous, committed. I can't say enough about it. She was a great counterbalance to Adele's all consuming performance.

  • ETHAN HUNT | November 25, 2013 11:27 PM

    that character lea seydoux played in Mi4
    was offered to Noomi Rapace
    she turned it down to do 'Sherlock holmes 2'

  • LB | November 23, 2013 6:04 AM

    I wonder if the academy will be able to acknowledge the performances without feeling the shadow of the backstage drama.

  • CP | November 21, 2013 11:07 AM

    We're talking about performances right? Not the behind-the-scenes drama.

  • LB | November 21, 2013 9:57 AM

    Yeah what a transformation, from gracious Cannes Best actress winner to bitter turncoat.

  • sara | November 21, 2013 3:07 AMReply

    Lea Seydoux. Blue is the Warmest Color. Extraordinary range. She created a new universe with the character of Emma.

  • Dominic | November 20, 2013 9:38 PMReply

    Kristin Scott Thomas in Only God Forgives is EVERYTHING

  • oogle monster | November 20, 2013 9:31 PMReply

    What about the girl who plays Jordan Baker in The Great Gatsby? She's amazing!

  • DG | November 20, 2013 9:24 PMReply

    Would Lea Seydoux be considered supporting for Blue is the Warmest Color? Maybe not, then again she is sort of secondary to Adele. If so I vote for her

  • Kiki | November 20, 2013 6:07 PMReply

    I'm glad you guys mentioned Adepero Oduye, she was so incredible in 12 Years. I only cried once while watching the movie (broke down as soon as it was over and sobbed for about 10 minutes...), and it was during one of her scenes. Just tore my heart to pieces.

    I can't believe Kristin Scott Thomas is not considered to be in the running for Only God Forgives, she was the only good thing in that movie, and she was amazing.

  • newyorker | November 20, 2013 4:29 PMReply

    also i think it's time the oscars get some new categlory. like best voice for a film, like best male voice and best female voice. like this year the noms for best male voice could be
    Billy Crystal for Monsters University, Christoph Waltz for Epic, Samuel L. Jackson for Turbo, Steve Carell for Despicable Me 2 & James Caan for Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2, and for best female voice the noms could be Scarlett Johansson for Her, Beyonce for Epic, Kristen Bell for Frozen, Helen Mirren for Monsters University & Kristen Wiig for Despicable Me 2.
    they should also get a categlory for best young actor/actresses, like what the critic choice movie award got.

  • adrien brody was amazing in ''Harrisons Flowers'' | November 25, 2013 11:32 PM

    James Caan was a scene stealer in 'DETACHMENT'

  • Dean | November 20, 2013 3:45 PMReply

    Look, it's nice to consider Johansson, but there's no way her vocal only performance is going to stand a chance against the fantastic physical acting of the other women mentioned here.

  • | November 20, 2013 3:42 PMReply

    Shailene Woodley – The Spectacular Now
    Lea Seydoux – Blue Is The Warmest Color

    No shot, but also great:
    Annika Wedderkopp – The Hunt
    Xenia Kalogeropoulou – Before Midnight
    Romina Mondello – To The Wonder
    Alice Englert – Ginger And Rosa
    Eva Mendes – The Place Beyond The Pines

  • TOM JORDACHE | November 21, 2013 7:55 AM

    An underrated actors’ director,
    Malick draws a firecracker of a turn from Romina Mondello as Marina’s best friend

    http://www.empireonline dot com/reviews/review.asp?FID=137997

  • 546754 | November 20, 2013 3:48 PM

    Romina Mondello in To the Wonder? Wow. Yeah, that was...uh...some kind of spectacular performance she gave...

  • | November 20, 2013 3:44 PM

    "â€" should be "--"

    Don't know why that happened.“

  • PEDRO | November 20, 2013 3:35 PMReply

    You have forgotten to mention the incredible tour de force perfomance by Pauline Burlet as Lucie in Asghar Farhadi's "The Past".

  • Newyorker | November 20, 2013 3:30 PMReply

    10 actresses i think should get nominated for best supporting actress, but i think they might get overlooked are
    1-Julianne Moore-Carrie
    2-Ashley Benson-Spring Breakers
    3-Taissa Farmiga-The Bling Ring
    4-Andrea Riseborough-Disconnect
    5-Melonie Diaz-Fruitvale Station
    6-Pink-Thanks For Sharing
    7-Eva Mendes-Place Beyond The Pines
    8-Jenni Rivera(RIP)-Filly Brown
    9-Reese Witherspoon-Mud
    10-Jacki Weaver-Parkland

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