Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The 20 Worst Films Of 2015 So Far The 20 Worst Films Of 2015 So Far Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Review & Recap: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Night Finds You’ Review & Recap: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Night Finds You’ Terrence Malick’s ‘Knight Of Cups’ Won’t Arrive Until 2016, Austin Music Scene Drama Not Titled ‘Weightless’ Terrence Malick’s ‘Knight Of Cups’ Won’t Arrive Until 2016, Austin Music Scene Drama Not Titled ‘Weightless’ The Punisher Will Reportedly Appear As The Villain In ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 The Punisher Will Reportedly Appear As The Villain In ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 'Lucy 2' And 'Colombiana 2' Are In Development 'Lucy 2' And 'Colombiana 2' Are In Development Mixed Reactions For Marvel's 'Ant-Man' After First Press Screening Plus New Promos And Pics Mixed Reactions For Marvel's 'Ant-Man' After First Press Screening Plus New Promos And Pics The Essentials: The 5 Best Rachel McAdams Performances The Essentials: The 5 Best Rachel McAdams Performances The 25 Best TV Shows Of The 2014/2015 Season The 25 Best TV Shows Of The 2014/2015 Season The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

The Early Gems: Notable Performances From 2013's Best Supporting Actress Nominees

The Playlist By The Playlist Staff | The Playlist February 14, 2013 at 2:58PM

Yesterday, we began our coverage counting down to the 85th Academy Awards next Sunday, by taking a look at some of the best early performances of the Best Supporting Actor nominees. So today, the only natural place to go was across the gender divide, to the Best Supporting Actress contenders. And as with their male counterparts, it's a mostly established bunch of names.
9


Jacki Weaver - "Picnic At Hanging Rock"
Jacki Weaver - "Picnic At Hanging Rock"
As far as most movie fans were concerned, Jacki Weaver was a virtual unknown when she won an Oscar nomination for her astonishing turn in "Animal Kingdom." And it's fair enough. The actress didn't even do that much cinema in Australia, let alone the U.S., tending to focus on stage work over her long career. But in fact, she did have a notable early role, in one of the most seminal Australian films of all time, and one that helped launch perhaps the country's greatest director, Peter Weir -- "Picnic At Hanging Rock." Weir's 1975 film, about a group of schoolgirls and their sometimes intimidating teachers, who mysteriously vanish after being drawn towards a peculiar rock formation in early 1900s Australia, is an eerie and outstanding look at brewing female sexuality, friendship, and the unknown, and features terrific performances from its young cast. But Weaver's scenes are something of an oddity. As maid Minnie, she's mostly outside of the main narrative, back at Appleyard College. But in her affair with fellow servant Tom (Tony Llewellyn-Jones), her character serves as a neat contrast to the more repressed teachers and pupils. While it's a very small part (in fact, Weaver says that she shot more, which Weir cut), she's very good, if unrecognizable from the terrifying Smurf from "Animal Kingdom," or even the sweet-natured Dolores in "Silver Linings Playbook." Also, keep an eye out for valet Albert -- that's John Jarratt, of "Wolf Creek" and more recently, "Django Unchained."


Sally Field, Norma Rae

Sally Field - "Norma Rae"
Like Hunt, Sally Field was famous long before she moved into movies, thanks to television -- in her case, with roles in "Gidget" and "The Flying Nun." And like Hunt, Field won an Oscar for her first really notable role, which also followed a big blockbuster ("Smokey And The Bandit" instead of "Twister"). Field's first Oscar came for the title role in "Norma Rae,"  and it capped off a year that found her winning the Best Actress prize at Cannes, too. In Martin Ritt's based-in-fact tale, Field plays Norma Rae Webster, a cotton mill worker who, fed up with the miserable working conditions, sets out to unionize her workplace, going head to head with management, and even her husband (Beau Bridges). The film is sentimental in places, and has probably been lessened by the many others made in its mold over the years ("Erin Brockovich," "North Country," "Made In Dagenham" et al), but holds up reasonably well, thanks to a progressive viewpoint on gender politics, and a detailed look at the politics of unionization. But it's worth checking out for Field alone; she's funny and tough and vulnerable and above all else, steely. The script gives her plenty of complexity and contradictions to play with (she can fight with her unreconstructed, somewhat boorish husband, but still love him), and Field really gets her teeth into the part. If nothing else, it should be watched if only for the contrast with her turn in "Lincoln."


Amy Adams, Junebug

Amy Adams in “Junebug"
Like many actors getting started, Amy Adams had to slum in crap like "Cruel Intentions 2," "Psycho Beach Party" and other similar crud before she got noticed. But that attention did quickly come. She nabbed a head-turning small role in Steven Spielberg’s “Catch Me If You Can” alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in 2002, and scored the first supporting role in 2005's "The Wedding Date," but her breakthrough came with the Sundance hit “Junebug.” As the neurotic and underloved pregnant Southern firecracker Ashley Johnsten, Adams' furiously lived-in and organic turn won her a Special Jury Prize in Park City for her performance, and by the end of the year she found herself with an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, plus an army of major awards and nominations under her belt, including Critics Choice, Gotham, Independent Spirit Awards, SAG, and National Society of Film Critics Awards. “Junebug” rightly put Adams on the map, and while she still enjoyed tackling sillier roles like “Enchanted” and “Talladega Nights” there is a definitive line to be drawn from “Junebug” to her four Academy Award nominations to date. Four nominations in seven years is nothing to sneeze at, and while she has yet to win (and it seems doubtful she will take the prize this year), at 38 years old, we presume Adams is only getting started.

- Oliver Lyttelton, Rodrigo Perez

This article is related to: Features, Awards, Academy Awards, Oscars, Amy Adams, Anne Hathaway, Jacki Weaver, Sally Field, Helen Hunt, The Early Gems


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates