The Oscars will name their 2019 nominees in a few weeks (as of this writing), so it’s time to take a look at who the leading contenders for Best Supporting Actress are. Even though awards season has come into greater clarity recently with various precursors weighing in, there’s still a long way to go before the race is settled. One group that is starting to come into greater focus, however, is the acting categories, by virtue of the Screen Actors Guild recently unveiling their own nominations. While organizations like the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards can provide some insight, the guilds are the ones cinephiles follow most closely when trying to prognosticate the Oscars.
Like every year, there’s no shortage of outstanding performances in the running – many of whom are names quite familiar to awards voters already. In the months leading up to the Academy Awards, Best Supporting Actress looked like it would be one woman’s trophy to lose, but some twist and turns along the way have muddied up the picture a bit. Here are Screen Rant’s predictions for the 2019 Best Supporting Actress nominations.
Related: Screen Rant’s 2019 Best Actress Predictions
Amy Adams – Vice
Much like Leonardo DiCaprio prior to The Revenant, Adams is an Academy darling, but can never seem to secure the win. Over the course of her career, she’s amassed a total of five nominations, most recently for her performance in David O. Russell’s 2013 crime film American Hustle. Not only that, she has some notable snubs on her résumé as well (including 2016’s Best Picture nominee Arrival). The Oscars love rewarding an overdue veteran for their body of work, and with six-time nominee Glenn Close competing in the Best Actress field, Adams may finally take home her elusive Oscar in the Supporting category. In Adam McKay’s Vice, she delivers a strong turn as Dick Cheney’s wife, Lynne.
Vice itself turned out to be one of the more polarizing offerings of awards season, but it’s finding traction with voters. Adams has been a beneficiary of that reception, seeing that’s she’s secured nominations from the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice, and the all-important SAG. While Christian Bale’s incredible, eerie transformation into the former U.S. Vice President has (understandably so) generated most of the media attention for Vice, Adams is as great as she’s ever been as Lynne, channeling her determined, steely demeanor. It feels like it’s inevitable Adams will win an Oscar one day, and it could be for this turn. If she starts picking up some major wins, it’ll be no contest.
Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk
Earlier in the season, King looked like the one to beat in this category. She won Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Sharon Rivers from the National Board of Review and scored additional nominations from the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards. On top of that, she earned a plethora of other nods and wins from multiple film critics associations, making it seem as if she had the Oscar on lockdown. Nobody would have argued with that turn of events, especially since King is one of Beale Street’s most acclaimed aspects. But a funny thing happened on her way to the Oscar stage; she was snubbed by SAG. Five names were nominated in the guild’s Best Supporting Actress category and King was not one of them.
Related: Screen Rant’s If Beale Street Could Talk Review
It’s borderline impossible to overstate how significant the SAG miss is. Statistically speaking, it virtually eliminates King’s chances of winning. The last time the Oscar’s Best Supporting Actress winner did not score at least a SAG nomination was 2001, when Jennifer Connelly won for her performance in A Beautiful Mind. It’s something that’s only happened twice in history since the SAG Awards began in 1994 (Marcia Gay Harden in 2000’s Pollock is the other outlier), so King has history working against her. This isn’t to say she won’t be nominated for the Academy Award (Beale Street does have a lot of support), but King will have to buck a trend to come out on top on Oscar Sunday.
Emma Stone – The Favourite
Yorgos Lanthimos might be an acquired taste for some, but awards voters happily ate up his period costume drama, which chronicles a rivalry between Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) and Abigail (Stone) for the affections of one Queen Anne (Best Actress candidate Olivia Colman). The collected efforts of that main trio deserves a lion’s share of the credit for why the film works as well as it does, so it isn’t surprising all of them are in the running. Stone, already a winner for La La Land (and another nomination for Birdman) was afforded an opportunity to display more of her range, gleefully sinking her teeth into a darkly comedic role – and she more than rose to the occasion. With The Favourite set to be a major player across the board, Stone’s in line for another nomination.
Stone’s already been recognized for her efforts by the Golden Globes, SAG, and Critics’ Choice Awards, checking off the big boxes en route to Oscar Sunday. It’ll be interesting to see if she can pull a Christoph Waltz and win two statues relatively close to each other (Waltz won Best Supporting Actor in 2009 and 2012), which is a pretty rare feat. Since Stone earned Best Actress just two years ago, voters may decide to go a different route – especially with the long overdue Adams waiting in the wings. There’s also something else that hurts Stone’s prospects: her own co-star.
Rachel Weisz – The Favourite
Much like Stone, Weisz was also nominated for the Golden Globe, SAG, and Critics’ Choice Award for her performance as Lady Sarah. Coincidentally, she is also a former Academy Award winner, taking home Best Supporting Actress in 2005 for The Constant Gardner. Once again, Weisz finds herself back in the race, but she’s facing some stiff competition – including her plucky co-star. It seems all but guaranteed Stone and Weisz will go up against each other this year, but what does that mean for either of their chances?
Related: Read Screen Rant’s The Favourite Review
In Oscar history, 34 films have been double-nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category (two of them, Come to Stable and Pinky, were released in 1950). In 22 of those instances, the Academy Award went to someone from a completely different movie, which is roughly a 65 percent clip. Those are not insurmountable odds for the Favourite ladies to overcome, but this is still somewhat difficult to pull off. To be fair, in the two most recent occurrences of this happening, the double-nominated film did win the Oscar (Melissa Leo topped Amy Adams in The Fighter; Octavia Spencer beat out Jessica Chastain for The Help), so it’s possible someone from The Favourite emerges victorious. But voters will need to truly love one performance over the other. It’ll be fascinating to see what happens.
Page 2: Claire Foy, Emily Blunt, and Margot Robbie
Claire Foy – First Man
Damien Chazelle’s Neil Armstrong biopic entered the season as one of the on-paper frontrunners, but it didn’t live up to those lofty expectations. Floundering at the box office and failing to connect with general audiences, the film is no longer seen as a legitimate Best Picture contender and may only find itself contending in the technical categories. One of its few realistic hopes for love in the major fields is Foy’s performance as Janet Armstrong, Neil’s wife. Foy is responsible for several of the movie’s more emotional and heart-wrenching moments, particularly when she confronts the fact her husband may never come home from his incredible journey. Due to Foy’s talent, the role of Janet rises above the typical “concerned wife” cliché and stands out.
Foy was one of two Golden Globe nominations for First Man (the other being for the musical score) and also got a nod from the Critics’ Choice Awards and other film critics associations. The big miss, of course, is SAG, meaning that even if Foy finds her way into the Oscar field, she won’t be winning. It’ll all depend on how much support First Man can get from the actors branch, but Foy has gotten enough love so far to make a nomination feasible.
Emily Blunt – A Quiet Place
Blunt may find herself a double-nominee this year, given the buzz surrounding her Mary Poppins Returns performance. In A Quiet Place, she portrays Evelyn Abbott, mother of the main family trying to protect her young children. Blunt rose to the challenge of the limited dialogue and still found a way to craft a multi-faceted portrayal; she’s humorous and light-hearted in certain scenes with the kids, but will let her vulnerabilities shine through when discussing their trying ordeal with her husband, Lee (John Krasinski). Acting may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about A Quiet Place, but Blunt was excellent.
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SAG was extremely fond of Blunt’s work, making her a surprise nominee in their Best Supporting Actress category. That’s one of only a handful of nominations Blunt’s received, but it’s definitely the biggest (no offense, Fright Meter Awards) and an impressive addition to her résumé. Since history dictates one of the SAG nominees will take home the Oscar, it means one needs to seriously consider Blunt for an Academy nomination. The one thing working against her is the Academy’s perceived genre bias; it’s unknown how much support across the board A Quiet Place will receive. But after Daniel Kaluuya was nominated for Best Actor in a horror movie last year, perhaps the voters are broadening their horizons.
Margot Robbie – Mary Queen of Scots
After scoring a Best Actress nomination for I, Tonya last year, Robbie seemed poised to get more awards love with her performance as Queen Elizabeth I in this period costume drama. And that feeling was justifiable, since this is a genre the Academy tends to go for and Robbie’s a very talented actress showcasing another side of her range. Unfortunately, Mary Queen of Scots was one of the duds of the season, never gaining traction as it was hit with lukewarm reviews. Saoirse Ronan, fresh off her acclaimed turn in Lady Bird, was bypassed by every awards organization thus far, giving one an idea of how futile Mary’s chances of winning anything are.
Outside of hair & makeup and costume design (its two Critics’ Choice Awards nods), Robbie represents the film’s best chance for a nomination. Like Blunt, she was a surprise SAG nominee in Best Supporting Actress, but that remains the movie’s only high-profile nomination. It was ignored entirely by the Golden Globes, NBR, and American Film Institute, putting Robbie at a clear disadvantage when compared to the rest of the competition. It’s fair to wonder how many voters will even bother watching Mary Queen of Scots given how small its buzz is. Fortunately for Robbie, she’ll be right back at it in 2019 in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, so maybe she’ll have better luck there.
More: Screen Rant’s 2019 Best Supporting Actor Predictions