Academy Awards Preview – Best Supporting Actress

With the Academy Awards set to hand out the movie industry’s most prestigious award Feb. 27, this post begins a series breaking down each major category. We’ll look at the favorites, darkhorses, who would win and who will win in the Academy Awards’ six acting categories, as well as best director and best picture.

The Candidates

Amy Adams - The Fighter

Helena Bonham Carter - The King's Speech

Melissa Leo - The Fighter

Hailee Steinfeld - True Grit

Jacki Weaver - Animal Kingdom

The Favorite

Melissa Leo.

Why? – Leo has already won the Golden Globe and Screen Actor’s Guild Award for Best Supporting Actress. She’s currently listed at 4/11 odds to win the award.

The Darkhorse

Helena Bonham Carter.

Why? – The King’s Speech has been cleaning up at award shows over the last few months, and the Academy Awards has been known to let one film clean up in any given year. Couple that with her win at the BAFTAs last week, and Bonham Carter likely has the best opportunity to dethrone Leo.

Perplexing nomination

Jacki Weaver.

Why? – The problem with Weaver’s nomination for “Animal Kingdom” is that at no point during the film does she stand out. She has a very difficult job playing the mother/grandmother to a family of criminals, trying to keep them in check and getting them out of trouble. But at no point during the film did I look at Weaver on screen and say “Wow. She’s really stealing the show here.” In fact, not being familiar with Weaver or the film prior to viewing, I wondered if the actress I was seeing on screen was, in fact, Weaver, or if I was waiting for another actress to be introduced. This spot would have been better fit for Mila Kunis for “Black Swan.”

Collin’s Pick

Melissa Leo.

Why? – It was a relatively weak year for the supporting actress category, but Leo stands out above them all. I give Adams and Weaver zero chance of sniffing this award, and while Steinfeld is a nice story, the Academy rarely (if ever) awards the under-18 nominees. (See: Abigail Breslin). That leaves Leo and Bonham Carter. While I was dumbfounded to see that Bonham Carter can actually act in a film NOT directed by her husband (I know she did “Fight Club” but that seems like eons ago at this point), her performance still doesn’t stack up to Leo, who dominated her short time on the screen as the overbearing mother of Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale.

The toughest part about her performance is that it was a hard sell. She’s trying to control Wahlberg’s character in a way the audience knows isn’t right, and even most of the characters surrounding her can see isn’t right, but she’s forceful and demanding and completely takes over the screen when she’s on it. She’s the obvious choice.

Who the Academy will choose – Melissa Leo.

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