One of my favorite categories for the Academy Awards is Actress in a Supporting Role. Past winners have included such greats as Catherine Zeta-Jones for her role as Velma Kelly in Chicago. And who can forget Whoopi Goldberg’s comedic brilliance and win for Ghost? Then there was Tatum O’Neal’s breakout performance in Paper Moon. I think it’s going to be a close race this year, and I’m excited to see what (or who) the nominees will wear, who they are with, and of course which lady takes home the Oscar.
Berenice Bejo, The Artist
For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, The Artist is a silent, black and white film reminiscent of Old Hollywood. Bejo plays Peppy Miller, an aspiring dancer who has a serendipitous encounter with silent film star George Valentin, played by Jean Dujardin. The obvious challenge of this role is the lack of dialogue, but Bejo’s charm and emotion speak volumes. While I don’t think she’ll take Oscar home this year, I’m very excited to see Bejo on her biggest stage yet.
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Two of the supporting ladies in The Help, a film based on Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling novel, have been nominated for this award. Chastain plays the role of Celia Foote, a naïve country bumpkin who more than anything else just wants to fit in with Jackson, Mississippi’s society ladies. She does an amazing job of giving outcast Foote a warmth and heart of gold that the audience can’t help but love. While her performance was stellar, it’s never easy to stand out from a powerful, all-female ensemble cast such as this.
Octavia Spencer, The Help
The actress who I do think will be recognized by the Academy for her role in The Help is Octavia Spencer. Playing the role of spitfire maid Minny Jackson, Spencer shows us her vulnerable side while still remaining strong and proud. She has great chemistry with lead actresses Viola Davis and Emma Stone, and I found myself rooting for her both on-screen and off. Spencer took home this year’s Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress, and my bet is she’ll repeat at the Academy Awards.
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Melissa is a crowd favorite this year for her portrayal of the hilariously inappropriate but loveable Megan. McCarthy’s comedic timing is dead-on, and she literally throws herself into the physical art of this wild comedy. While this film has done wonders for her celebrity and career, I don’t think she’ll bring home the Oscar since the Academy tends to reward more dramatic performances.
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
The final Best Supporting Actress nominee is up for her role as Hubert Page. As a woman masquerading as a man in 19th-century Ireland, McTeer’s Page is confident, bawdy, and down-right convincing. She certainly holds her own next to Best Actress nominee Glenn Close, and many say she even outshines the leading lady. I admire her commitment to the role, but in the end I just don’t think it will be enough to win.
All of these ladies have earned and deserve the spotlight, and I think an argument could be made for any one of them to bring home the Oscar. I really hope it’s an exciting night for all, regardless of the outcome. I, for one, will be glued to the television from the rolling out of the Red Carpet to the final round of applause.