There are just two months left in 2013 and the awards season is in full swing. Already we have gotten nominations for the Gotham Awards and International Documentary Association. But nothing trumps the Oscar race, and its time to see where things stand.
Kicking things off is best supporting actress. Nine out of ten of these performances have been seen (or heard in one case), leaving reigning best actress champ Jennifer Lawrence as the big question mark. So, here’s my list of who will earn nominations this year:
1. Lupita Nyongo’s – 12 Years a Slave
2. Julia Roberts – August: Osage County
3. Oprah Winfrey – Lee Daniels’ The Butler
4. Margo Martindale – August: Osage County
5. Octavia Spencer – Fruitvale Station
Find out what makes these ladies the front-runners for a seat in the Dolby Theater, and the top challengers to them, in the list.
Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave
The favorite right now is newcomer Lupita Nyong’o for her heartbreaking performance as Patsey in “12 Years a Slave.” Nyong’o only has a few scenes where she gets to shine, but boy does she make the most of them. She belongs right next to Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor, and may even give a better performance than the two. This is quickly looking like a sure thing.
Julia Roberts – August: Osage County
There were question marks as to where Julia Roberts would be campaigned, but after that whole song and dance she ended up where she belonged and instantly becomes a strong contender. She will likely split votes with co-star Margo Martindale, but it’s been thirteen years since her last nomination and the Academy loves her.
Oprah Winfrey – Lee Daniels’ The Butler
The Oprah band wagon is fading, along with the rest of the support for “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.” She’s hanging on right now, and being the main awards push for “The Butler,” the Weinsteins will give her the support, but this isn’t the slam-dunk it was two months ago, though I wouldn’t bet against her landing a nomination.
Margo Martindale – August: Osage County
The aforementioned vote-splitting would more likely be detrimental to Margo Martindale, but even with that it is still extremely possible both she and Roberts land nominations. Heck, Martindale is a well-respected character actor with no prior nomination, sentiment may swing her way and she could outlast Roberts if it comes down between the two.
Octavia Spencer – Fruitvale Station
If Oprah’s hanging on, Octavia Spencer is grasping for one of these five spots. There is no question Spencer gives a fantastic performance, but she may suffer from hitting the circuit too early. “Fruitvale Station” has been buried by the flurry of contenders that keep hitting, and Spencer is just barely coming out of it right now. The former winner will need some strong campaigning to hold on.
Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
Everybody is still in love with Jennifer Lawrence, and while that love affair likely can’t translate to a win, she is still ever dangerous for a nomination. The snippets we’ve seen of her in “American Hustle” predict another live-wire performance, and David O. Russell films just find a way for their actors to get nominated.
June Squibb – Nebraska
“Nebraska” has been Bruce Dern’s story from the beginning, but it wouldn’t be to far out of left field to see June Squibb sneak in a nomination as well for her performance as Dern’s wife in the Alexander Payne film. The biggest thing though for Squibb, and “Nebraska” in general, is will voters see it as more than just a Bruce Dern vehicle.
Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine
Cate Blacnhett has been getting all the hype from her performance in “Blue Jasmine,” and rightly so, but the fantastic supporting cast shouldn’t be forgotten. At the top of the list should be Sally Hawkins. Hawkins and Blanchett play brilliantly off each other, and Hawkins is ever charming and a interesting foil to Blanchett.
Naomie Harris – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Reviews were not great for “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” when it screened at Toronto, but few could criticize the performances of Naomie Harris and Idris Elba. Harris will have to overcome the perception of the vehicle she is in to land a nom, but crazier things have happened.
Scarlett Johansson – Her
Scarlett Johansson’s chances for a nomination are slim to none since it’s a vocal performance only. However, reviews of her work as the operating system Samantha in “Her” were very high. Similar arguments for Zoe Saldana in “Avatar” and Andy Serkis in everything tried and failed to appeal this bias so Johansson’s chance will likely fall on death ears. Still, is it time for the Academy to consider awarding the best voice/motion capture performances of the year too?