Margot, oh Margot, what to do. Before we had much of an inkling as to what Bombshell would look like, Margot Robbie has been riding a comfortable wave of prediction success with her quiet but impactful role as ill-fated actress Sharon Tate in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The sound you heard this week though was a record scratch when the new trailer for Bombshell dropped. Pundits were sent scampering, predictions thrown into chaos. Will Robbie get in for this instead? Will she cancel herself out?
Since her first nomination, for her breakthrough lead role in I, Tonya just two years ago, Robbie has become a major player with her own franchise on the way (Birds of Prey) and coming this close to an afterglow nomination last year with Mary, Queen of Scots (she earned SAG and BAFTA nominations for the role but missed out to actresses in stronger Best Picture nominees) so she’s ripe for her second nomination. But which will it be? With the Oscars’ affinity for actors playing real-life people it seems easy to pick her performance in OUATIH. The film is also already a $100M+ hit. But what if she’s better in Bombshell? Can she get in playing a fictional role in a real life drama over a real person in a fictional version of real life? It’s a wild conundrum, especially if Bombshell also becomes a hit. But by that time we’ll already have our nominations from SAG and the Golden Globes. If they go for her in Once that’s probably where she’ll end up.
We could be looking at two scenarios for Robbie: like Jessica Chastain in 2011, where she had a handful of great supporting performances but got in for the one with the highest box office that got into Best Picture or like Leonardo DiCaprio in 2008 where he had two competing lead performances and got in for Blood Diamond with only a Golden Globe nom despite being nominated by SAG and BAFTA (and the Golden Globes) for eventual Best Picture winner The Departed. That is one of those examples where the Academy’s acting branch went out on its own and it could happen to Robbie as well. I’m actually predicting Robbie to be double-nominated at the Globes (just like DiCaprio was) to further muck up the situation. For this month I’m holding onto OUATIH as her ticket but moving her up for Bombshell. What that could do, if Bombshell is an awards hit, is give a path to Nicole Kidman in the same film.
Maggie Smith moves back into the top 5 this month on the strength of the blockbuster hit that is the Downton Abbey movie (it’s now Focus Features’ highest grossing film ever). A multi-Emmy winner for the television show and a two-Oscar winner to boot, Smith could find herself back in awards glory. What’s going to get in her way? The possibility that Focus Features might not be campaigning her (I hear they’re going for the ‘coffee table’ awards only) and that Smith herself won’t/can’t campaign. We’ve thought Smith was going to make it in before for things like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel but she might just end up being this year’s SAG/Golden Globe/BAFTA nom that misses out. It’s a tenuous prediction with plenty of performances that could take her place.
I remain torn on what to do with Scarlett Johansson and Thomasin McKenzie in Jojo Rabbit, two actresses looking for their first nomination – or in Johansson’s case, her first of potentially two. There is a legitimate scenario in which SAG and the Globes split on each and BAFTA becomes our defining factor. Dual supporting actress nominations from the same film are much more common than their supporting actor counterparts – it happened four years in a row from 2008-2011 – but it helps to be in a Best Picture nominee, which Jojo Rabbit definitely will be. They can both make it in if the precursors fall their way but that means they both need to do exactly that to earn a spot.
Pundits are going gaga for Florence Pugh in the as-of-yet unseen Little Women as the standout performance and indeed, with that, Midsommar and Fighting with My Family earlier this year, Pugh is making a name for herself to earn a first nomination.
A host of other new entries this month with Cho Yeo-jeong (Parasite), Julie Hagerty (Marriage Story) and Olivia Wilde (Richard Jewell) making their first marks on the chart.
Here are my 2020 Oscar Nomination Predictions in Supporting Actress for October 17, 2019.
Green – moves up Red – moves down Blue – new/re-entry
1. Laura Dern – Marriage Story (Netflix)
2. Jennifer Lopez – Hustlers (STX Entertainment)
3. Shuzhen Zhao – The Farewell (A24)
4. Margot Robbie – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia)
5. Maggie Smith – Downton Abbey (Focus Features)
NEXT UP (alphabetical by actor)
Annette Bening – The Report (Amazon)
Scarlett Johansson – Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight)
Thomasin McKenzie – Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight)
Florence Pugh – Little Women (Sony/Columbia)
Margot Robbie – Bombshell (Lionsgate)
WATCH OUT FOR (alphabetical by actor)
Anne Hathaway – Dark Waters (Focus Features)
Jennifer Hudson – Cats (Universal)
Nicole Kidman – Bombshell (Lionsgate)
Da’Vine Joy Randolph – Dolemite Is My Name (Netflix)
Meryl Streep – The Laundromat (Netflix)
OTHER CONTENDERS (alphabetical by actor)
Kathy Bates – Richard Jewell (Warner Bros)
Penélope Cruz – Pain and Glory (Sony Classics)
Cho Yeo-jeong – Parasite (Neon)
Julie Hagerty – Marriage Story (Netflix)
Brie Larson – Just Mercy (Warner Bros)
Taylor Russell – Waves (A24)
Octavia Spencer – Luce (Neon)
Olivia Wilde – Richard Jewell (Warner Bros)