With the extended Oscar eligibility (now February 28 instead of the usual December 31) and a new date for the 93rd Academy Awards (April 25), we can start to look at how a wide a net we can cast for this season, whatever it turns out to be.
A few things we do know (newer even from last week’s Best Actress predictions) is that Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley, with Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, was only 45% completed when production was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. del Toro mentioned on a recent IG live with IndieWire that they had completed most of the editing of that completed photography but that finishing up and making the new deadline was unlikely. To that end, I won’t be including Nightmare Alley in any official predictions until that changes. I will pepper the ‘other contenders’ list with potential candidates as that will also include the numerous productions who status is still up in the air.
I talked a bit about how the future of West Side Story could be in the hands of any fallout from sexual misconduct allegations against its star, Ansel Elgort, and that extends into supporting actress where Ariana DeBose is poised to break out, playing Anita, the character that won Rita Moreno the Oscar in 1962. Speaking of Moreno, the EGOT winner is a contender here again, playing a newly written character just for the remake. Moreno hasn’t had any high-level awards attention since her Daytime Emmy nomination in 1997 despite being worthy and on the cusp before. That she hasn’t been able to earn an Emmy nomination for her work in the One Day at a Time reboot might spell that her chances here aren’t that great.
One name you won’t see (yet) is Renée Elise Goldsberry for Hamilton from Disney. Goldsberry won the Tony for Featured Actress in a Musical, which would most likely put her in the supporting category for the Oscars. There is currently a storm brewing about the film’s Oscar eligibility with some outlets claiming it’s not based on a single Academy voter’s thoughts and questionable rules that have never been enforced. It appears that Disney might pushing the film to film guilds later this year and in that case it will be up to those guilds to recognize it or not. I imagine they’ll heed to the Academy, just as they have with the new Oscar rules, date move and extended eligibility. Once the Academy makes a statement then we’ll know what to do with Hamilton.
I think the main battle, at least looking at the landscape right now, could come down to a first-time nominee and a seven-time one who recently just lost in the biggest upset of her Oscar career. I’m talking about Amanda Seyfried in Mank and Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy, respectively, of course. What’s especially interesting is how it will play out if they’re both top Netflix priorities. The streamer finally broke through with an acting win last season when Laura Dern won supporting actress for Marriage Story but her win was supported by critics and the industry alike all the way to the Dolby and it was easy for Netflix to give everything they had to getting her on that stage. But what will they do here? I’m hearing phenomenal things about both of these performances and they’ll each offer a different thing to root for: the ingenue and the veteran. While the next awards season is going to look very different than what we’re used to, how willing is Close going to be to put herself out there once again? Seyfried benefits from being a lone woman in a very male-dominated film and with a wildly diverse career as she’s had (Mean Girls, Les Mis, First Reformed) she might fare better than say, Mila Kunis, who had everything going for her to get a supporting actress nomination for Black Swan a decade ago.
Netflix also has Toni Collette in I’m Thinking of Ending Things, the long-awaited return of Charlie Kaufman. There might be some residual bitterness over Collette missing out on a Best Actress nomination for Hereditary, which was one of the most critically lauded performances of 2018, but we have a date for the film (September 5) and that tells me it’s not a priority like their other films are (and currently undated).
You know who could stop Close though? Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…Olivia Colman in The Father. Now, I have her in lead at the moment based on reviews and how some people that saw the film at Sundance perceive her character but she could very well go supporting and really cock things up for Glennie after dropping that bomb on her two years ago.
Here are my ranked 2021 Supporting Actress Oscar predictions for July.
- 1. Glenn Close – Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix)
- 2. Amanda Seyfried – Mank (Netflix)
- 3. Ariana DeBose – West Side Story (20th Century)
- 4. Saoirse Ronan – Ammonite (Neon)
- 5. Helena Zengel – News of the World (Universal)
- 6. Olivia Colman – The Father (Sony Pictures Classics)
- 7. Mary J. Blige – Respect (MGM/UA)
- 8. Toni Collette – I’m Thinking of Ending Things (Netflix)
- 9. Youn Yuh-jung – Minari (A24)
- 10. Camille Cottin – Stillwater (Focus Features)
Other contenders: Elizabeth Debicki – Tenet (Warner Bros), Felicity Jones – The Midnight Sky (Netflix), Nicole Kidman – The Prom (Netflix), Rooney Mara – Nightmare Alley (Searchlight), Frances McDormand – The Tragedy of Macbeth (A24), Elisabeth Moss – Next Goal Wins (Searchlight), Meryl Streep – The Prom (Netflix), Marisa Tomei – The King of Staten Island (Universal), Priyanka Chopra – The White Tiger (Netflix)