It may be only (late) July but I’m feeling comfortable with establishing two category placements that have been a bit up in the air that impact both Supporting Actress and Best Actress.
The first is Kirsten Dunst in Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog from Netflix. The film, which will have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, is about a women (Dunst) torn between two sparring brothers (played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons) in 1920s Montana. It’s based on the 1967 novel of the same name by Thomas Savage and could mark Campion’s return to the Oscars (her first since 1993’s The Piano) and Dunst’s first ever nomination. It’s a juicy role and one that hovers between lead and supporting but, based on the source material, it’s more Cumberbatch’s narrative and he’ll be the film’s sole lead push, which gives Dunst a great shot here in supporting.
In other Venice news from this morning, the lack of Blonde showing up on the Lido gives me a bit of pause from putting Emmy nominee Julianne Nicholson in the top 10, for now. The film could still land a Telluride spot but if it doesn’t, something could be amiss with Andrew Dominik’s Marilyn Monroe biopic with Ana de Armas.
Word is that Searchlight Pictures is going to position Cate Blanchett in lead for Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley despite that, based on source material, it’s more of a supporting role. It’s a strategic move as the film also contains two other supporting actress hopefuls in Rooney Mara (Blanchett’s co-star in Carol, which successfully split category placement) and Toni Collette. With Blanchett also a potential supporting contender for Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up, this is definitely a pragmatic choice and one that could pay off, especially since Blanchett has to go up against Oscar titan Meryl Streep there.
Since the last chart, Bleecker Street announced they would be running all four actors from Fran Kranz’s Sundance film Mass in supporting. Ultimately, I think that hurts Ann Dowd, who would have benefited from a split campaign. Bleecker Street has yet to show us they can mount a successful Oscar campaign and just last season also made a dubious category decision with Supernova, the story of a middle-aged gay couple where one of the has early onset Alzheimer’s, positioning Colin Firth in lead and Stanley Tucci in supporting despite equal screen time.
Here are my ranked Supporting Actress Oscar predictions for July 2021.
Green – moves up ↑ Red – moves down ↓ Blue – new/re-entry ♦ Black – no movement ↔
1. Kirsten Dunst – The Power of the Dog (Netflix) ↑
2. Ariana DeBose – West Side Story (20th Century Studios) ↓
3. Cate Blanchett – Don’t Look Up (Netflix) ↑
4. Ruth Negga – Passing (Netflix) ↔
5. Toni Collette – Nightmare Alley (Searchlight Pictures) ↑
6. Meryl Streep – Don’t Look Up (Netflix) ↓
7. Judi Dench – Belfast (Focus Features) ↔
8. Rooney Mara – Nightmare Alley (Searchlight Pictures) ↑
9. Audra McDonald – Respect (MGM/UA) ↑
10. Marlee Matlin – CODA (Apple TV+) ↓
Other contenders: Awkwafina – Swan Song (Apple TV+), Caitriona Balfe – Belfast (Focus Features), Glenn Close – Swan Song (Apple TV+) ↓, Jodie Comer – The Last Duel (20th Century Studios), Ann Dowd – Mass (Bleecker Street) ↓, Aunjanue Ellis – King Richard (Warner Bros/HBO Max), Vera Farmiga – The Many Saints of Newark (Warner Bros/HBO Max), Rebecca Ferguson – Dune (Warner Bros/HBO Max), Sally Hawkins – Spencer (Neon), Salma Hayek – House of Gucci (MGM/UA) ♦, Jayne Houdyshell – The Humans (A24) ↓, Kaimana – Next Goal Wins (Searchlight Pictures) – category placement TBD, Olga Merediz – In the Heights (Warner Bros/HBO Max), Rita Moreno – West Side Story (20th Century Studios), Julianne Nicholson – Blonde (Netflix) Anya Taylor-Joy – Untitled David O. Russell aka Canterbury Glass (20th Century Studios) or Last Night in Soho (Focus Features)