As I mentioned in Supporting Actor, fluidity between roles and category placement will be a big factor in Supporting Actress as well. Is there a female lead in Nightmare Alley and is it Cate Blanchett or Rooney Mara? Are they both supporting? Maybe, possibly. We know Blanchett’s filming was relatively brief so it would seem logical to see her go supporting. Don’t forget, there’s also Toni Collette.
Speaking of Blanchett, she also has a juicy role in Adam McKay’s star-studded Don’t Look Up but she could find herself with stiff competition from the Queen of the Oscars herself, Meryl Streep. Also purported to have a role to chew on as only Streep can, they could both find their way in and continue to bump their nomination numbers up even more.
When the reviews for In the Heights came out, the response was overwhelmingly positive. A huge 84 on Metacritic, a massive 96% on Rotten Tomatoes (with a 95% audience score). Box office pundits were positioning it between $20-30M for its opening weekend, just as California was set to fully re-open. Then the actual numbers came in – $11.5M – and with them came a deluge of some of the worst commentary to hit Twitter in a long time. The social media platform has made nuance and conversation difficult to navigate through the cacophony of trolls and pessimism that permeates it. What all of this brings me to is Olga Merediz, the heart of In the Heights and her Oscar chances as a result of her film’s box office and the fallout response. While a healthy box office would have been extremely helpful I think there is still a place for her in the conversation, but it will be up to year-end pundits and Warner Bros themselves to keep her name in lights when it comes to prioritizing her over other WB properties come awards time with names like Vera Farmiga (playing a young Livia Soprano in the HBO show’s prequel The Many Saints of Newark), Aunjanue Ellis in King Richard and Rebecca Ferguson in Dune.
Her loss may be Ariana DeBose’s gain. In a year boasting a record number of musicals (both originals and adaptations), DeBose’s turn in Steven Spielberg’s version of West Side Story could be her ticket to turning Rita Moreno’s Oscar-winning turn into her own, playing the same role. No pressure there, right?
Here are my ranked Supporting Actress Oscar predictions for June 2021.
Green – moves up ↑ Red – moves down ↓ Blue – new/re-entry Black – no movement ↔
1. Ariana DeBose – West Side Story (20th Century Studios) ↑
2. Cate Blanchett – Nightmare Alley (Searchlight Pictures) ↓
3. Meryl Streep – Don’t Look Up (Netflix) ↑
4. Ruth Negga – Passing (Netflix) ↔
5. Jayne Houdyshell – The Humans (A24) ↔
6. Toni Collette – Nightmare Alley (Searchlight Pictures) ↔
7. Judi Dench – Belfast (Focus Features) ↑
8. Ann Dowd – Mass (Bleecker Street) ↔
9. Marlee Matlin – CODA (Apple TV+) ↔
10. Glenn Close – Swan Song (Apple TV+) ↓
Other contenders: Awkwafina – Swan Song (Apple TV+), Caitriona Balfe – Belfast (Focus Features), Cate Blanchett – Don’t Look Up (Netflix), Marion Cotillard – Annette (Amazon Studios), Jodie Comer – The Last Duel (20th Century Studios), 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), Kaimana – Next Goal Wins (Searchlight Pictures) – category placement TBD, Rooney Mara – Nightmare Alley (Searchlight Pictures), Audra McDonald – Respect (MGM/UA), Thomasin McKenzie – The Power of the Dog (Netflix), 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)
The lead or supporting conundrum:
- Caitriona Balfe – Belfast (Focus Features)
- Cate Blanchett – Nightmare Alley (Searchlight Pictures)
- Jodie Comer – The Last Duel (20th Century Studios)
- Kirsten Dunst – The Power of the Dog (Netflix)
- Rooney Mara – Nightmare Alley (Searchlight Pictures)