Sometimes a frontrunner isn’t actually the frontrunner. Especially when they pick up and vacate a slam-dunk category and head off to more unsure pastures. That’s exactly what Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival two weeks ago and won the TIFF People’s Choice award) did, moving from the safety of supporting actress over to lead, leaving behind what is now a very open race.
So who’s out in front now? With just a handful of potential previous nominees like Angela Bassett, Samantha Morton and Rooney Mara and even previous winners like Laura Dern, Whoopi Goldberg and Sally Field, we’re more likely looking at a lineup full of potential first-time nominees.
Premiering since last month’s predictions is Women Talking, which broke at Telluride, throwing at us a wealth of supporting actress contenders but with Claire Foy and Jessie Buckley, a surprise nominee here last year. Both actresses have guttural, barn-burner monologues and received the best notices from the film, a story about a group of Mennonite-like women deciding whether to stay, fight or leave the religious cult that has sexually and emotionally persecuted them. I’m giving the edge to Foy here (and it’s a huge jump from #11 last month) as I think her performance will resonate just a bit more. Rooney Mara actually has the larger role, and more complete arc, but I wonder if UAR/Orion will give her a lead push to secure those supporting spots; if they do it’ll push her right out of contention of a very packed lead category, especially with Williams there now.
I’ve gone back and forth with Hong Chau and Sadie Sink in The Whale and am back on the Chau train, who received the better notices after the film’s premieres at Venice and TIFF. Chau came close to an Oscar nomination with 2017’s Downsizing, where she earned nods from Critics’ Choice, SAG and the Golden Globes really nails her pivotal and morally complicated role and vaults up to #2.
The Banshees of Inisherin may be mostly between Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, but Kerry Condon as Farrell’s sister who wants to break free from him and their small village, is a funny and heartfelt performance that, if Banshees is a big hit with the Academy, could find her her first nomination.
I’m feeling a bit more bullish this month on Stephanie Hsu in Everything Everywhere All at Once and Thuso Mbedu explodes into the top 10 for The Woman King, holding her own with Viola Davis in a near co-lead role. There’s also room for co-star Lashana Lynch to make some waves here. If Triangle of Sadness hits with the Academy there’s a place for Dolly De Leon and Cate Blanchett could bring Nina Hoss with her for TÁR, or even Noemie Merlant. Both? Maybe, but not likely.
Dropping precipitously this month are both Laura Dern and Vanessa Kirby in The Son. It might be too dramatic to take them both out of the top 5 and top 10, respectively, but Dern truly gives nothing in a film that was ravaged by critics and Kirby, while receiving mostly good notices, but can she really rise above when there are so many other, stronger performances?
Here are my 2023 Oscar predictions in Supporting Actress for September 2022.
Green – moves up ↑ Red – moves down ↓ Blue – new entry ♦
1. Claire Foy – Women Talking (UAR/Orion) ↑
2. Hong Chau – The Whale (A24) ↑
3. Jessie Buckley – Women Talking (UAR/Orion) ↓
4. Janelle Monáe – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix)
5. Jean Smart – Babylon (Paramount Pictures)
6. Kerry Condon – The Banshees of Inisherin (Searchlight Pictures) ↑
7. Zoe Kazan – She Said (Universal Pictures)
8. Laura Dern – The Son (Sony Pictures Classics) ↓
9. Dolly De Leon – Triangle of Sadness (NEON) ↑
10. Thuso Mbedu – The Woman King (Columbia Pictures) ↑
11. Nina Hoss – TÁR (Focus Features) ↑
12. Stephanie Hsu – Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24) ↑
13. Rooney Mara – Women Talking (UAR/Orion) – could be pushed lead
14. Vanessa Kirby – The Son (Sony Pictures Classics) ↓
15. Sadie Sink – The Whale (A24) ↓
16. Angela Bassett – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Walt Disney/Marvel) ↑
17. Jamie Lee Curtis – Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24)
18. Patricia Clarkson – She Said (Universal Pictures) ↓
19. Lashana Lynch – The Woman King (Columbia Pictures) ♦
20. Whoopi Goldberg – Till (MGM/UAR) ↓
Other contenders (alphabetical)
- Lucy Boynton – Chevalier (Searchlight Pictures) – 2022 or 2023?
- Hong Chau – The Menu (Searchlight Pictures)
- Sally Field – Spoiler Alert (Focus Features)
- Greta Gerwig – White Noise (Netflix) ↓
- Anne Hathaway – Armageddon Time (Focus Features)
- Judith Ivey – Women Talking (UAR/Orion) ♦
- Li Jun Li – Babylon (Paramount Pictures)
- Noemie Merlant – TÁR (Focus Features)
- Samantha Morton – She Said (Universal Pictures) ↓
- Julianne Nicholson – Blonde (Netflix) ↓
- Sophie Okonedo – Raymond & Ray (Apple Original Films)
- Griselda Sicillani – Bardo, or the False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (Netflix) ↓
- Anya Taylor-Joy – Amsterdam (20th Century Studios)
- Gabrielle Union – The Inspection (A24) ♦
- Samara Weaving – Chevalier (Searchlight Pictures) – 2022 or 2023?
- Nafessa Williams – I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Columbia)
- Aimee Lou Wood – Living (Sony Pictures Classics) ♦