Oscar nominations will be revealed on the 24th.  As arbitrary as the nominations can sometimes seem, there’s definitely method to their madness.  Over the next week, we’ll dive into the potential nominees in each of the big eight categories.  This time around: Supporting Actress.

VIRTUAL LOCK

  • Octavia Spencer, The Help

She won the Critics Choice and the Golden Globe, is nominated for the SAG and is playing a lovable character in a film everyone saw and most people quite liked.  At this point, it’d be an upset for Spencer not to win the category, missing out on a nomination would be nuts.

GOOD BET

  • Berenice Bejo, The Artist

The BAFTAs have it right, Bejo is absolutely a lead actress in this film, there’s no way she’s a supporting actress.  That category confusion is the only reason I don’t have her as a lock.  But Harvey Weinstein is a genius and seems to have pretty well herded his sheep into putting her as supporting.

LIKELY IN

  • Jessica Chastain, The Help

I must admit to being a little confused at the likely nominations for The Help.  Don’t get me wrong, the actresses did a fine job, but if the movie were less-liked, I’m skeptical we’d be seeing their names bandied about so often.  Here, Jessica Chastain is getting in because she’s had a killer year and general consensus seems to be that her best route in is through this role.  To be honest, for most of the movie, I wasn’t sure which one was her and which one was Bryce Dallas Howard.

ON THE BUBBLE

  • Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
  • Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
  • Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs

With Oscar you never know what will happen, but the only logical prediction you can make is that five of these six women will get nominations.  Melissa McCarthy has the most buzz and some seem to think she has a shot at winning the award, but I need to see evidence the old guard will vote for a relatively unknown TV actress in a comedy where her claim to fame is poop jokes.  Woodley has the advantage of being a hot young thing in a movie everyone has seen and liked with the precursors to support a vote.  I realize this makes me a terrible Oscar blogger, but I just now realized that Janet McTeer already has a Best Actress Oscar nomination, for a movie called Tumbleweeds (which I’ve never heard of), directed by Gavin O’Connor, who did Warrior.

DARK HORSES

  • Vanessa Redgrave, Coriolanus
  • Carey Mulligan, Shame
  • Jessica Chastain, Tree of Life
  • Judi Dench, My Week with Marilyn

Redgrave is supposed to be fantastic in Coriolanus, but I think three people have seen the film.  Carey Mulligan gets naked and sings in Shame, so there’s that.  As I mentioned last time, I don’t think anyone really knows what to do with Tree of Life, so it is entirely possible it rides a wave of nominations.  Dench just got a BAFTA nomination, is rightfully beloved by everyone and plays a character with slightly more screen time than her Oscar-winning role in Shakespeare in Love, so I guess you can’t count her out.

SHOULD HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED

  • Elle Fanning, Super 8 (probably going to end up my favorite supporting actress performance of the year)
  • Marion Cotillard, Midnight in Paris
  • Haley Atwell, Captain America
  • Ellen Page, Super
  • Liana Liberato, Trust
  • Helen Mirren, Arthur
  • Eva Green, Cracks
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