WHY AMY ADAMS WILL WIN BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS FOR DOUBT: Because the performance is nuanced and intelligent. Because Adams brings through the essential indecisive nature of the character without turning her into a puddle of jelly. Because she didn’t win for Junebug in 2005 despite having given the most deserving performance because she was a new face and because Rachel Weisz deserved a statue on a career basis. Because everybody really liked her in Enchanted and despite it not being a “win Oscars for acting” movie, people don’t forget performances they like and want to reward them later. Because it was a nice change to see “young nun” played for a reason other than “have crisis of faith” or “forbidden love.”
WHY AMY ADAMS WILL NOT WIN BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS FOR DOUBT: Because nobody can tell the difference between her and Isla Fisher. Because people have a mental image of what nuns should look like and “giant bonnets” doesn’t usually factor into that. Because she is over thirty and therefore the “give the young white ingenue the Oscar” motivation which would normally play in her favour is not there. Because Doubt, despite great acting, is really kind of a boring movie.
WHY PENELOPE CRUZ WILL WIN BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS FOR VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA: Because she’s made so many good movies for which she has gone unrecognized. Because her performance in Vicky won so much critical acclaim and so many critical awards this year. Because Woody Allen still has a lot of Academy pull, especially when it’s a movie he himself does not appear in (because Woody Allen himself is kind of creepy). Because she is arguably the cutest of the nominees in this category.
WHY PENELOPE CRUZ WILL NOT WIN BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS FOR VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA: Because although she makes many good movies, they are all Spanish movies, and usually when she makes an English-language movie it is something like Sahara or Gothika or the upcoming G-Force, which is not about the famous anime team but instead about a group of superintelligent guinea pig secret agents, and do you really want to give an Oscar to somebody who makes a movie about talking guinea pigs?
WHY VIOLA DAVIS WILL WIN BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS FOR DOUBT: Because her character gets the most emotional, most difficult scene in a movie that is an “actor’s movie,” and she not only nailed it but was indeed exemplary. Because the Academy (rightly) wants to recognize more black actresses. Because she’s kind of awesome.
WHY VIOLA DAVIS WILL NOT WIN BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS FOR DOUBT: Because she is one of two black actresses nominated in this category and they will either split the “socially conscious” vote or she will be ignored in favour of the Benjamin Button tide. Because Doubt, despite great acting, is really kind of a boring movie. Because as good as Viola Davis is, she’s not the sort of underrecognized black actress who has done tons of great work and who has missed out on many potential nominations, like Alfre Woodard for example.
WHY TARAJI P. HENSON WILL WIN BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS FOR THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON: Because she has an awesome name. Because her performance feels genuine in a movie that is frequently mawkish and formulaic. Because the Academy (rightly) wants to recognize more black actresses. Because Best Supporting Actress is often the category where surprise wins show up, and she’d definitely qualify as a surprise win. Because Benjamin Button got thirteen nominations and the overall success of the film will push her over the top.
WHY TARAJI P. HENSON WILL NOT WIN BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS FOR THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON: Because potential surprise win or not, the Academy is leery of “TV actresses,” and her most notable credit other than Button is her season on Boston Legal. Because she is one of two black actresses nominated in this category and they will either split the “socially conscious” vote or she will be ignored in favour of Viola Davis’ superior work in Doubt. Because Benjamin Button kind of sucks.
WHY MARISA TOMEI WILL WIN BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS FOR THE WRESTLER: Because it was a very strong performance, probably the best performance in this category this year, in a film that was gritty and real. Because she is 44 and still incredibly gorgeous in a town where any woman over 30 is somehow terrifying. Because critical momentum is on her side. Because although she won an Oscar already, that was ages ago and when she was a young ingenue, as opposed to now when she is a mature actress at the peak of her skills. Because she got overlooked for In The Bedroom, which still holds up, for Jennifer Connolly in A Beautiful Mind, which really doesn’t.
WHY MARISA TOMEI WILL NOT WIN BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS FOR THE WRESTLER: Because, regardless of whether you like it or not, it’s Mickey Rourke’s movie and the plaudits for it are mostly his. Because regardless of what she is now and what she is then, she already won a statue a long time ago and she might not be good enough to deserve another. Because she has a hardcore New Yawk accent that never quite goes away and there are people who don’t like that.