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Here are the nominees this year for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role:
Amy Adams, The Master
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook
The lowdown: this is actually a crazy category. Of the five, Hunt is the most deserving, and would be better – not to mention more appropriately – positioned in the lead category. Adams is excellent in The Master, but lacks Oscar-baiting scenes in a film that turned many off. On the other hand, Weaver, enjoying an impressive third-act career comeback, has next to nothing to do. David O’Russell inverted Playbook so that her character, which in the novel cowers from a volatile husband and tries to help her son heal; her husband is a pussycat and her son turns out to be self-healing.
Hathaway’s small featured role has impressed many, but her transparent awards show demagoguery has also turned many viewers off. Field has now marred her so-far perfect record (she’s 2-for-2 at the Oscars), and has campaigned hard as Mary Todd Lincoln. If anyone, she could topple Hathaway. But no one can. You know how you can tell a frontrunner at awards shows? When you start hearing their name bandied about before anyone has even seen the finished product, and Hathaway’s reps made sure that people knew she wanted this award a year ago, when Miserables had yet to be completed. Nothing can interfere with momentum like that – not even merit.
Snubs: Rosemarie DeWitt, Your Sister’s Sister; Ann Dowd, Compliance; Eva Green, Dark Shadows; Kelly Reilly, Flight
Should win: Hunt
Will win: Hathaway, who hopefully will act calm at the podium