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There are only a few days left until the 2014 Academy Awards, so most of our predictions are solidified by now. But even though Cate Blanchett appears to be a lock for Best Actress and Alfonso Cuaron has the highest odds of winning Best Director, there's still one race that's impossible to guess: Best Supporting Actress. The two candidates who could snag the trophy are Lupita Nyong'o for her work in 12 Years a Slave and Jennifer Lawrence for her performance in American Hustle.
Normally, we could just rely on the previous awards shows to help influence our predictions. Blanchett and Cuaron have both swept their categories, as have Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto (who we think will take Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively). But Lawrence and Nyong'o have split the opinions of the various awards organizations, which means the Oscar is still anyone's game. In an attempt to solve this problem once and for all and help you solidify your Oscar pool, we've taken a look back at all of the women who have won Best Supporting Actress in order to see if we could use the winners of yesteryear to determine who will walk home with the trophy on Oscar night.
Major Precursor Awards Won: 2 (for each)Lawrence won both the Golden Globe and the BAFTA for her role as Rosalyn Rosenfeld, while Nyong'o picked up the Critic's Choice Award and the Screen Actor's Guild Award for playing the slave girl Patsey.
Actresses 25 and Under Who Won Best Supporting Actress: 8If Lawrence, who at 23 is the youngest actress to earn 3 Oscar nominations, were to take home the award on Sunday, she would join a list of young winners that includes Tatum O’Neal, Patty Duke, Goldie Hawn, Anna Paquin, Jennifer Hudson, Angelina Jolie, Teresa Wright, and Anne Baxter.
Actresses Between 25 and 30 Who Won Best Supporting Actress: 13At 30, Nyong'o would be in good company as a Best Supporting Actress winner, as Shirley Jones, Mary Steenburgen, Marisa Tomei, Mira Sorvino, Miyoshi Umecki, Gloria Grahame, Kim Hunter, Sandy Dennis, Rita Moreno, Eva Marie Saint, Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep and Celeste Holm also took home an Oscar around the same age.
Best Supporting Actress Winners Who Won for Their First Performance: 9It's hard to believe that 12 Years a Slave is Nyong'o's first feature film, but she's not the only actress to impress the Academy with her debut perfomance: Katina Paxinou, Mercedes McCambridge, Eva Marie Saint, Jo Van Fleet, Tatum O’Neal, Goldie Hawn, Miyoshi Umecki, Anna Paquin, and Jennifer Hudson all stunned on their first try.
Actresses Who Won Best Supporting Actress After Winning Best Actress: 3 After winning for Silver Lining's Playbook at last year's awards, Lawrence would join an elite club of women who topped their Best Actress win with a Best Supporting Actress trophy. : Helen Hayes, who won Best Actress for her work in The Sin of Madelon Claudet in 1931 and Best Supporting Actress for Airport in 1970, Ingrid Bergman, who took home Best Actress for Gaslight in 1944 and Anastasia in 1956 then won Best Supporting Actress in 1974 for Murder on the Orient Express, and Maggie Smith, who was awarded Best Actress for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie 1969 and followed it up with Best Supporting Actress for California Suite 1978.
Best Supporting Actress Winners Who Won on Their First Nomination: 51The Best Supporting Actress category has been particularly kind to newcomers, with 51 actresses who have taken home gold on their first nomination (a fact that bodes well for Nyong'o). If she wins, she would be added to the long list that includes Gale Sondergaard, Hattie McDaniel, Jane Darwell, Mary Astor, Katina Paxinou, Ethel Barrymore, Anne Baxter, Celeste Holm, Mercedes McCambridge, Josephine Hull, Kim Hunter, Donna Reed, Eva Marie Saint, Jo Van Fleet, Dorothy Malone, Miyoshi Umecki, Shirley Jones, Rita Moreno, Patty Duke, Margaret Rutherford, Lila Kedrova, Sandy Dennis, Estelle Parsons, Goldie Hawn, Cloris Leachmann, Tatum O’Neal, Beatrice Straight, Mary Steenburgen, Jessica Lange, Linda Hunt, Peggy Ashcroft, Anjelica Huston, Dianne Wiest, Olympia Dukakis, Geena Davis, Brenda Fricker, Mercedes Ruehl, Marisa Tomei, Anna Paquin, Mira Sorvino, Juliette Binoche, Kim Basinger, Angelina Jolie, Marcia Gay Harden, Jennifer Connolly, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rachel Weisz, Jennifer Hudson, Tilda Swinton, Mo’Nique, and Octavia Spencer.
Actresses Who Have Won Best Supporting Actress for a Comedic Role: 7Although the Academy tends to favor dramatic performances, the Supporting Actor and Actress categories often reward more comedic roles, like Lawrence's. If she wins, she would join the seven other women who laughed their way to an Oscar: Josephine Hull for Harvey, Goldie Hawn for Cactus Flower, Maggie Smith for California Suite, Olympia Dukakis for Moonstruck, Marisa Tomei for My Cousin Vinny, Mira Sorvino for Mighty Aphrodite, and Penelope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
Actresses Who Have Won Best Supporting Actress Winners For Playing Servants: 3Although Nyong'o would be the first Best Supporting Actress winner to win for portraying a slave, three women have previously won for playing servants: Gale Sondergaard, Hattie McDaniel, and Octavia Spencer.
Actresses Who Have Won Best Supporting Actress for Playing the Wife of the Lead: 7Before Rosalyn Rosenfeld came along to "inspire" her husband Iriving, there were countless other wives who played a key role in their husband's stories, and seven actresses won an Oscar for playing them: Mary Astor, Kim Hunter, Gloria Grahame, Jennifer Connolly, Rachel Weisz, Meryl Streep, and Mary Steenburgen.
Black Women Who Have Won Best Supporting Actress: 4If Nyong'o takes home the Oscar on Sunday, she will become only the fifth black woman to win Best Supporting Actress, and just the sixth black woman to win an acting Oscar overall. The previous Best Supporting Actress winners are Hattie McDaniel, Whoopi Goldberg, Mo’Nique, and Octavia Spencer, while Halle Berry is the lone black Best Actress winner.
Actresses Who Have Won Best Supporting Actress for Playing a Character with a New York Accent: 2Whether you love Lawrence's accent in American Hustle or it makes you want to stab yourself in the ears, there's no denying that the New York accent is a tricky one to pull off. Only two women have done it well enough to earn an Oscar: Marisa Tomei as the wise-cracking fianceè of the title character in My Cousin Vinny and Olympia Dukakis as Cher's mother in Moonstruck.
Our Prediction: Lupita Nyong'o Despite being evenly matched, we think that the combination of 12 Years a Slave being Nyong'o's film debut, as well as her first nomination will help swing the votes in her favor, as the Academy has proven that there's nothing it loves more than an impressive breakthrough performance. Plus, she deserves it, and we have to believe that there is some semblance of justice left in this world.
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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S4:E12 “I researched them before I hired them, Avery.” – Ramona
Because neither Ramona nor LuAnn had sweet 16 birthday parties, this episode started with both women deciding to throw them for their daughters. We went inside both planning sessions, but first we watched as the people Ramona hired to throw Avery’s party try and talk Avery into having performance artists standing by the doorways as her friends arrived into some loft that’s called LOFT and have things like glo sticks and hamsters in hamster balls lying around. Avery didn’t really like where the direction of her party was going, and so she felt compelled to explain to the caterer how she should fill up the room, but not too much so that people gravitated towards the walls instead of standing in the middle of the room and filling the space out. The caterer nodded and yessed Avery, but you could see in her eyes that she was going to go home to her boyfriend and down nine bottles of Skinnygirl Margarita and yell at her boyfriend for not being richer so she wouldn’t have to plan sweet 16s. The best part was, though, when the caterer started talking about themes and told Avery that she could have her party in the theme of breakdancing. Avery was disgusted and looked down at her necklace and then back at the caterer and it was like, “when was the last time you saw a breakdancer wearing a necklace that has diamonds in bezled settings?” Then we went inside LuAnn’s party planning, and her daughter Victoria wanted something much more low key. She chose to have it in a club called Arena, which had big screen TVs in it and ice sculptures and then she and the planner decided that it would be awesome if the theme of her party was Frost, which was pretty weird because Victoria wears all black and leather jackets and boots and doesn’t really seem like the person to appreciate the beauty of precipitation.
“I wasn’t sure she understood the kind of bankruptcy she was in.” – Jill
Jill invited Sonja to her plastic surgeon’s office so that while Jill was waiting to get her liquid face lift, she could talk to her about her bankruptcy. Jill also invited her sister Lisa along, because she’s an attorney and Jill wanted Lisa to give Sonja some advice on something she’d already done, which was declare bankruptcy. Lisa sat down and asked Sonja to tell her about herself, and Sonja said she was a lover and a gardener and a hostess who had tons of businesses and produced one movie on a $7 million budget that flopped. She also said she was legally divorced, but she was still currently working out how much money her ex-husband was going to give her every month but that the $7 million movie she produced was never made, so it was pretty confusing. Lisa was all like, “well, technically you’re not allowed to declare bankruptcy unless your debts exceed your assets.” And Sonja was like, “well my debts do exceed my assets if you count in the $7.5 million judgment that I got during my divorce.” So apparently Sonja owes her ex-husband that money, and she filed bankruptcy to give herself time to pay it without also having to pay her other debts. This all happened in a plastic surgeon’s office. Then when everyone went inside to watch Jill get needles stuck into her face, the plastic surgeon said “I love doing this. It makes me so happy.”
“It’s almost like being with Jill.” – LuAnn
LuAnn threw a surprise party for Jill at some restaurant that was owned by Josephine Baker’s son and when Cindy arrived at the restaurant, LuAnn started telling her how nervous she was because of how many people were coming and how many of them she had to organize. But this is what LuAnn does – she organizes things and then she gets nervous about them and regrets being responsible for them, but then organizes more events and forgets that she hates doing it. But instead of worrying about the guests, she should have worried about the magician who was turning stress balls into hearts because everyone he did his little trick for was too busy talking to their friends and ignoring him and eventually he got so frustrated that he looked like he was going to turn an Ace of Hearts into a machine gun and blow all the gypsy-looking lamps away. Once Ramona arrived at the party, she and LuAnn started talking about their daughters’ sweet 16 parties and it was one of those competitive conversations where you almost don’t even want to reveal anything to the other person because you know they’re just going to one-up you (“What kind of tire swing do you have?” “Oh, it’s Michelin and it’s tied to a cherry tree.” “Oh that’s hilarious! Mine’s a Michelin too but it’s tied to an orange tree!”) Eventually, they realized their daughters had the same theme (Avery’s was Winter Wonderland and Victoria’s was Frost, but whatever). When Sonja and Alex and the rest of them arrived, Jill walked through the door and was completely surprised to see everyone. She was also really surprised to see Ramona, who ran up to her and grabbed her and hugged her like she was the one who was throwing the party. This pissed off LuAnn, who then felt compelled to go upstairs and put on a teal gown and a teal headdress and sing “It’s Almost Like Being In Love” to Jill. Jill turned to her husband Bobby and said she was so impressed that LuAnn wrote a song for her.
“I’m Jacob, the hypnotherapist.” – Jacob the hypnotherapist
Alex and Simon are so full of shit. If I was in grade school, I’d go to the bathroom in the middle of my history class every single day and bring a Sharpie with me so I could write “Alex and Simon are so full of shit” on the stall’s wall. Anyway, Simon apparently smokes, and Alex hates it, so instead of telling him to man up and just fucking quit, she hired a hypnotherapist to hypnotize his body to stop wanting to smoke. But before anyone was hypnotized Simon explained to Jacob his history with smoking, and he said he’d successfully quit twice before (EVEN THOUGH SMOKING AGAIN MEANS YOU HAVEN’T ACTUALLY QUIT SUCCESSFULLY), and then Simon told Alex he just wanted to go have one more cigarette before he officially quit because he loved his boys so much. As Simon was outside smoking, he was telling himself how the hypnotist had a 60% success rate and he was trying to figure out if that was good or bad, which makes Simon dumber than the guy in the cow costume that hands out ice cream at the local Stew Leonard’s. (Aside: I believe 60% is not that great of a statistic. Would you be happy if your cancer had a 60% chance of coming back, or if 60% of your house was consumed with bedbugs, or if your genes were 60% mutated?) Anyway, so the hypnotherapist began yelling at Simon that he hated smoking and that he was a nonsmoker. Simon eventually woke up and told Alex he wanted to clean his teeth and Jacob the hypnotherapist turned to Alex and said “see? He’s already reacting to the nicotine taste.” And then Jacob left their house in his little puffy FUBU jacket and off to convince someone else that they don’t really have to fuck animals.
“Congratulations, I’m so proud of you.” – Cindy
We then went to Victoria’s sweet 16 party at Arena, and there were aerialists hanging from the ceilings and ice sculptures and house music. When Cindy and Kelly and Jill arrived, they congratulated Victoria for turning 16 and said that in five years, she’d be working for either Marc Jacobs or French Vogue. But they all had to leave pretty quickly because they all had to go to Avery’s party over at LOFT. Once all of them were there, Jill noticed that it clearly wasn’t just Avery’s party because Ramona had invited at least 50 adults, but didn’t have napkins for the sushi. When Ramona asked Jill what Victoria’s party was like, Jill said it was at a club and very clubby and dark. Ramona responded by saying she had the option to do it at a club, but decided against it because she thought a Winter Wonderland with blue lighting and alcohol for the adults would be better for her daughter. As this was happening, Jill’s husband Bobby told Alex’s husband Simon that he heard from someone that Simon was associated with a blog that disparages Jill on a daily basis. Simon denied having any involvement with it, and Bobby kind of got all dead horse head in your bed and counted on his fingers all the things that were important to him and if Simon didn’t agree with them, then he could take his 60% ass somewhere else. Then we got a preview for next week’s episode, which showed Simon going up to Jill and asking if she would meet him to talk about something, and Jill said the way he asked her was weird and she didn’t think they had to meet. Simon told her to “watch out” and then widened his eyes like he couldn’t believe he was just cast in Spamalot. So be sure and come back next week for that!