Academy of One: Best Actress in a Supporting Role 2017

These are my opinions and feelings. I do not represent the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and I have no power to revoke or award Academy Awards. Consider this an alternate universe, where everything is the same except which movies get recognition and which should fade out. Also, SPOILER ALERT! I may be spilling major details about several films.

The truth is, I'm going to end this post in only the second tie I've had in the several posts of this blog. This will be the first I've attempted to explain, though. The other tie came when I had no time or energy to write out my explanations in long hand and just published a list for the movies of 2010.

A tie can seem like a half victory in many ways as there isn't an end all be all, top tier, pick of the litter, etc. That could lead to interpretations that the performances may not have been equally excellent, which I find untrue. If two people win the same award at the same time, no one is better, they are equally the best..

So, there will be a tie because I believe in rewarding excellence. Though, dear reader, if you think you know the outcome of the tie, know that there are three performances already among the nominees that I believe to be the three best performances of the year by an actor of any gender.

Yes, I have just planted the idea that there could be a three way tie at the end of this post and you will just have to read to the end to find out if it's true. Here are the nominees as they stand.

  • Mary J. Blige - Mudbound

  • Allison Janney - I, Tonya

  • Lesley Manville - Phantom Thread

  • Laurie Metcalf - Lady Bird

  • Octavia Spencer - The Shape of Water

I feel as if there are some weak links on this list, so here are a few actresses I'm proposing could take a spot or two.

  • Betty Gabriel - Get Out

  • Tiffany Haddish - Girls Trip

  • Holly Hunter - The Big Sick

One of my big pet peeves is when someone gets nominated for a cameo type role that was just a scene or two, but I promise you that while Betty Gabriel's role in Get Out doesn't have much dialogue, her character is in the background of most of the film and she has several pivotal scenes where she needs to code switch from sunken place victim to body snatcher quickly and she does it with a beauty and ease that's mesmerizing.

Tiffany Haddish has had one of those massive career explosions that can happen in Hollywood. Like Melissa McCarthy before her, Haddish is able to embody that emotional wild card in Girls Trip enabling big laughs and balancing an equal amount of affecting pathos.

This was a year of tough moms and Holly Hunter is no exception. She's fiercely protective of her daughter, fighting against any and all comers, but when the chips are down and she's accepted someone as part of her group, she fights for them to, sometimes physically if necessary. It's a scene stealing performance with just the right amount of every emotion you can think of.

O.K., now that I have my potentials, it's time to take a look back at the original list and see if any can be removed. Remember, my top three are on the list already.

  • Mary J. Blige - Mudbound

  • Allison Janney - I, Tonya

  • Lesley Manville - Phantom Thread

  • Laurie Metcalf - Lady Bird

  • Octavia Spencer - The Shape of Water

I have one name to remove. The only one on the list I can think of as a weak link is Mary J. Blige.

There really isn't a lot to her performance. She has some very good emoting and knowing very little about her music or public persona, I can tell you, Blige certainly disappeared into her role (I guess?). I just felt as if there were no moments when she stood out. She hit her mark and she looked worried, sad, happy when she needed to look those ways. I don't think the fact that she wore sunglasses nearly the entire film helped either as they were a character choice which gave up on a sighted actor's greatest weapon for evoking an emotional response.

So, now that I have an open space, here is who I will add to the list.

  • Betty Gabriel - Get Out

Here is what the list looks like with my addition.

  • Betty Gabriel - Get Out

  • Allison Janney - I, Tonya

  • Lesley Manville - Phantom Thread

  • Laurie Metcalf - Lady Bird

  • Octavia Spencer - The Shape of Water

Now, you've read all of the extra fluff, the anticipation is killing you and you have to figure out how this tie is going to work. It's definitely split three ways, right? Short answer, no.

You were definitely right at the beginning when I first mentioned a tie. Your initial thought is correct. I have Allison Janney and Laurie Metcalf as my winners. As for the third woman in my fabulous performance triumvirate, you will be left in the dark as I love being withholding.

I'll start with Allison Janney and remind you I love a great villain. Janney is the most ruthless, cruelest and least likable she can be as LaVona, who has no need to be liked. She only has a need for bettering her own circumstances. Her maternal instinct only goes as far as having a child was supposed to be a way for that child to earn her her living.

The best scene that can encapsulate this callousness is as LaVona comes to her daughter, Tonya, when the news has broken that Tonya may be involved with injuring Nancy Kerrigan, her skating rival. LaVona pours on the sympathy and actually becomes a bit of a doting mother. As she acts her heart out, there's a turn, a simple turn when she makes a mistake and her incredible selfishness is revealed again. She stops her tape recorder as Tonya forces her out of the house.

That turn, that trick, that survival mode that she employs its so devious and Janney plays it so deftly and completely.

Laurie Metcalf as Marion on the other hand, is deceptive, withholding and sometimes cruel because she loves her daughter. She knows she can't afford all of the luxuries her daughter wants and she can't make her see that her dreams may remain locked in her head, so she yanks her back down to earth.

This kind of tough love can seem cruel and unloving, but we can see on Metcalf's face the struggle she has with letting Lady Bird off the chain and into the wild blue yonder because she knows Lady Bird will fail and will struggle, not because she's not good enough, but because that's a part of life.

My favorite scene is when Marion and Larry drop Lady Bird off at the airport to go to college in New York. Metcalf plays it cool in the car and lets Larry and Lady Bird out, but as soon as she pulls away eighteen years of the tough routine is shed as she weeps to herself. She weeps for many things, but I think the most present in that scene is that she won't be able to protect Lady Bird any more. She won't be able to pull that chain back down to earth and she has to watch Lady Bird struggle from afar, helpless.

Both Laurie Metcalf and Allison Janney are my picks for this category because they are simply the best and to really choose between them would be to say that one performance is less than the other when in this case it is not.

All right, it looks like they’ve started the music. That wraps us up for this week. So, between now and next time you can find me on Twitter @zyoungs108, you can like my Facebook page @zachyoungswrites, and visit the links on this site to where you can buy my self-published works.

Recent Posts
Archive

© 2016 by Morgan Youngs Proudly created with Wix.com