|"I like my life."|
In short, I have no idea. But I'm sticking to my guns.
In truth, I was never sure who would prevail in this year's supporting actress race. Leo seemed like a safe enough bet, but once I saw the performance, I was underwhelmed. Yes, good Oscarology never has anything to do with your personal opinion, but it's difficult to really feel for a performance's chances that you never quite understood. So no, Leo didn't really do anything for me in The Fighter, but Adams sure did.
She was by far my favorite part of the film, and probably my bronze medalist for my personal Best Supporting Actress race (got to get around to updating that--so many snap judgments and favorites I was unwilling to drop that I would probably switch my winner and runner-up in the same race, meaning Marion Cotillard would be the proud (?) owner of an Awkward). Upon repeat viewings of her big "Oscar scene," which I will subtitle 'I Like My Life,' I've grown to truly appreciate the quiet fury she brought to the performance, the layers of depth she gave the simple bar girl known as Charlene. She was more than just a supportive spouse--she was truly the light in Mickey Ward's life.
But what am I saying? My personal opinion is of no relevance here. Why do I stick with Adams to win Best Supporting Actress despite the fact that she has not picked up one major precursor prize? If I think the "Consider... Melissa Leo" PR hiccup was so disastrous, why not have Steinfeld or Bonham Carter as the recipient of the fallout's riches?
Well, if I had to formulate a complete theory, it would be broken up into three parts: the Marcia Gay Harden effect, the 3-in-5 effect, and the No Sweeps effect.
Marcia Gay Harden effect
|The surprise win by Marcia Gay Harden.|
Getting nominated for three Oscars in five years and not even coming close to winning is very difficult to do. George Clooney won his Oscar for Syriana in 2005, then got nominated in 2007 and 2009 for Michael Clayton and Up in the Air, respectively. Phillip Seymour Hoffman won his Oscar the same year Clooney won his for Capote, then was nominated again in 2007 and 2008 for Charlie Wilson's War and Doubt. Penelope Cruz was first nominated for Volver in 2006, then won two years later for Vicky Cristina Barcelona. She snagged a surprise nomination the following year for Nine. (Conversely, Meryl Streep has been nominated thrice in five years for The Devil Wears Prada in 2006, Doubt in 2008 and Julie & Julia in 2009 without winning once, but she came very close each time.) The idea that Adams is going to place third or fourth again (her performance in Junebug likely ran behind both winner Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams, while her peformance in Doubt ran behind her co-star Viola Davis and winner Cruz, as well as The Wrestler's Marisa Tomei) is a little hard to swallow. The Academy's love for her is growing, not staying static. I can't see her not at least coming close this time.
No Sweeps effect
This isn't going to be a year when one film sweeps everything--the biggest haul I'm expecting is six wins for The King's Speech, and that's a haul that does not include either supporting acting race. I'm not expecting any major haul for True Grit, either--I'm betting Cinematography is going to be their consolation prize. Sure, it's possible that The King's Speech could take every major prize in sight, but most are betting they'll miss Sound Mixing, Editing, Cinematography, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress, and I'm betting it'll miss Director on top of that. Since it's safe to assume it won't sweep everything, the assumption that Bonham Carter will win on the coattails of the film is irrational. Same for True Grit: the Academy does really like it, but I'm not sure it will love it. Steinfeld, Bonham Carter, and the too-unknown Weaver are all bad bets. Assuming that the For Your Consideration scandal is as damaging as I think it will be to Leo, I think Adams is going to be the beneficiary.
Now, you could poke major holes in my theory. No movie with two supporting actress nominees has won for either performance in the past few years (Up in the Air and Doubt are the two most recent examples) and the utter lack of traction for Adams' campaign is disheartening. Even more than that, there have been women who have been nominated more (and just as quickly) without winning: Glenn Close and Kate Winslet are the two most obvious examples. So Adams could still lose. And she probably will.
But I have a strange confidence in her chances. It's a dynamite performance and one I'm not sure the Academy will be able to ignore. I hope for the best.