The Oscar Quest: My Oscar Nominations — Best Supporting Actress (1990-2011)

This is part of a series of articles where I’m putting forth my opinions about what I’d nominate in all of the Oscar Quest categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress). Normally I take the categories as they are, but I thought it would be fun to figure out what I’d vote for if I had a ballot each year. Keep in mind, this is only for NOMINATIONS and nothing else.

My only problem with this is that I knew if I did it, too many people, were they doing the same thing, would put on movies that just didn’t belong on an Oscar ballot. (I would too, in some cases. We just like what we like.) My problem was that people would take this exercise as an opportunity to really just go off the rails with stuff (which, if you read through all these articles, you’ll see me call people out for it, since I know exactly which films and which performances people would put on). So my way around this was by creating what I call a “Compromise List” — after I tell you what was actually nominated and what I’d put on my ballot, I’m making a list whereby I try to make everyone happy and keep it mostly close to what would be there, Academy-wise. You’ll see. My lists usually end up being better and not crazy.

The things to take into account with the performance categories — I can only nominate what I’ve seen. So me not seeing something will be a big reason why some stuff doesn’t appear. And, as always, I tell people not to bother me with one random person in one random category, since I have everything to think about. If you want to say something, wait until you’ve seen all the films/tried this yourself before you do it. And I don’t care about foreign performances, for the most part. There’s a long and complicated answer there, but — I don’t. And the big rule for anyone doing this — if someone won a category, YOU CAN’T LEAVE THEM OFF THE COMPROMISE LIST. Can’t do it.

Otherwise — here’s the next set of categories.


Actual Nominees:

  • Berenice Bejo, The Artist
  • Jessica Chastain, The Help
  • Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
  • Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
  • Octavia Spencer, The Help

My Vote: Jessica Chastain, The Help

This is fresh, so we all know how I feel about this one.

My Nominees:

  • Berenice Bejo, The Artist
  • Jessica Chastain, The Help
  • Carey Mulligan, Shame
  • Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
  • Octavia Spencer, The Help

My Vote: Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

I know I can’t get both, so — honestly, give me Shailene and I’ll give you McCarthy, personal feelings aside. But I still say it’s one of the worst Oscar nominations of all time. I still say Shailene got fucking hosed out of a nomination there. No one remembers the McTeer nomination now, let alone in ten years.

Compromise List:

  • Berenice Bejo, The Artist
  • Jessica Chastain, The Help
  • Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
  • Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
  • Octavia Spencer, The Help

My Vote: Shailene Woodley, The Descendants


Actual Nominees:

  • Amy Adams, The Fighter
  • Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
  • Melissa Leo, The Fighter
  • Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
  • Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit

My Vote: Melissa Leo, The Fighter

The category was perfect. I just have Hailee Steinfeld as a lead. Otherwise, leave it the same, because it’s one of the best of all time. (Apologies to Olivia Williams in The Ghost Writer. We ran out of space.)

Compromise List:

  • Amy Adams, The Fighter
  • Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
  • Melissa Leo, The Fighter
  • Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
  • Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit

My Vote: Melissa Leo, The Fighter


Actual Nominees:

  • Penelope Cruz, Nine
  • Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart
  • Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
  • Mo’Nique, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire

My Vote: Mo’Nique, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire

Diane Kruger got a SAG nomination for Basterds, but I don’t know if even I would want to nominate that performance past the, “I love that movie” feeling. Otherwise, I don’t see anything wrong with the category. Maggie Gyllenhaal is a weak nominee, but whatever. They almost nominated her a bunch of times, and I’d rather her pull up the rear in this category than fuck up another one. I got nothing else, on top of it. It was either her or a double nominee for Nine with Marion Cotillard getting on there.

Compromise List:

  • Penelope Cruz, Nine
  • Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart
  • Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
  • Mo’Nique, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire

My Vote: Mo’Nique, Precious


Actual Nominees:

  • Amy Adams, Doubt
  • Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  • Viola Davis, Doubt
  • Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler

My Vote: Amy Adams, Doubt

I like it. Wouldn’t change a thing.

Compromise List:

  • Amy Adams, Doubt
  • Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  • Viola Davis, Doubt
  • Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler

My Vote: Amy Adams, Doubt


Actual Nominees:

  • Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There
  • Ruby Dee, American Gangster
  • Saoirse Ronan, Atonement
  • Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
  • Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton

My Vote: Saoirse Ronan, Atonement

Can’t change anything here. Man, is it good. (Sorry, Kelly Macdonald in No Country for Old Men.)

Compromise List:

  • Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There
  • Ruby Dee, American Gangster
  • Saoirse Ronan, Atonement
  • Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
  • Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton

My Vote: Saoirse Ronan, Atonement


Actual Nominees:

  • Adriana Barraza, Babel
  • Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal
  • Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine
  • Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
  • Rinko Kikuchi, Babel

My Vote: Adriana Barraza, Babel

A lot of people go Emily Blunt for Devil Wears Prada here… No. Just getting that out of the way. I’d rather double up on Sunshine and put on Toni Collette.

But honestly, the one person who I feel got fucked over, especially in a category as weak as this — Vera Farmiga. She’s great in The Departed, and she constantly delivers the goods. I’d personally take off Cate Blanchett for her, since I can’t, for the life of me, see what she did in that movie that necessitated a nomination. So I’m making that change. Honestly, I don’t think anyone even cares about that movie enough for it to matter.

Compromise List:

  • Adriana Barraza, Babel
  • Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine
  • Vera Farmiga, The Departed
  • Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
  • Rinko Kikuchi, Babel

My Vote: Vera Farmiga, The Departed



Actual Nominees:

  • Amy Adams, Junebug
  • Catherine Keener, Capote
  • Frances McDormand, North Country
  • Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener
  • Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain

My Vote: Amy Adams, Junebug

The only person you can think about swapping on is Maria Bello for History of Violence. I don’t see it (I see it in 2006, but not in this category), but I guess you could. Problem is — who comes off? Williams and Weisz go nowhere, Amy Adams was astounding and stole her movie (the epitome of this category), and Frances McDormand played a woman with ALS and Catherine Keener was Harper Lee. Keener is the obvious cast off, so if you want to do it, be my guest. I won’t.

Compromise List:

  • Amy Adams, Junebug
  • Catherine Keener, Capote
  • Frances McDormand, North Country
  • Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener
  • Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain

My Vote: Amy Adams, Junebug


Actual Nominees:

  • Cate Blanchett, The Aviator
  • Laura Linney, Kinsey
  • Virginia Madsen, Sideways
  • Sophie Okonedo, Hotel Rwanda
  • Natalie Portman, Closer

My Vote: Cate Blanchett, The Aviator

Margo Martindale was pretty terrific in Million Dollar Baby, but you can’t swap her for anyone on this list. Honestly, I’m just leaving it. You can’t change anything.

Compromise List:

  • Cate Blanchett, The Aviator
  • Laura Linney, Kinsey
  • Virginia Madsen, Sideways
  • Sophie Okonedo, Hotel Rwanda
  • Natalie Portman, Closer

My Vote: Cate Blanchett, The Aviator


Actual Nominees:

  • Shohreh Aghdashloo, House of Sand and Fog
  • Patricia Clarkson, Pieces of April
  • Marcia Gay Harden, Mystic River
  • Holly Hunter, Thirteen
  • Renée Zellweger, Cold Mountain

My Vote: Shohreh Aghdashloo, House of Sand and Fog

I hate this category so much, but… what can you do? This year blew. Alison Lohman was great in Matchstick Men, but you can’t nominate that. I wasn’t blown away by Christina Ricci in Monster, so I wouldn’t nominate that. Obviously people love American Splendor – never gonna happen. Don’t bother me with that.

This year was pretty bad. I’m leaving it because there really isn’t anything. It’s all male-centric stuff. The best you’re gonna get out of me is Maria Bello in The Cooler. And you know what? Since I like that movie and think the Patricia Clarkson nomination is a joke, I’m changing it. Because it’s not like anyone really gives a shit about that nomination. Plus it makes me not putting her on in 2005 balance out.

Compromise List:

  • Shohreh Aghdashloo, House of Sand and Fog
  • Maria Bello, The Cooler
  • Marcia Gay Harden, Mystic River
  • Holly Hunter, Thirteen
  • Renée Zellweger, Cold Mountain

My Vote: Shohreh Aghdashloo, House of Sand and Fog


Actual Nominees:

  • Kathy Bates, About Schmidt
  • Julianne Moore, The Hours
  • Queen Latifah, Chicago
  • Meryl Streep, Adaptation
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chicago

My Vote: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chicago

Can’t change shit, here. I’d personally take off Queen Latifah, but I’m not one to quibble. Leave it. What the fuck do I care?

Compromise List:

  • Kathy Bates, About Schmidt
  • Julianne Moore, The Hours
  • Queen Latifah, Chicago
  • Meryl Streep, Adaptation
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chicago

My Vote: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chicago


Actual Nominees:

  • Jennifer Connelly, A Beautiful Mind
  • Helen Mirren, Gosford Park
  • Maggie Smith, Gosford Park
  • Marisa Tomei, In the Bedroom
  • Kate Winslet, Iris

My Vote: Jennifer Connelly, A Beautiful Mind

Dakota Fanning was pretty terrific in I Am Sam. But who goes off? No one. Winslet’s the only removable choice. And you know what? Fuck it. Fuck it. What do I care? I’m changing it. Kate didn’t get a SAG nomination. Dakota did. That’s my rationalization. My other rationalization? IT DOESN’T MATTER.

Compromise List:

  • Jennifer Connelly, A Beautiful Mind
  • Dakota Fanning, I Am Sam
  • Helen Mirren, Gosford Park
  • Maggie Smith, Gosford Park
  • Marisa Tomei, In the Bedroom

My Vote: Jennifer Connelly, A Beautiful Mind


Actual Nominees:

  • Judi Dench, Chocolat
  • Marcia Gay Harden, Pollock
  • Kate Hudson, Almost Famous
  • Frances McDormand, Almost Famous
  • Julie Walters, Billy Elliott

My Vote: Kate Hudson, Almost Famous

Nobody’s really removable here. Harden should be (and I don’t know how the fuck she won), but she won, so I can’t do anything about it. I’d want to remove Walters, but all the precursors are there.

Compromise List:

  • Judi Dench, Chocolat
  • Marcia Gay Harden, Pollock
  • Kate Hudson, Almost Famous
  • Frances McDormand, Almost Famous
  • Julie Walters, Billy Elliott

My Vote: Kate Hudson, Almost Famous


Actual Nominees:

  • Toni Collette, The Sixth Sense
  • Angelina Jolie, Girl, Interrupted
  • Catherine Keener, Being John Malkovich
  • Samantha Morton, Sweet and Lowdown
  • Chloe Sevigny, Boys Don’t Cry

My Vote: Samantha Morton, Sweet and Lowdown

Collette’s the only movable piece here, probably. (Cameron Diaz got a SAG nomination for Malkovich, but to me, that’s a joke.)

Julianne Moore got a SAG nomination for Magnolia. I guess you could say her, but I like Toni Collette, and I feel like she rarely gets any recognition for her work. Plus, I like that Sixth Sense got a bunch of nominations, since I’m not sold that it should have, but at least I can point to, “Well, they went all the way through with it,” and it makes me feel less bad about it. So I’m leaving it.

(P.S. If you think for a second either Reese Witherspoon for Election or Helena Bonham Carter for Fight Club get on this list, you’re delusional.)

Compromise List:

  • Toni Collette, The Sixth Sense
  • Angelina Jolie, Girl, Interrupted
  • Catherine Keener, Being John Malkovich
  • Samantha Morton, Sweet and Lowdown
  • Chloe Sevigny, Boys Don’t Cry

My Vote: Samantha Morton, Sweet and Lowdown


Actual Nominees:

  • Kathy Bates, Primary Colors
  • Brenda Blethyn, Little Voice
  • Judi Dench, Shakespeare in Love
  • Rachel Griffiths, Hilary and Jackie
  • Lynn Redgrave, Gods and Monsters

My Vote: Judi Dench, Shakespeare in Love

I got nothing.

Compromise List:

  • Kathy Bates, Primary Colors
  • Brenda Blethyn, Little Voice
  • Judi Dench, Shakespeare in Love
  • Rachel Griffiths, Hilary and Jackie
  • Lynn Redgrave, Gods and Monsters

My Vote: Judi Dench, Shakespeare in Love


Actual Nominees:

  • Kim Basinger, L.A. Confidential
  • Joan Cusack, In & Out
  • Minnie Driver, Good Will Hunting
  • Julianne Moore, Boogie Nights
  • Gloria Stuart, Titanic

My Vote: Joan Cusack, In & Out

Got nothing, based on what I’ve seen (I imagine Lolita might have a performance in there worth looking at). Not a hug fan, as I always say, of The Sweet Hereafter, so I’m not going near Sarah Polley. Plus there’s no one that I’d want to take off here. So it’s better just to leave it.

(P.S. I’ve never seen The Ice Storm, so I can’t comment on Sigourney Weaver.)

Compromise List:

  • Kim Basinger, L.A. Confidential
  • Joan Cusack, In & Out
  • Minnie Driver, Good Will Hunting
  • Julianne Moore, Boogie Nights
  • Gloria Stuart, Titanic

My Vote: Joan Cusack, In & Out


Actual Nominees:

  • Joan Allen, The Crucible
  • Lauren Bacall, The Mirror Has Two Faces
  • Juliette Binoche, The English Patient
  • Barbara Hershey, The Portrait of a Lady
  • Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Secrets & Lies

My Vote: Juliette Binoche, The English Patient

Awful year, but what can we change? Who do we have instead? Renée Zellweger is the lead of Jerry Maguire, but maybe one could squeeze her here. But why? What does it add to the category?

Courtney Love in People vs. Larry Flynt? Globes put her lead, all the critics groups put her Supporting. A case could be made for her. I wouldn’t be against it, but who does one take off? (Honestly, it can be any of them.) Until we figure that out, I’m leaving this.

  • Joan Allen, The Crucible
  • Lauren Bacall, The Mirror Has Two Faces
  • Juliette Binoche, The English Patient
  • Barbara Hershey, The Portrait of a Lady
  • Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Secrets & Lies

My Vote: Juliette Binoche, The English Patient


Actual Nominees:

  • Joan Allen, Nixon
  • Kathleen Quinlan, Apollo 13
  • Mira Sorvino, Mighty Aprhodite
  • Mare Winningham, Georgia
  • Kate Winslet, Sense and Sensibility

My Vote: Mira Sorvino, Mighty Aprhodite

Got nothing.

Compromise List:

  • Joan Allen, Nixon
  • Kathleen Quinlan, Apollo 13
  • Mira Sorvino, Mighty Aprhodite
  • Mare Winningham, Georgia
  • Kate Winslet, Sense and Sensibility

My Vote: Mira Sorvino, Mighty Aprhodite


Actual Nominees:

  • Rosemary Harris, Tom & Viv
  • Helen Mirren, The Madness of King George
  • Uma Thurman, Pulp Fiction
  • Jennifer Tilly, Bullets Over Broadway
  • Dianne Wiest, Bullets Over Broadway

My Vote: Jennifer Tilly, Bullets Over Broadway

I feel like, despite me not loving either Tom & Viv or Madness of King George, putting either Sally Field or Robin Wright on here for Gump dilutes the category. (But Wright is the choice if that’s the way you want to go.)

We’d all love to put Natalie Portman on here for The Professional, but that never happens, so why bother?

Leaving it.

Compromise List:

  • Rosemary Harris, Tom & Viv
  • Helen Mirren, The Madness of King George
  • Uma Thurman, Pulp Fiction
  • Jennifer Tilly, Bullets Over Broadway
  • Dianne Wiest, Bullets Over Broadway

My Vote: Jennifer Tilly, Bullets Over Broadway


Actual Nominees:

  • Holly Hunter, The Firm
  • Anna Paquin, The Piano
  • Rosie Perez, Fearless
  • Winona Ryder, The Age of Innocence
  • Emma Thompson, In the Name of the Father

My Vote: Winona Ryder, The Age of Innocence

This is a strong category. I don’t want to touch it at all.

Compromise List:

  • Holly Hunter, The Firm
  • Anna Paquin, The Piano
  • Rosie Perez, Fearless
  • Winona Ryder, The Age of Innocence
  • Emma Thompson, In the Name of the Father

My Vote: Winona Ryder, The Age of Innocence


Actual Nominees:

  • Judy Davis, Husbands and Wives
  • Joan Plowright, Enchanted April
  • Vanessa Redgrave, Howards End
  • Miranda Richardson, Damage
  • Marisa Tomei, My Cousin Vinny

My Vote: Marisa Tomei, My Cousin Vinny

Miranda Richardson was also in The Crying Game. Maybe that’s a better performance to nominate? I don’t really care for either, so whatever.

Geraldine Chaplin got nominated for a Globe for Chaplin. I forget her performance. If I see it again and like it, I’m totally gonna try to get her on.

Otherwise, who the hell are you gonna put on? I’d love to put on someone from A League of Their Own, because I love that movie, but none of the performances are particularly strong (in terms of Oscars). I’d only be doing it to make the category more interesting.

Alfre Woodard in Passion Fish? I don’t remember the performance, but it’s certainly more interesting than what’s there.

This category needs so much work that I’m going to leave it for now and come back to it later when I have all the proper equipment. Like, you know when you call the city because there’s a big fucking hole in the middle of your street and they send the one little crew to look at it and they go, “Holy fuck, that’s not a patch job,” and then they leave a cone there and are just like, “We’ll be back when we can get eight guys and a shitload of tar and can shut down the street for eight hours.” That’s what this category’s going to be. I’ll just put the cone there to be like, “There’s a work order and we will get to it.”

Compromise List:

  • Judy Davis, Husbands and Wives
  • Joan Plowright, Enchanted April
  • Vanessa Redgrave, Howards End
  • Miranda Richardson, Damages
  • Marisa Tomei, My Cousin Vinny

My Vote: Marisa Tomei, My Cousin Vinny


Actual Nominees:

  • Dianne Ladd, Rambling Rose
  • Juliette Lewis, Cape Fear
  • Kate Nelligan, The Prince of Tides
  • Mercedes Ruehl, The Fisher King
  • Jessica Tandy, Fried Green Tomatoes

My Vote: Mercedes Ruehl, The Fisher King

This category is terrible, and guess what? It’s because the year isn’t very good. Nelligan shouldn’t be here, but the rest of them work, for the most part. But honestly I don’t have anyone else, so I’m leaving it and am trying not to think about how bad it is.

Compromise List:

  • Dianne Ladd, Rambling Rose
  • Juliette Lewis, Cape Fear
  • Kate Nelligan, The Prince of Tides
  • Mercedes Ruehl, The Fisher King
  • Jessica Tandy, Fried Green Tomatoes

My Vote: Mercedes Ruehl, The Fisher King


Actual Nominees:

  • Annette Bening, The Grifters
  • Lorraine Bracco, Goodfellas
  • Whoopi Goldberg, Ghost
  • Diane Ladd, Wild at Heart
  • Mary McDonnell, Dances with Wolves

My Vote: Lorraine Bracco, Goodfellas

The two possible alternates I came up with here were Glenn Close in Reversal of Fortune and Shirley MacLaine in Postcards from the Edge.

But you can’t change this category. It’s really strong. I feel like McDonnell was getting on no matter what, and she’s the weak link, so when that’s the case, just move on.

Compromise List:

  • Annette Bening, The Grifters
  • Lorraine Bracco, Goodfellas
  • Whoopi Goldberg, Ghost
  • Diane Ladd, Wild at Heart
  • Mary McDonnell, Dances with Wolves

My Vote: Lorraine Bracco, Goodfellas

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