Sally Hawkins Blue Jasmine
The majority have been praising Blue Jasmine, however, I am in the minority. A movie about despicable people, Blue Jasmine made me want to take a shower after watching it. But the acting in the film is top notch; I can respect the acting even if I do not like the actual characters. While Sally Hawkins is good, her portrayal of Ginger is nothing special; the viewer cares about her character, but it is not the performance that people will remember. With that said, this is her first nomination and she has deserved nominations in past years.
Jennifer Lawrence American Hustle
While American Hustle has fallen off the ‘awards radar,’ Jennifer Lawrence still remains in the spotlight. Her scene stealing portrayal of Irving’s alcoholic wife is nothing short of extraordinary. Yes, some people call her role ‘Oscar bait,’ but Lawrence plays unstable well. Last year, she won an Oscar for her unstable role in Silver Linings Playbook; in my opinion, that film and her performance are overrated. My biggest problem with her in Silver Linings Playbook is that I could not look past her off screen charisma; this is not the case in America Hustle. Yes, Lawrence is one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, but she truly loses herself in what could have been a one-note character.
Lupita Nyong’o 12 Years a Slave
The seventh time in the last decade that an actor or actress has been nominated for their first acting gig; Lupita Nyong’o deserves all the praise that she has been getting. Like Lawrence, when Lupita is on screen she steals the attention, however, Lupita’s character is marred by pain and torment. I would not call her performance one-note, but she perfectly portrays the idea of despair and nothing else. That is what the role calls for and she plays it perfectly, however, this makes her performance just adequate. She deserves to be nominated because her nomination, at the least, is an important recognition of a taboo topic.
Julia Roberts August: Osage County
For once, Julia Roberts gets nominated for a movie she deserves to be nominated for. Yes, besides the powerhouses of Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o, the supporting actress category is weak. But Julia Roberts truly stands out; I did not expect to like her or August: Osage County as much as I did. While I understand the appeal of Roberts, I was never the biggest fan; yet she gives an amazing performance as the domineering Weston sister. In a movie that could have been overly melodramatic, she gives the audience a powerful yet grounded character.
June Squibb Nebraska
A true surprise this season, June Squibb gives a hilarious performance as the loud mouth matriarch. She is only in a small portion of the film, but her sheer hilarity results in Kate Grant being one of the most memorable characters of 2013. My only gripe with her performance is that she seems stiff in the first act of the movie; it feels like she does not get comfortable until well into the film. With that said, once she is comfortable June Squibb relishes in what could have been an over the top character. Instead she gives just enough charm to keep Kate Grant grounded.
As of right now, this race is a ‘toss up’ between Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o. While Lawrence was the clear favorite a short time ago, Lupita has gained ground and has made this category interesting. However, I said it last year and I will say it now; I believe that Jennifer Lawrence delivered the best supporting performance in 2013. If Lupita wins it will not be shocking; but in my opinion, Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle delivers a more three dimensional character.