It's a well-known fact that by and large the most likely winner of this year's Supporting Actress Oscar is Anne Hathaway. Her rendition of Les Misérables' "I Dream a Dream" has been singled out as the greatest part of the movie by almost every single review I've read. And even if the critics' awards haven't really showered her in awards, she's still believed to be the front-runner.
The women she'll most probably be beating are Sally Field in Lincoln and Helen Hunt in The Sessions, who are pretty much sure-things to be nominated, but will have a hard time beating Hathaway. Actually, anyone who gets nominated in this category will have a hard time beating Hathaway. But that's something we'll talk about once nominations are announced. For now, there's two free spots in the nominee list so which are the ladies that will fill them?
For a long time it seemed like Amy Adams had a very good shot for The Master, she's a beloved actress and she won the L.A. Film Critics Awards, but then she was snubbed by the SAG Awards and that can be a death sentence in this category (think Julianne Moore in A Single Man or Shailene Woodley in The Descendants). The SAG did nominate Maggie Smith in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel though, and that seems like the kind of sassy veteran performance the Academy would go with (Alan Arkin in Little Miss Sushine, Judi Dench in Shakespeare in Love). Talking about british dames, maybe the love for Skyfall is truly big and Judi Dench can get nominated (although I find this possibility largely unlikely). And there's also Ann Dowd, in indie critical hit Compliance, who is financing her own "for your consideration" campaign and has already been nominated for a "Critics Choice Award" and has earned the Supporting Actress Award from the National Board of Review.
All those ladies make sense as nominees, but we are forgetting the biggest surprise in the way this category has shaped up so far: Nicole Kidman's batshit crazy performance in The Paperboy has been nominated by both the Golden Globes and the SAG. It's almost impossible to really believe Kidman could be nominated for a movie in which she pees on Zac Efron, but only two actresses who have been nominated for both awards have not been nominated for the Oscar in the past ten years (Mila Kunis in 2010 and Maria Bello in 2003).
Who Will Be Nominated?: Sally Field (Lincoln), Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables), Helen Hunt (The Sessions), Nicole Kidman (The Paperboy), Maggie Smith (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)
Who Should Be Nominated? Emily Blunt (Looper), Rosemarie DeWitt (Your Sister's Sister), Jennifer Ehle (Zero Dark Thirty), Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables), Nicole Kidman (The Paperboy)