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Our 2023 Oscars Predictions: Best Supporting Actress

Just yesterday, we talked about the one sure thing in this year’s acting categories, and since it’s out of the way, it’s now time to get to the first of the remaining three, each of which has a frontrunner who could actually win, but who might not – and in each case, there would be no surprise at all if they didn’t. As mentioned yesterday, I can’t remember an Oscar season that had so many races that were up in the air this close to the Oscar ceremony.

The Best Supporting Actress category has had a favorite for most of the Oscar season, but I have never quite been able to figure out exactly why. We’ll get to all that, but before we do, let’s list the nominees.

They are Angela Bassett for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Hong Chau for The Whale, Kerry Condon for The Banshees of Inisherin, and Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu for Everything Everywhere All at Once.

First things first, the one actress who is absolutely and positively not going to win this one is Hong Chau. She is wonderful in The Whale opposite Brendan Fraser, just as she is also very strong in The Menu, but just like Brian Tyree Henry in the Supporting Actor category, this nomination is her reward.

That leaves four. Of them, I think Hsu is the longest shot, though she seems to have nearly as many fans as her costar, Curtis, who of course is beloved in Hollywood and seems to be enjoying her awards moment as much as anyone ever has in the history of all awards. Her speech at the SAG awards last week was everything one would expect from someone who has been around as long and done as much as she has, including the hilarious nepo baby bit. Hsu’s work in EEAAO is not as flashy as Curtis’, and I think because of that her candidacy suffers. The Academy, as I have mentioned in previous installments in this ongoing series, has a tendency to reward larger, flashier performances over quieter, more thoughtful ones. Taking nothing away from what Curtis does — I actually love her work in the movie — Hsu’s performance is definitely in the latter category. Normally, when forced to choose between the two, I side with the latter because it tends to be more difficult to pull off, though this year, I’m firmly Team Jamie Lee.

That said, it’s impossible to ignore the favorite, Bassett, and the woman most likely to upset her, Condon. Condon’s work in Banshees is transcendent, the one strong female role in a very masculine movie. She not only holds her own against three other nominees — Best Actor nominee Colin Farrell, and Best Supporting Actor nominees Brendan Gleeson and Barry Keoghan — she actually steals the movie from them whenever she’s on screen. That’s really saying something. As much as I love Jamie Lee, it’s really hard for me to argue against Kerry.

Which brings us to Angela, who is not only a very talented actress but, when I interviewed her at the 1995 premiere of Strange Days, was also without question the best smelling person I’ve ever met. Still is. Thus, I always carry a real soft spot in my heart for her.

And yet, I was not knocked out by what she did in the Black Panther sequel. She was good, sure, that’s a given. But Oscar-worthy? Ehhhh, I don’t see it. Comparing her favorably to any of the other women in this category feels very weird to me, as if a lot of people are seeing something I’m not. I like to think I can recognize greatness when I see it. I felt that watching Condon and Curtis and Hsu. When I look at Bassett in Wakanda, though, what I feel is not greatness, but rather very very goodness. I don’t think that’s awards-worthy, but it would appear that I am vastly outnumbered by an opposing opinion.

WHO SHOULD WIN: Jamie Lee Curtis, by a hair over Kerry Condon
WHO WILL WIN: Angela Bassett

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