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2017 Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actress

This race is "Fences" star Viola Davis's to lose. (Updated 2/22/2017.)

"Manchester By The Sea"

“Manchester By The Sea”


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New York Film Critics Circle winner Michelle Williams once seemed a sure shot to win for her powerful supporting role as a young wife in Kenneth Lonergan’s tragedy “Manchester by the Sea.” While she doesn’t have much screen time, she landed her fourth nomination for one pivotal heart-breaking scene in which she attempts a reconciliation with her ex-husband (Casey Affleck).

She might have stayed the frontrunner if Paramount hadn’t placed “Fences” Tony-winner Viola Davis in the Supporting Actress race instead of the more crowded Best Actress field. She kills it, and gives Williams serious competition. Both landed Critics Choice, Globe, SAG and BAFTA Award nominations, but Davis took home Critics Choice, Globe, SAG and BAFTA wins.

Denzel Washington and Viola Davis at the LA Guild Screening of “Fences” at the Regency Village Theatre.

Alex J. Berliner / ABImages

Breaking out at the fall festivals was National Board of Review winner Naomie Harris as the crack addict mother in Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight,” and Nicole Kidman as Dev Patel’s nurturing adoptive Australian mother in Garth Davis'”Lion.” Harris and Kidman both scored Critics Choice, Globe and SAG nods.

Emerging with an Best Ensemble win for “Hidden Figures” at the National Board of Review and SAG were Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe as NASA mathematicians; Spencer nabbed Globe and SAG nominations. The movie is surging at the box office ($145 million domestic so far). If she hadn’t already won Best Supporting Actress for “The Help” in 2011 (when Davis was a Best Actress nominee), Spencer would be giving her a run for the Oscar now.

Contenders (in order of likelihood to be nominated):

1. Viola Davis (“Fences”)
2. Octavia Spencer (“Hidden Figures”)
3. Michelle Williams (“Manchester By the Sea”)
4. Nicole Kidman (“Lion”)
5. Naomie Harris (“Moonlight”)

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I love you Anne but you predict The Light Between Oceans in everything but supporting actress, the only category it actually has some shot?

    steven s

    Annie: yes, i think Rachel Weisz stiil had a chance to win Best Supporting Actress, cause of her dramatic role as Hannah Rosenfeldt. or, I think Keira Knightley and Helen Mirren in Collateral Beauty.


I can imagine: Felicity Jones in A Monster Calls, Shailene Woodley in Snowden, Isla Fisher in Nocturnal Animals, Gugu Mbatha-Raw or Alison Pill in Miss Sloane, Lupita Nyong’o in Queen of Katwe, Jena Malone in The Neon Demon, Sarah Gadon in Indignation, Chloe Sevigny in Love & Friendship, Greta Gerwig in Jackie, Jennifer Jason Leigh in LBJ, Laura Dern in The Founder, Golshifteh Farahani in Paterson, Naomi Watts in The Book of Henry, Brie Larson in Free Fire, Kate Winslet in Collateral Beauty, Laura Linney in Sully


I think the major omissions here are Kirsten Dunst (sublime in Midnight Special) and Molly Shannon (Other People). Those two are actually VERY strong contenders because they got spectacular reviews and Dunst is on a roll nowadays in terms of critical reviews.

On a slightly more long-shot note, I’d love to see some love for Jena Malone (The Neon Demon) and Sarah Gadon (Indignation).


Having seen an advance screening of The Birth of a Nation, I don’t see Aja Naomi King happening. Or Helen Mirren. Kirsten Dunst should be a shoo-in for this conversation. Just because a movie comes out early in the year doesn’t mean it should be excluded. That’s ridiculous.


    It’s not so much ridiculous as it is unlikely due to precedent. Films released earlier in the year generally have a much harder time extending their hype into the winter (even with screeners) unless the film is remarkably lucky – and such luck is an exception. Midnight Special, arguably, had momentum for just a few weeks, unfortunately, and not much commercial longevity. Just the way things work.


If you haven’t seen the movie Indignation, check it out solely for the beautiful work by Linda Emond. She owns that movie with just a couple of scenes. In a just world, she would be getting a nod this year.


    I agree absolutely!


After Billy Lynn’s horrendous debut at the NYFF (I think it’s at 44 on RT), any hopes Kristen Stewart had for a nomination went up in smoke. She’s only in the film briefly and does nothing so extraordinary as to garner her a nomination from any group giving out awards. Her PR team will keep shoving her down everyone’s throat, but I don’t see Sony wasting money on anything other than technical awards. Personal Shopper is being dumped next year, it’s not Oscar material, and Cafe Society wasn’t big enough at the box office or with the critics to earn her a nomination for that, either. No Oscar campaigns for her this year or next. I predict the endless puff pieces will go on, though. She has to do something to remind the general public that she exists.


Please take a close look at this newcomer-the28 year old HALEY SQUIES, who played KATIE, in the the indie film I, DANIEL BLAKE. Haley delivered a masterful performance along with the lead actor,DAVE JOHNS.
the movie took the top award at PALME D’OR and best Director trophy for KEN LOACH.
brilliant and masterful performance


I agree absolutely!


How is Molly Shannon not included on this list? At least as a Contender. Her amazing work in Other People is drawing huge critical praise.


    I agree entirely. Just finished watching Other People and Molly Shannon had me in hysterics and tears. If she doesn’t at least get nominated, then it is a travesty.


I think Lily Gladstone should be considered at least a long-shot after her win at LAFCA and nomination for the Independent Spirit Award.

James M.

I think Davis is in danger here. I read a comment on another board that her perceived position that she deserves to win is turning some industry people off, and I had to stop for a second and think before I realized that she DOES come across with a little bit of an attitude.

    mem ekley

    “She DOES come across with a little bit of an attitude” when and how so?
    I agree she should have been enominated in the Best Actress category and Paramount decided to enter her in the Best Supporting category. She is great everything. I saw her conversation with James Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio. She discussed why she played her dramatic scene with Denzel Washington as she did. She was going to play the scene small because in film the audience is closer but her director said play it big.


*Janelle Monae


where the hell is molly shannon on this list? one of the best performances of the year! honestly that just shows that if you don`t have a huge pr team that pays people to write about you and put you on lists and give you a fake hype even if you don`t deserve it, you have no chance. i mean sorry but michelle williams was really not that great in MBTS and she also is barely in the movie and still here she is. i saw lists with lily collins and kristen stewart on them. how? BLLHW was terrible beyond words and stewart had the same whiny face in every of her 3 scenes. collins was mediocre in RDA nothing more. but i guess their pr teams pay a lot…


Viola Davis has clearly the leading role in Fences. I understand, by promoting her in the supporting role, gives the film a better chance to win but dramatically and also, in terms of duration she should be in the leading category.


    This is not the first time it has happened. There is sometimes ‘category fraud at these award shows. Alicia Vindaker and Romey Mara were both clear co leads in their respective films “the Danish Girl” and “Carol”. Catherine Zeta Jones won the Oscar for best supporting actress for “Chicago” but was nominated for lead actress at the Golden Globes awards. In addition, Kate Winslet won the Golden Globe and SAG in the supporting category but won the lead at the Oscars.


      as far as viola davis being in supporting category, it is unfair to Williams in a much smaller role


I think Laura Linney deserves a nomination for her portrayal of Amy Adams mother in a short but brilliant scene in Nocturnal Animals.


    That was amazing.


Julianne Moore? For God shake! Not even as a long shot! Aren’t they got bored from the same performance 30 years now? Recently, they understood it and they put her in Razzie and other awards for worst performances and I couldn’t agree more.

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