Newcomers often have a chance to shine in the Oscar race for Best Supporting Actress (see Alicia Vikander and Lupita Nyong’o). Fresh faces emerged as contenders as the year rolled on. One contender to break out from Sundance was unrecognizable Mary J. Blige, who shines amid the sprawling ensemble in Dee Rees’ acclaimed southern drama “Mudbound” (Netflix); she nabbed Globe, Critics Choice, and SAG nominations as well as nabbing an unprecedented second nod for Best Song.
Steve Dietl / Netflix
At the fall festivals, American theater stalwart Laurie Metcalf won raves as the powerful, critical, loving mother in Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird.” She built momentum with back-to-back wins from the National Board of Review and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association as well as Critics Choice, Globes and SAG nominations. The winner at the Globes, SAG, Critics Choice and BAFTAs, however, was SAG nominee Allison Janney, another TV star who has never earned Oscar recognition, as the hard-driving force behind the rise of skater Tonya Harding in holiday movie “I, Tonya.”
Globe nominee Octavia Spencer protects and gives voice to mute fellow janitor (Sally Hawkins) in Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water”; while coming on strong is BAFTA-nominated Mike Leigh veteran Lesley Manville (“Another Year”) in late-breaking Paul Thomas Anderson drama “Phantom Thread,” who holds her own with Daniel Day-Lewis as her womanizing designer brother.
Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”)
Laurie Metcalf (“Lady Bird”)
Octavia Spencer (“The Shape of Water”)
Mary J. Blige (“Mudbound”)
Lesley Manville (“Phantom Thread”)