Newcomers often have a chance to shine in the Oscar race for Best Supporting Actress (see Alicia Vikander and Lupita Nyong’o). Fresh faces may emerge as contenders as the year rolls on. This early in the game, we’re keeping an eye on various heavy-hitter scene-stealers in supporting roles.
Two highly anticipated actress-director reunions to watch are Julianne Moore and Todd Haynes and Kirsten Dunst and Sofia Coppola. Moore was nominated for Best Actress the last time she worked with Haynes (“Far From Heaven”), and went on to win for “Still Alice.” Never-nominated Dunst plays one of several southern ladies who take in a wounded soldier (Colin Farrell) in Coppola’s Cannes Director-winning remake of “The Beguiled” (Focus Features).
Michelle Pfeiffer makes yet another comeback in Darren Aronofsky’s “Mother!” (Paramount), while past nominees Michelle Williams and Naomi Watts return in two real-life stories, P.T. Barnum biopic “The Greatest Showman” (Fox) and Destin Daniel Cretton’s adaptation of Jeannette Walls’ memoir “The Glass Castle” (Lionsgate), respectively.
Contenders to emerge from Sundance include Holly Hunter, who steals the show alongside Ray Romano in Amazon’s “The Big Sick,” Melissa Leo, who pops in nuns-gone-bad drama “Novitiate” (Sony Pictures Classics), “Raging Bull” star Cathy Moriarty as a tenacious grandma in “Patti Cake$” (Fox Searchlight), and an unrecognizable Mary J. Blige, who shines amid the sprawling ensemble in Dee Rees’ acclaimed southern drama “Mudbound” (Netflix). The Academy loves such riches to rags transformations.
A list of early possibilities is below. No film is deemed a frontrunner unless I have seen it.
Mary J. Blige (“Mudbound”)
Kirsten Dunst (“The Beguiled”)
Holly Hunter (“The Big Sick”)
Julianne Moore (“Wonderstruck”)
Cathy Moriarty (“Patti Cake$”)
Melissa Leo (“Novitiate”)
Lesley Manville (“Phantom Thread”)
Michelle Pfeiffer (“Mother!”)
Kristin Scott Thomas (“The Darkest Hour”)
Lois Smith (“Marjorie Prime”)
Michelle Williams (“The Greatest Showman”)