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‘Women Talking,’ ‘Woman King,’ and More Bring in Best Supporting Actress Contenders

Films like "Women Talking," "The Woman King," and "She Said" all have more than one viable contender for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

"The Woman King"

“The Woman King”

Sony

This article contains IndieWire’s past Best Supporting Actress predictions for the 2023 Oscars. We regularly update our predictions throughout awards season, and republish previous versions (like this one) for readers to track changes in how the Oscar race has changed. For the latest update on the frontrunners for the 95th Academy Awards, see our 2023 Oscars predictions hub.

We will update all our Oscar predictions throughout the season, so keep checking IndieWire for the latest news from the 2023 Oscar race. The nomination round of voting will take place from January 12 to January 17, 2023, with the official Oscar nominations announced on January 24, 2023. The final voting is between March 2 and 7, 2023. Finally, the 95th Oscars telecast will be broadcast on Sunday, March 12 and air live on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT.

See our initial thoughts on what to expect at the 95th Academy Awards here.

The State of the Race

The Best Supporting Actress race was thrown off its axis once Michelle Williams left it in favor of the Best Actress category for “The Fabelmans.” Now, several other contenders are jockeying for frontrunner status.

The newest batch of Best Supporting Actress candidates mostly come from “She Said,” which had its world premiere at the recent New York Film Festival. The film, which dramatizes the 2017 New York Times investigation of disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein, spotlights many of the victims’ stories. Outside of Carey Mulligan, announced by Universal Pictures in October as a late-breaking Supporting Actress campaigner, the most viable contender would be Samantha Morton. She delivers a memorable scene expressing to the reporters what an enraging experience it was to work for the abusive mogul. The actress will be pulling double duty on the campaign trail as she also has a pivotal role in “The Whale.”

Other “She Said” prospects include Jennifer Ehle, heartrending as a source with her own Harvey horror story delivered from the hospital, and Patricia Clarkson as the consummate newspaper editor. Even Ashley Judd, the only Weinstein survivor to appear as herself in the film, could factor in as a long-shot nominee — though half of her screentime comes from archival footage of interviews, and her speech at the Women’s March.

Meanwhile, there is one guarantee for this category, which is that at least one of the women from “Women Talking” will make the cut. In the film, about a group of Mennonite women choosing whether to escape or fight their abusive male counterparts, almost every actress has an awards-friendly moment. Given the high likelihood that star Rooney Mara will campaign for Best Actress, the debate has become whether Jessie Buckley or Claire Foy is the best embodiment of the film’s appeal. Currently, Buckley — a surprise nominee for “The Lost Daughter” last year — has the edge, while Foy, who was snubbed by the Academy in 2019 for her work in “First Man,” remains in contention. It’s not unthinkable that both could crack the category.

However, there are at least five films that have two or more deserving contenders for Best Supporting Actress. In addition to the two aforementioned films, “TÁR” boasts exciting, complex performances from Nina Hoss, Noémie Merlant, and newcomer Sophie Kauer, who generated a lot of buzz among attendees at a recent Academy screening for the film.

TÁR

“TÁR”

Focus Features

And then there’s “The Woman King,” which has a literal army of amazing actresses. Thuso Mbedu is currently pegged as the most likely nominee, given that her character’s perspective dominates the movie, and she holds her own opposite Best Actress contender Viola Davis, but it could just as easily go to effortless scene-stealer Lashana Lynch.

Finally, as with many categories this awards season, all roads lead back to the triumphant March release “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” which has Stephanie Hsu fitting the promising young actress archetype while Jamie Lee Curtis fits the bill for a long overdue contender.

Add into that mix Kerry Condon (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), Dolly De Leon (“Triangle of Sadness”), Janelle Monáe (“Glass Onion”), and Gabrielle Union (“The Inspection”) — all commendable prospective first-time Oscar nominees — and we have one of the most unpredictable Best Supporting Actress races yet…and we haven’t even seen Angela Bassett in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” or Jean Smart in “Babylon” yet. Stay tuned.

Contenders are listed in alphabetical order, below. No actor will be deemed a frontrunner until we have seen the film.

Frontrunners:
Jessie Buckley (“Women Talking”)
Jamie Lee Curtis (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)
Nina Hoss (“TÁR”)
Thuso Mbedu (“The Woman King”)
Carey Mulligan (“She Said”)

Contenders:
Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”)
Patricia Clarkson (“She Said”)
Kerry Condon (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)
Dolly De Leon (“Triangle of Sadness”)
Jennifer Ehle (“She Said”)
Claire Foy (“Women Talking”)
Anne Hathaway (“Armageddon Time”)
Stephanie Hsu (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)
Sophie Kauer (“TÁR”)
Ximena Lamadrid (“Bardo”)
Lashana Lynch (“The Woman King”)
Janelle Monáe (“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”)
Samantha Morton (“She Said”)
Jean Smart (“Babylon”)
Gabrielle Union (“The Inspection”)

Long Shots:
Gillian Anderson (“The Pale Blue Eye”)
Hong Chau (“The Whale”)
Laura Dern (“The Son”)
Judith Ivey (“Women Talking”)
Ashley Judd (“She Said”)
Vanessa Kirby (“The Son”)
Sheila McCarthy (“Women Talking”)
Noémie Merlant (“TÁR”)
Zoe Saldana (“Avatar: The Way of Water”)
Sadie Sink (“The Whale”)
Anya Taylor-Joy (“The Menu”)
Olivia Wilde (“Babylon”)
Kate Winslet (“Avatar: The Way of Water”)

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