20 Years of Best Supporting Actress nominees

Continuing my countdown of favorite Academy Award nominated performances, I now present my top ten favorite performances nominated for Best Supporting Actress since 1989. If you’re interested in buying any of the films listed below, click here.

1. Marisa Tomei – My Cousin Vinny (1992)

This is one of my all time favorite performance period. My Cousin Vinny is one of those films that if I run across it on television I will watch it, no matter how much of it is remaining. Tomei dominates this film and give perhaps one of the greatest courtroom testimonies in film history.

2. Angelina Jolie – Girl, Interrupted (1999)

Angelina Jolie does crazy like very few can do crazy. And it’s difficult to do crazy without seeming ridiculous you have to go just far enough. Too little and it’s unbelievable, too much and it’s incomprehensible. Jolie, the daughter of Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight, proved that she was more than just a pretty face with this gritty, manic performance and launched a decade long, box office dominating career that doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon.

3. Kate Hudson – Almost Famous (2000)

I think Kate Hudson should have walked away with Oscar for this role. Granted, I still haven’t seen Pollock, for which Marcia Gay Harden won that year. Hudson, also the daughter of an Oscar winner – Goldie Hawn, was a breath of unbelievably fresh air in Cameron Crowe’s masterpiece about rock’n’roll. Penny Lane is definitely one of the most memorable characters in cinematic history.

4. Frances McDormand – Almost Famous (2000)

Actually I can’t really choose which performance from this movie I love more, Frances McDormand or Kate Hudson. They are equally amazing and for totally different reasons. McDormand’s is a comedic gem in this film. What is so wonderful about her performance is that she plays it completely straight, while at the same time giving one of the greatest comedic performances I’ve ever seen.

5. Cate Blanchett – I’m Not There (2006)

Amongst my friends, I was the only person who liked this film as a whole. But one thing we all agreed on was Cate Blanchett was phenomenal as Bob Dylan or Jude Quinn or whoever. It didn’t matter that she was a woman playing a man, she was the man and she gave one of the finest performances ever captured on film.

6. Kate Winslet – Sense & Sensibility (1995)

Winslet is at times her most vibrant and at times her most forlorn as Marianne Dashwood. Winslet and Thompson together make a wonderful team, playing off of each other perfectly. I can’t watch this movie without sobbing. Although Winslet’s breakthrough performance was in Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures, it was this role that solidified her as one of the greatest actresses of her generation.

7. Juliette Binoche – The English Patient (1996)

Have I mentioned that The English Patient is my favorite movie of all time? Yeah, I think I have. Everything about this movie is perfect and Juliette Binoche is no exception. She is luminous and heartbreaking as WWII nurse Hana in Anthony Minghella’s harrowing masterpiece. I know that a lot people can’t get into this film, they find it pretentious and boring. When I hear this I wonder if they watched the same film I’ve seen so many times now. I don’t think they are.

8. Rachel Weisz – The Constant Gardener (2005)

Not enough people saw this beautiful film. Enough Academy voters to earn Weisz a much-deserved Oscar, however, and I guess that’s all that really matters. Weisz is raw and powerful and uncompromising in her role, creating a character not long forgotten. I remember when the film was released there was talk that Weisz might not win because her character disappears a third of the way through the film. But a powerful performance, no matter how small the role is, is sometimes enough (just ask Dame Judi Dench). 

9. Natalie Portman – Closer (2004)

I’ve loved Natalie Portman for years and years now and with her unflinching turn in Closer she redeemed herself for her mediocre performances in the latter Star Wars trilogy. She reminded everyone that she was still as talented as that little girl in The Professional and hasn’t looked back since.

10. Joan Allen – The Crucible (1996)

This is another movie I feel like nobody saw but me (and the critics and Academy voters). Allen is perfection as loyal wife Elizabeth Proctor, who stands by her man until the bitter end. I thought this was a wonderful adaptation of Arthur Miller’s classic play and Allen was the best thing about it.


About Marya E. Gates

Cinephile to the max.

Posted on January 18, 2010, in the Academy Awards, Top List and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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