Tuesday, October 26, 2021

The state of the race: Supporting Actress

We're heading into November. That means prime Oscar buzz season. All the films have release dates, some are already in theaters (remember those?), and most have had either a full trailer or even clips and reviews released. We're still waiting for a full trailer for Don't Look Up, but considering it's set for a limited theater release in early December prior to its Netflix release on Christmas Eve, I expect it could any time now. 

Which leads me to sizing up Meryl's chances at awards recognition this year. She's almost always in the conversation regardless of the film she's in, but this film has a stellar cast with a director whom the Academy has generally seemed to enjoy. There's been some buzz recently that recent screenings resulted in very positive reactions from critics, but considering no one will be allowed to write official reviews for several weeks, it's hard to know what's true and what's not. 

I tend to think that Don't Look Up could really end up on either end of the spectrum, as far as critical response. If the film is received very well, it could reasonably contend for a Best Picture nomination. I could also see screenplay, as well well as Lead Actor and Actress. Some are saying Jonah Hill and Mark Rylance might challenge for Supporting Actor. One can't help but wonder or even expect that if all goes well, Meryl might enter the top five for Supporting Actress. We haven't seen a lot of the role, but it seems a foregone conclusion at this point that her character of President Orlean is going to channel Donald Trump in some way. This might be a harmful thing for her chances, or potentially her best way forward for a nomination. There are also going to be a ton of other worthy contenders. 

Awards Worthy currently has the following top five in its predictions:

1. Caitriona Balfe (Belfast)

2. Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog)

3. Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard)

4. Ruth Negga (Passing)

5. Judi Dench (Belfast)

While the "experts" at Gold Derby include these:

1. Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog)

2. Ann Dowd (Mass)

3. Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard)

4. Caitriona Balfe (Belfast)

5. Marlee Matlin (CODA)

It's natural to think that Meryl has little to no chance, seeing how she's not even cracking the top five in these rankings. But there's some pretty glaring disparity here, and it's worth noting that she's standing at sixth over at Awards Worthy, and all it's going to take is a handful of stellar reviews to solidly skyrocket her into the top five. People love it when someone swoops in to shake up the race. This year, it might as well be our girl. 


  1. Fingers crossed this gets excellent reviews and becomes a hit. Also hopeful Meryl will be able to do something fresh and different with her role.

    Any awards attention would then be a bonus.

    1. Agreed. I don't want it to be too much of a parody of Trump. There are so many useful examples of ultra-conservative women (and men) in the U.S. media and/or government whom Meryl could emulate. Could be a fascinating character.

  2. The release of a still today on Empire exclusively of Meryl character indicates Netflix is going to campaign her a lot. There’s a lot of buzz. Let’s wait and see.

  3. I think it's also worth acknowledging that (and Jeff I think you might agree) the folks who post on Awards Worthy seem to be largely anti-Meryl. The fact that she's still 6th in rankings shows she has support. It's just discouraging to read the largely negative commentary from those vocal few.

    My gut is that, like her past roles, no character she takes on is going to be a direct impersonation of someone else. It's not what she does. It's definitely a marketing angle to make the Trump comparisons, but at least WoTS readers know that she's going to add layers of complexity and nuance and relatability to even the most bigoted of characters.

    Also... this movie AND role have gone largely unseen! If I'm following everything correctly, it has only just begun to be released to a select few people to watch. I'll be more receptive to criticisms or opinions when they have some context behind them instead of pure speculation. It's ironic I'm saying that because speculation is what I'm sure a lot of us like to do around awards season. I just think the Meryl hate gets me down, especially when we're just excited for another turn from our favourite actor.

    Sorry. This took on a rant-light structure but all to say let's put out that good energy and keep fingers crossed. If she deserves it, she'll get it.