My Take on the Best Supporting Actress Category

emma stone birdman

Best Supporting Actress is a relatively predictable category so much so that any win outside of Patricia Arquette would be deemed to be a tremendous upset, and for just reason. Arquette’s performance was the glue that held Boyhood together regarding the film’s structure and its overall heart. It’s through Arquette’s performance that Boyhood’s ultimate message, love, is conveyed. While her character’s motivations and personal struggles are told solely through the film’s main actor, Arquette’s presence is prevalent throughout the entirety of the film, with viewers hoping for a positive outcome for her by the film’s conclusion. While viewers do not get decisive closure with her character, Arquette is able to exhibit and display a wide range of emotions of motherhood that allows for this film to be memorable. In that context, Arquette’s performance truly captures the sacrifice and consistent struggle of being a parent and an individual at the same time. For that achievement in acting, Arquette is walking into the Oscars with a Golden Globe, Critics Choice, SAG, and BAFTA win already on her mantle. While she is the clear frontrunner and expected winner, her competition ought to be acknowledged for their potential to pull an upset. Meryl Streep’s performance in Into the Woods was primarily due to her singing, which is the bulk of her performance. Her singing range, mixed with the borderline campiness of her straight acting as The Witch, is the most memorable element of the fantasy film, which does make for her to be a contender, yet it is likely that her nomination is her reward. The same goes for Laura Dern for her performance in the trekking film, Wild. While her performance may be subdued and hinges upon the subtlety of her facial expressions, Dern was able to provide a humanistic presence to a film that desperately needed it. However, Wild is too independent of a film to gain enough traction to pull off a win. For Dern, her nomination is also her reward. Kiera Knightley’s performance in The Imitation Game was the perfect foil character to Benedict Cumberbatch’s, whose performance depended upon hers to create humanity and humility within his own performance. While her performance is the standout of the film, there isn’t enough momentum behind her performance to push for a win. That leaves Emma Stone’s performance in Birdman as the only conceivable upset when competing against Patricia Arquette. While her character isn’t integral the overall plot of Birdman, Stone carves out a name for herself in this dark satire. Her uncanny ability to mix anger and vulnerability into her performance, while delivering three separate monologues seemingly without any effort, is acting at its finest. What Stone is further able to do with her acting is formulate different dimensions of acting based upon who her character interacts with. Her interactions continually shift, thus providing an edge of unpredictability with her character, which allows for viewers to crave more of her. For that, Stone does offer the best supporting actress performance of the year. Yet, the Achilles heel of Stone winning falls in that Boyhood was dependent upon Patricia Arquette and she delivered. However, if the Oscars allow for a Birdman award sweep, it is possible Stone could ride the momentum and pull off the biggest upset of the night.

The Nominees:
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Laura Dern, Wild
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, Birdman
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

Will Win: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Could Win: Emma Stone, Birdman
Should Win: Emma Stone, Birdman

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