The Academy Awards recently released a list of this year’s nominees for the various Oscar categories, and some of the names included are surprising inclusions. The Best Supporting Actress category is particularly interesting since it’s a wonderful mix of veteran actresses and also first-time nominees. While the diversity of this year’s category has been praised, it has also been criticized for what some think are notable omissions, including Marlee Matlin for CODA and Ruth Negga for Passing. The 94th Academy Awards, which will be held in Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center, will be celebrating last year’s cinema masterpieces, as well as the actors and actresses who brought life to the script. Here are the nominees for this year’s Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Jessie Buckley for The Lost Daughter
Jessie Buckley received her very first Oscars nomination for her role in The Lost Daughter, a movie that also sees its lead actress, Olivia Colman, in contention for the Best Actor award. Buckley previously appeared in the series Chernobyl, the movie I’m Thinking of Ending Things, and the crime drama Fargo. Reacting to her nomination for this year’s Academy Awards, Buckley said, according to Irish Examiner: “I am in complete shock. The is so special to me. To be recognised for anything connected to it is just a wild dream come true. And to gorgeous Olivia Colman and our leader and legend Maggie Gyllenhaal, I’m so lucky to share this ride with you, incredible women.” A review of the film from Awards Daily particularly praised Buckley’s performance as “terrific”: “Jessie Buckley is also terrific playing the younger version of Colman’s character.”
Ariana DeBose for West Side Story
Another surprising nomination is for Ariana DeBose, who played a role in Steven Spielberg’s iteration of West Side Story. The 31-year-old actress is a musical regular, having appeared in song-centric movies and plays like Hamilton, Company, and The Prom. Like Buckley, this is also DeBose’s first Oscar nomination. She had previously gained recognition from the British Academy Film Awards and the Golden Globe Awards, for which she won a Best Supporting Actress trophy. In an interview with Variety, Ariana DeBose admitted that her Oscar nomination, especially being the first queer woman of color to ever be nominated, is “overwhelming,” saying: “And now I’m crying. I was good. I don’t know the answer to that. It’s overwhelming. And also, it’s paramount because I didn’t have that growing up,” she explained. “When people ask me about representation, I frequently say, ‘If you can see it, then you can be it.’ I believe in our young people; we need them. And they need to see themselves in the work that we make. So if I can do that for one or two young people in the world, then it will have been worth it.”
Judi Dench for Belfast
Judi Dench is also nominated for this year’s Best Supporting Actress category at the Oscars. Her nomination this year marks her eighth nomination and, if things go her way, her possible second win. Dench has been previously nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories at the Academy Awards, earning recognition for her roles in Chocolat, Notes on a Scandal, and Philomena. She won her first Oscar in 1998, for her supporting role in Shakespeare in Love. With her recent nomination, Dench becomes the oldest Oscar nominee at 87 years old. Her costar, Ciaran Hinds, who also finds himself nominated for an Oscar this year, had nothing but nice words for Dench: “She’s a phenomenal actress, the truth of her work, her instinct, and her ability to connect with people she’s talking to,” said Hinds. “There beside her is this extraordinary, brilliant young 10-year old scamp, who is a joy. And there’s me in the middle trying to keep my end up! I have to say, I wouldn’t have wanted to be in any other place.” Writing a review of the film for The Australian, David Stratton wrote “The film, with a soundtrack of mostly familiar but appropriate Van Morrison songs, is clearly a labour of love, and the final scenes are immensely moving.”
Kirsten Dunst for The Power of the Dog
A well-known name in Hollywood, it’s surprising that this year marks Kirsten Dunst‘s first Oscar nomination for her role in The Power of the Dog. She’s received accolades from other award-giving bodies, including the Cannes Film Festival in 2011. Reacting to her nomination, Dunst regaled to Variety how she discovered she had been nominated for an Oscar. “So Eric Kranzler, my manager, calls me. I’m watching the feed on my phone because my kids are watching cartoons and Jesse is at work. He had to go to work super early today. [Eric] called me, and he said I was nominated, so I’m crying with my kids. They’re like, ‘Why the hell is mom crying?’ [Eric] calls me back, and meanwhile I’m in the throes, talking to my mom or whatever. He was like, ‘Jesse just …’ And I started screaming and I hung up the phone. Then Megan, one of my publicists, called me because she’s trying to tell me and I just screamed at her. Then I called Jesse, and I was the first person to tell him, and he was a little shell shocked. I mean, it’s just so crazy to be a couple and have our first nominations together. It’s like a storybook. You know what I mean? It’s so weird. It’s amazing.”
Aunjanue Ellis for King Richard
Last on the list is Aunjanue Ellis, who played Oracene Price, the mother of Serena and Venus Williams, in King Richard. Ellis had previously appeared in The Birth of a Nation, Of Mind and Music, and The Help. Her role in King Richard marks her first Academy Award nomination. She is also concurrently nominated under the same category for a British Academy Film Awards and a Golden Globe Awards. According to Gold Derby, a win for Ellis would potentially be history-making, writing: “The recent Emmy nominee for “Lovecraft Country” has already appeared in several Oscar-winning features, including two that were awarded the prize she now seeks: Best Supporting Actress. If she is victorious, she will be only the second female acting champ to have appeared in at least two films that won the same Oscar she later received.”
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