Oscarthon: Best Supporting Actress

In all four acting categories, I managed to see four out of five performances. So I can actually sort of speak with authority, which is little consolation: the winners were all decided long ago, for the most part.

1. Penélope Cruz (1 for 2) for Nine

"There is a lot of chaos on a movie set, which Nine is a lot about. Nine is about the chaos of creating and the crisis of a director. So, it’s been very interesting for me. The whole year has been about movies that were an homage to cinema." -collider
This is of course the one I didn't see, but the consensus is that the academy nominated Cruz for the wrong film- her role in Almodovar's Broken Embraces was a leading one, but less over-the-top and lost-in-the-crowd. But maybe they discounted the lingerie factor?

2. Vera Farmiga (0 for 0) for Up in the Air
"It was cool to see female desire portrayed in such a masculine way. And that was an interesting take on female desire -- you know, something that was kind of demanding and wanton and unapologetic ... and yet treading that line of femininity and softness; and being appealing; and not frightening people; and having dignity -- not having the character being bereft of dignity, but giving her self-esteem." -moviefone
Watching Up In The Air a second time (with certain late revelations about Farmiga's character in mind), you appreciate the fact that this character has an entire, Clooney-less life of her own- we never get to see it, but too often movies just sort of assume it isn't there.

3. Maggie Gyllenhaal (0 for 0) for Crazy Heart
"She seems like a real person to me -- someone who is strong in some ways and yet knows she is weak in others, and that’s what I look for in the people I play – that they feel real. That appealed tremendously to me." -moviesonline
The surprise inclusion to the field, Gyllenhaal brings as much heart and pathos to Crazy Heart as Bridges, and squashes potential complaints about unrealistic May-December romances by making the whole thing seem, well, real.

4. Anna Kendrick (0 for 0) for Up in the Air
"Natalie and I are both people who like to maintain a level of control. But I think being out of our element makes us react very differently. I tend to get progressively more awkward and fall apart more. And she sort of clings to her rigidity. And her physical appearance has a lot to do with that. Her posture and her voice and her hair and her wardrobe is all about clinging to a sense of order, and if she can get her ponytail a little bit tighter, maybe things won't feel like they're falling apart." -moviefone
Probably the best scene of Up In The Air is one in which George Clooney barely speaks- Anna Kendrick gets to cut loose and pepper Farmiga with questions about what the future will hold, as a fellow career-woman. One plays baffled desperation, the other wise acceptance as the ostensibly star of the film just smiles and nods.

5. Mo'Nique (0 for 0) for Precious
"I think that all of us know Mary. I had to put her shoes on. If I were that person, I would want forgiveness. You do feel sorry for her because you begin to understand she’s mentally ill. She ain’t just being a bitch. She’s sick, and the society that we’re in, they threw her away. Nobody asked any questions, nobody got involved. That illness doesn’t just start. People know for years. We wanted to bring that world and put it right in your face." -spout
Mo'Nique has seemingly had this wrapped up since Precious, then known as Push, premiered at Sundance. Her performance is moving, powerful, and stems from real-life abuse- there's really no word against it and no stopping her at this point.

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