I’m kicking off the Oscars Week countdown with a few performances that shouldn’t have been overlooked this awards season:
Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game
Nicole Kidman, The Beguiled
Vicky Krieps, Phantom Thread
Cynthia Nixon, A Quiet Passion
Florence Pugh, Lady Macbeth
The Best Actress category at the Oscars locked up fast this year. But there was a rich pool of contenders who didn’t have a chance to get in, ranging from old pros like Nixon and Kidman to two new discoveries in Krieps and Pugh. Three of these performances involved poisoning men with mushrooms! That could be its own category.
Harris Dickinson, Beach Rats
Colin Farrell, The Beguiled
Michael Fassbender, Alien: Covenant
Ryan Gosling, Blade Runner 2049
Andy Serkis, War for the Planet of the Apes
Most of my choices here are charismatic stars doing what they do best. Fassbender commanded a chaotic Alien sequel with a committed performance that, yes, also included him kissing himself. It’s hard to imagine anyone else as quietly and compellingly intense as Gosling in Blade Runner 2049–and still so watchable. nd then there’s Dickinson, virtually unknown before, breaking out in a big way with Beach Rats; I hope to see more of him soon.
Best Supporting Actress
Kirsten Dunst, The Beguiled
Beanie Feldstein, Lady Bird
Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip
Michelle Pfeiffer, Mother!
So many scene-stealers on this list, from high- to lowbrow. Dunst in particular has been doing excellent, under-appreciated work for years–while Feldstein stood out as an exciting new talent in a stellar cast.
Best Supporting Actor
Tracy Letts, Lady Bird
Jason Mitchell, Mudbound
Sebastian Stan, I, Tonya
Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me By Your Name
Often overlooked at the Oscars are those smaller performances that, in their brief screen time, provide an unexpected emotional weight. Letts, in particular, traded his usual gruff persona for warmth and sweetness as Lady Bird’s dad, while Stuhlbarg is direct and honest and compassionate in his much-praised eleventh-hour monologue in Call Me By Your Name. Out of an excellent ensemble in Mudbound, I thought Jason Mitchell was the standout; just watch that last scene again.