Every day until the Oscars ceremony we’ll be highlighting a different category or movie here on the LAMB! Here’s a link to all the posts written so far:
Today, Emily Slade of Why This Film Podcast is here to look at the nominees for Best Supporting Actress.
And The Award For Best Supporting Actress Goes To…
Maria Bakalova, for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”?
In 2006 I turned 15 and couldn’t wait to go to the cinema to flash my ID. Casino Royale was playing, but it was a 12. So we went to see Borat. It was classic Jackass-esque, cringe comedy that apparently showed the “dark underbelly” of a country I barely knew anything about. It was aiite, I guess.
In 2021 the news story dropped that Sacha Baron Cohen had been chased off stage from a gun rights rally, apparently filming for a new Borat movie. Huh. I thought. I remember Borat. Hope he’s okay.
Then I agreed to write this article. I watched the movie. This ain’t your early 2000’s Borat Movie – and Maria Bakalova is the heart, soul and humour of it.
Stepping into the enormous shadow of Sacha Baron Cohen, into a dangerous, politically divided America, into the world of improvisation, into early 2000’s tomfoolery, into modern satire… Her performance as Borat’s daughter is gorgeous. She brings a grounded innocence to a role that so easily could have been typically sexist at best and downright offensive at worst. The bravery and brilliance that was required to undertake the shoot, how she handles every situation in character, fearlessly and with such perfect comic timing – I didn’t cry when I watched Borat (2006), I wept at Borat (2020).
Glenn Close, for “Hillbilly Elegy”?
The Razzie’s are a dumb exercise in misery. And whilst award shows aren’t much better in their pompous, pushy way, at least it’s often a celebration of hard work, with an element of respect. In Hillbilly Elegy, Glenn Close plays a real person. The Razzie nom is offensive. Period. Hillbilly Elegy has 26% on Rotten Tomatoes. I cannot tell you why. I sat down to watch it with no expectations, and I wept the entire way through. A beautiful timeline of a family, struggling with their own demons and dreams – it’s everything Boyhood (2014) wanted to be and wasn’t – and it’s real. Based on the memoir of J.D. Vance – Glenn Close, is Mamaw, Vance’s grandmother, who plays an incredibly important role in his life. Chain Smoking, no-shit-taking, oversized-t-shirt-wearing Close is almost unrecognisable under prosthetics and glasses, and her performance is great (of course). A grounded, earnest portrayal of a flawed woman – it’s classic Oscar nom bait. Shockingly Amy Adams drug addict mother did not garner a nomination – despite, as always -it being a heart-wrenching, spitting, clawing performance by an actress who is perfect whether she’s playing Tara’s sister in Buffy, a Disney Princess, or a linguistics expert – but I digress. I don’t think Close’s performance shook the foundations of cinema, but the film is definitely one to check out on a sleep, Sunday afternoon – and Close’s performance is the pin that clasps the memoir together.
Amanda Seyfried, for “Mank”?
Is it even the Oscars if a bloated, Hollywood movie isn’t present (extra points for being in Black and White)? And is it even Hollywood if the ages aren’t terribly false? With Oldman living up to his name, playing a character 20 years younger than what he is – and Seyfried, of course, being 27 years younger, when she’s meant to be 1 year older. Gosh I hope one day we’re able to find some older women who enjoy acting and want to be in movies. Guess they just don’t exist.
But much like Mulligan in The Dig (2020), the above should not take away from Seyfried’s performance which completely deserves an Oscar nom – following in the footsteps of many actresses before her, Seyfried steps up to the plate that is cinematic icon Marion Davies. Since Mean Girls Seyfried’s likeable charm has sunk sweetly into our screens, and here she pulls out all the stops. Like a swan gliding across the water, you know underneath the feet are working incredibly hard to look this effortless and impressive – but you cannot see them – you only get the finished article; a glamorous, witty, down to earth portrayal of a woman I’m sure we wish we’d all got to meet. Her chemistry with Oldman is electric, and every scene they have together is my favourite.
The remaining two films, I’ve been unable to see due to living in the UK, so will make enormous leaps and assumptions from the trailers.
Olivia Colman, for “The Father”?
Much like when your friend from drama school is suddenly cast in a huge TV show and everyone starts following them on Instagram, I think the entire UK has that with Olivia Coleman – she was the funny one, appearing in The Office (2001) and Hot Fuzz (2007) as hilarious, likeable characters – and now she’s an Oscar WinnerTM!!! Babes we’re so proud – always knew it would happen one day – I remember when you were in Peep Show! Congrats hun. That’s Olivia Coleman, we’ve known her for yeaaaars. Gosh keep UP America.
So damn likeable, with the ability to make you cry from just one glance of her doe eyes and slightly trembling lip – I’m sure she’s brilliant in The Father. Based on a play, with the creme de la creme of the cast of recent National Theatre productions around her, she will without a doubt bring a grounded heartbreak to the long-suffering daughter of Anthony Hopkins titular character. She will inject humour where necessary, landing any line with perfect nuance. The choices she makes will be called refreshing and brave, by drama teachers across the country – but will have come oh so naturally to her because she’s clearly a studier of ‘P e o p l e’. Bringing great empathy to every role and truly making it her own, she will no doubt have marvellous chemistry with everyone and be an absolute RIOT on set – appearing on Graham Norton’s couch to divulge us with how one time she mistook a prop piece of fruit for a real one, and bit into it right then and there! Oh Gosh how silly, but we all had a laugh! (Or something.) She’s a National Treasure and is probably great in The Father, which sounds like a role she’s right for (unlikeQueenElizabethinTheCrownOhSnapsomeonehadtosayit). We love you Olivia. Congrats on your nomination.
Yuh-jung Youn , for “Minari”?
I’m genuinely gutted I’m unable to hack into America and watch Minari. I’m desperate to see it. I trust A24 implicitly. I trust Steven Yeun with my emotions and the weight of a movie. I trust the soft aesthetic and the fact the 3-minute trailer made me cry, and I trust that every nomination is 100% deserved.
On the surface, Minari seems to share similar themes with Hillbilly Elegy, and before you all yell at me I’m sure they’re completely different – but they’re both semi-autobiographical tales about a family who emigrate/immigrate, and the struggles they face – and the Oscar nom is going to the Grandma, played here by Yuh-jung Youn
“I am just a Korean actress in Korea…My name is Yuh-jung Youn. So, I like to be myself.” You could say Meryl Streep is the Yuh-jung Youn of America. With a film and television career spanning over five decades, Youn Yuh-jung plays Soonja, the non-conforming grandmother of the Yi family. With freedom to tweak her character and dialogue from director, Lee Isaac Chung, she seems to deliver a fresh, funny performance that swings from comic relief to dramatic heart – and having already claimed the SAG, the stars seem to be lining up for her to take the Academy Award.
Like picking a favourite Batman (Michael Keaton) or which cocktail to make this evening (margarita), it all depends on the context of you, your surroundings, your feelings at this current point in time, where you’ve been, where you’re going, etc etc. All these women have worked hard at their craft and delivered notable performances for their films. Some will make history with their win; others just headlines or appearances on SNL.
I hope the campaign wasn’t too exhausting or costly. I hope the struggle wasn’t too apparent. I hope you’re not put in danger or denied your moment because the Oscars are refusing Zoom speeches, scared you might show up in your onesie, eating ice cream from the tub which is the only true way to watch the Academy Awards, and exactly what i’ll be doing. See you all then. Good luck!
- Emily Slade