2021 will be a chaotic year for the Supporting Actress category. With the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards noms already announced, awards season enthusiasts hoped for a clear idea of whom the final five nominees will be. Instead, major snubs and surprising nominees made predicting this category a lot tougher.
As of February, two contenders seem like a lock for the nomination, repeating a major showdown that originally took place in the 2019 Best Actress category. Aside from those two, the remaining three slots will be battled out by four very solid contenders, and at least four more who, after gaining momentum in the last couple of weeks, are looking forward to a possible spot in the final five.
At the beginning of the season, Oscar darling Saoirse Ronan seemed like a sure bet. In Ammonite, Ronan plays British geologist Charlotte Murchinson opposite Kate Winslet’s take on British paleontologist Mary Anning. The film centers on the supposed love affair that took place between the two.
Upon release, reviews were polarizing. Many praised the performances, particularly Winslet’s, but almost all critics found the film conventional and inconsistent, offering nothing new to the already crowded period-piece genre. Ronan was absent from both the Globes and SAG, but a possible BAFTA nomination might bring her back to life.
Despite glowing reviews and a very positive audience reception, Judas and the Black Messiah‘s late entry into the race means it hasn’t connected with guilds or awards bodies. Beyond Daniel Kaluuya’s electric performance, the film received little attention, which doesn’t bode well for Fishback’s chances.
Starring Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield, Judas follows William O’Neal, an FBI informant who infiltrates the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party. Fishback plays writer and activist Deborah Johnson, at the time Hampton’s girlfriend. Her performance is certainly Oscar-worthy, but she has no major nomination up to this point. If she lands a BAFTA nomination, however, she can become a serious threat.
It’s been twenty-six years since Jodie Foster‘s last Oscar nomination, which came in 1995 for her leading role in Nell. She aims for a return with The Mauritanian, based on the 2015 memoir Guantánamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Salahi. Tahar Rahim plays Salahi, who spends fourteen years in Guantanamo Bay until he finds an ally in Foster’s defense attorney, Nancy Hollander.
Foster was absent from most critics’ awards, but that may be due to the film’s late entry into the race. Her chances received a boost thanks to her Golden Globe nomination, and if she receives one from BAFTA, then she might make a comeback.