The Best Supporting Actress race is one of the most unpredictable races at the Oscars this year.
The race includes Oprah Winfrey, who most pundits project as the favorite and a lock to win for her work in "Lee Daniel's The Butler." While the film does not have the best reviews, it is a foregone conclusion that the Academy loved the film at the early screening back in August when it was first released.
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The second lock is newcomer Lupita Nyong'o for "12 Years A Slave." The actress obtained rave reviews for her work and has already received breakout nominations from the Gotham Awards and from the Hollywood Film Awards. The only way she loses her nomination is if the film does not resonate with the Academy, but based on the box office and the critical reception, Nyong'o is a favorite.
One of the actresses who most have pinned for a nomination is recent Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence for her work in "American Hustle." While the film has not been released yet, a clip recently released demonstrates Lawrence's tenacity and comic timing in the role.
June Squibb may also be nominated for her standout work in "Nebraska." While she is not very well known in Hollywood, the Academy loves Alexander Payne; every single one of the films he has directed that's gotten nominated for Best Picture has come with acting nods. Expect Squibb to be on the list.
A couple of contenders are not sure bets at the moment. Those include Margo Martindale and Julia Roberts for "August: Osage County," Octavia Spencer for "Fruitvale Station," and Sally Hawkins for "Blue Jasmine." The former two are in the same movie, and while the Academy has nominated two supporting actress from the same film several times ("Doubt," "Babel," "The Fighter"), this year's crowded race may not permit this. Spencer recently won an Oscar, and while her performance this year is strong, "Fruitvale Station" did not catch on with audiences.
Hawkins has never been nominated for an Oscar and was famously snubbed for her work in "Happy Go Lucky." However, this year she must compete with Cate Blanchett in the same film. While Hawkins is in a different category than Blanchett, she must remind the Academy that Blanchett was not the only actor worth recognizing in the film.
Long shots in the category include Sarah Paulson in "12 Years A Slave," Lea Seydoux for her work in "Blue is the Warmest Color, Scarlet Johansson in "Her," Melissa Leo in "Prisoners," and Naomi Harris for "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom."
1. Oprah Winfrey - "Lee Daniel's The Butler"
2. June Squibb- "Nebraska"
3. Jennifer Lawrence - "American Hustle"
4. Octavia Spencer - "Fruitvale Station"
5. Lupita Nyong'o - "12 Years A Slave"
6. Julia Roberts - "August: Osage County"
7. Margo Martindale - "August: Osage County"
8. Lea Seydoux - "Blue is the Warmest Color"
9. Sally Hawkins - "Blue Jasmine"
10. Scarlet Johansson - "Her"
11. Melissa Leo - "Prisoners"
12. Sarah Paulson - "12 Years A Slave"