While Best Supporting Actor is what I would consider my favorite acting category, Best Supporting Actress is my least favorite. This personal bias, however, will play no part in how I view and rate the category, as I will continue to update them all as new movies are released and attention shifts from one movie to another.
1. Shailene Woodley - The Descendants
Alexander Payne's newest project The Descendants has had excellent reviews right out of the gate from its release in the Toronto Film Festival, with even the negative reviews praising both Clooney and Woodley's strong performances. With Hailee Steinfeld's nomination in the same category last year, Woodley's young age should not be detrimental to her chances of nomination (the Oscars have historically favored older, more experienced actors), but time will tell if her seemingly guaranteed nomination will continue earning praise as voting approaches.
- 95% chance
2. Octavia Spencer - The Help
Where there has been some doubt that Viola Davis will be competing in the Supporting Actress category or not, Octavia Spencer's nomination for Supporting Actress has almost been pre-determined. A win for her may be a longshot, but Spencer's comic performance has received a great amount of attention, and at this point in the year she stands out amongst the most likely candidates for nomination. As always, we will see.
- 90% chance
3. Vanessa Redgrave - Coriolanus
Ralph Fiennes' directorial debut Coriolanus has received little attention prior to its release, but Redgrave's performance in particular has been a continuous high-point among reviewers. Several early reports indicate a nomination (and potentially even a win) may be imminent for Redgrave. With 6 previous nominations (none since the early '90s) and only one win (which occured nearly 35 years ago), the odds are in her favor for another chance at an Oscar. After its official release we will have a better idea of what to expect.
- 85% chance
4. Berenice Bejo - The Artist
Every review so far for The Artist has further staked its claim as one of the premier frontrunners in this year's Oscars, with praise coming in from all directions, including Bejo's performance as a young starlet on the rise. The strongest case you would have against Bejo's chances for nomination is the same as applies to her co-star Dujardin -- will the Academy be willing to nominate a silent performance? When more reviews come in her chances should become more clear, but until then it's completely up in the air.
- 75% chance
5. Carey Mulligan - Shame
Much like Fassbender in the Best Actor category, Mulligan's chances of nomination rely heavily on whether or not Shame is given an NC-17 rating. If so, her chances may be shot completely, but almost every review I've read of Shame has placed her supporting turn on an equal level to Fassbender's supposedly entrancing performance. Her performance here is considered a great step forward for the young actress, who just might gain enough attention to earn her a second nomination.
- 70% chance
Other potential nominees:
Janet McTeer - Albert Nobbs
- 40% chance
Jessica Chastain - Take Shelter
- 35% chance
Sandra Bullock - Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close
- 30% chance