Need a break from my own awards for a minute. So I thought I'd look at the supporting ladies. This category is narrowed down but still quite contentious for the 4th and 5th spots. So let's look at some meaningless (?) statistics from the past 5 years of Oscar (that's 25 nominees for the math-challenged) to see who most benefits. Be forewarned there are some spoilers in this post (skip if you haven't seen Match Point or The Family Stone).
Average age of nominees in this category:
42ish. The youngest recently was Kate Hudson (Almost Famous @ 21) and the oldest Maggie Smith (Gosford Park @ 67). Who is closest to the average age this year? Laura Linney (The Squid and the Whale) is 41. Gong Li (Memoirs of a Geisha) just turned 40. Maria Bello (A History of Violence) is a spring chicken 38.
Most common roles:
01. Suffering wives make up 32% of the category. Great news for Michelle Williams, the poor abandoned Alma Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain. (But then, we knew she was a lock.) This could also benefit Amy Adams, the lonely pregnant young wife in Junebug whose chances, due to the tiny size of her film, are debatable.
02. The Love Interest/Object of Desire fills 20% of this category. Good but not lockish news for Scarlett Johansson (Match Point).
03. Mothers of Lead Character make up 12% of the category. This is tangentially good news for Shirley Maclaine's (In Her Shoes) longshot bid. She's a grandmother but still functions as the maternal character of the piece. Diane Keaton (The Family Stone) would also be placed here.
Final Interesting Note: The remaining 36% of the nominees are tougher to categorize. The only commonality I found in the leftovers? There's two writers in the batch. Good news for Catherine Keener (Capote)
Does it help to die or be fatally ill? [SPOILERS BELOW]
Who wants to know you ask?
Well Frances McDormand, Rachel Weisz, Scarlett Johansson, and Diane Keaton keep asking. But the truth is that in the past five years only a measly 8% of supporting actress storylines involved their deaths. In this category you're much better off being traumatized by someone else's fatal illness or death.
Commonalities of Snubs ?
To understand the Oscars you have to have context of the year and the other people Academy voters could have selected. So, who, in recent years seemed like the 6th slotter (list below indicates precursor support and media attention followed by Oscar snub)? And why did they miss out?
2000 Catherine Zeta-Jones, Traffic or Kate Winslet, Quills
2001 Cameron Diaz, Vanilla Sky
2002 Michelle Pfeiffer, White Oleander
2003 Maria Bello, The Cooler or Scarlett Johansson, Lost in Translation
2004 Kate Winslet, Finding Neverland
Aside from the fact that all but one of them are blondes (!) I'd love to hear your opinion on what connects this grouping and how it might relate to this year's possible snub/s.
Reminder: My Ballot (If I Had one)
Also: Best Actress Commonalities
because I can't stop. But you knew that already, didn't you?