Photo: Weinstein/Fox Searchlight/Universal/Dreamworks
In our second Oscar round table, we tackle best-supporting actress. Before you can say Anne Hathaway will win for "Les Misérables," let's take a long, diaphragm-deep breath and scan the contenders. There's Sally Field catching the "Lincoln" wave in second, followed by "The Master's" Amy Adams, who is tired of the phrase "it's an honor just to be nominated." (This is her fourth nomination.) Oscar winner Helen Hunt follows for "The Sessions," and two-time nominee Jacki Weaver for "Silver Linings Playbook," which got a nomination in all four key acting categories. I would love to see Adams upset this race, but even among the brain trust at Goldderby.com, only a few "Lincoln"-loving pundits even risk stepping out of line to back Sally.
Wynter Mitchell (BuzzMedia): I'll be excited when Anne Hathaway wins so she can go back to where she belongs: making ill-conceived, uneven rom coms.
Peter Knegt (Indiewire): I'd love to see an upset in which Hathaway somehow loses, but that's pretty hard to imagine. Field is definitely her closest competitor, but getting three Oscars on three nominations seems a bit much, especially when they will likely also be giving a third Oscar to Day-Lewis and perhaps De Niro as well. So it seems that the predictions people were making a year or so ago that Hathaway would -- like Jennifer Hudson and Catherine Zeta-Jones before her -- essentially win an Oscar for one jaw-dropping musical sequence will prove correct.
Wynter Mitchell: I always forget that the Oscar goes to the person with the best "performance" -- it's not for her career. I don't know, but I feel like the overall appeal of an actor has to weigh heavily, especially in the case of women, for the academy. She's appealing, but does she have depth, if the role demands it? Jury's out on that one.
Thelma Adams: Hey, Peter and Wynter, why do you think there is resistance to Anne? At this point, could it be personal? I did hear word leaking out that she Bigfooted her fellow female co-stars, all but running over closet-hipster Amanda Seyfried and ignoring the fact that Seyfried had the lead in "Mamma Mia." Is it possible they were casting rivals for that role?
Peter Knegt: Basically, I get the sense she isn't exactly beloved by a lot of her peers. But that's totally based on nothing.
Nathaniel Rogers (The Film Experience): Hathaway hasn't been doing anything differently than most people who want an Oscar and are tipped to win, but there does seem to be more animosity toward her. (Please, someone explain to me why her current steamrolling, "my beautiful life!" mode is any different than Natalie Portman's for "Black Swan.")
I'm fully on board for Hathaway's win. A third Oscar for Sally Field would totally decimate her legacy (people were already angry about her being a two-time winner, though there's been momentary amnesia about that in the "Lincoln" love fest), Amy Adams is coasting on default flavor of the decade (they'll nominate her for anything, and what is she bringing to this sketchy role that anyone else wouldn't have?). Jacki is undoubtedly just happy with the nomination (a shocking one). Anne's only rival in terms of stunning interpretation of a high-wire role that could have gone very wrong is Helen Hunt, who already has an Oscar. In this year heavy with second and third Oscar possibilities, it'd be nice to see someone win for the first time.
Wynter Mitchell: Natalie Portman showed a consistent gravitas. Anne is annoying in life; in that moment she was outstanding. More outstanding than the others? Not in my opinion. An upset would be welcome.
Michael Hogan (Huffington Post): There is a newish term coming out of the hip-hop world that applies to Anne: She's "thirsty" for that Oscar. It's not the most attractive quality, but I sort of love the fact that she actually cares and takes the whole thing so seriously.
Thelma Adams: And how is "thirsty" a new term? -- although it completely applies. In Steven Spielberg's case, it goes as far as "parched."
Michael Hogan: Newish usage of an old term, I guess.
Lewis Beale (freelance entertainment reporter): Did you read Susan Wloszczyna's USA Today piece about "Les Miz " haters? Since I have not seen the picture I can only guess, but I am seeing a lot of Internet hatred for Hathaway and her self-absorbed talk about how devastating personally her role was, etc., etc. It seems a lot of people just want her to STFU.
Carla Stockton (writer): I have been, since the moment I sat through the singing of that awful song (worse than all of Andrew Lloyd Webber) bothered by her nomination for a supporting-actress award, since there is nothing supportive about her. She hit the notes, endured a rape in a small space, cried and expired admirably, but there was nothing about her aria that in my mind enables ensemble work, facilitates great moments by the actors sharing the screen with her. I think for a minute or less, she was almost in the same movie as Hugh Jackman . . . but not till the very end. Up to that point, I felt like she was in her own movie. I saw her do the same thing in "Twelfth Night" at the Delacorte Theater; she had her own agenda, and she was in her own world, and even master ensemble player Raul Esparza seemed alone when he was onstage with her.
Karen Gehres (freelance producer): I cannot bear another A.H. speech. Her hand must be sore from patting herself on her back so much.
Susan Granger (film/theater critic): Anne Hathaway -- speaking or singing -- her poignant Fantine cops the prize this year.
Caryn James (James on Screens): I want Hathaway to lip-synch with Beyoncé's voice coming out. Or maybe Seth MacFarlane's. She's a lock on the award, so just trying to liven up the show.
Bill McCuddy (voice-over artist and standup comedian): This race is almost always an upset. Right now in the Dakota, Lauren Bacall is still sticking pins in a tattered little Juliette Binoche doll.
Thelma Adams: In 1997, we were convinced Bacall would win supporting for "The Mirror has Two Faces." When the presenters called Binoche's name for "The English Patient," which swept with nine Oscars that year, it was a mortifying 'ouch!' for the Hollywood legend.
That's a wrap for this week's virtual round table in Yahoo! Movies' runup to the Academy Awards, to be televised on Sunday, Feb. 24. If you'd like to chime in, and you have the Oscar chops, DM me @thelmadams on Twitter.