This week in Thursday Movie Picks – run by Wandering through the Shelves – we’ve been asked to list three to five actors and actresses who claimed Best Supporting Oscars. As usual, I’ve made my selection from films I have seen.
Best Supporting Actor
- Alan Arkin for his performance as Edwin Hoover in Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
There is much to enjoy in this offbeat comedy about a young girl (Abigail Breslin) who enters a beauty pageant. Arkin shines as her grandfather, a foul-mouthed geriatric who was kicked out of his nursing home for snorting cocaine. Their bond is beautiful and unique, and Breslin and Arkin have fantastic chemistry.
- Sam Rockwell for his performance as Officer Jason Dixon in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
Rockwell rarely disappoints, in my opinion. In Three Billboards his character is prejudiced and offensive but experiences the largest character arc. It’s a brilliant, thought-provoking film and Rockwell excels alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson.
- Mahershala Ali for his performance as Don Shirley in Green Book (2018)
Inspired by real life events, Green Book follows renowned black pianist Don Shirley (Ali) as he is driven by a white chauffeur (Viggo Mortensen) to performances across America’s Deep South in the 1960s. It’s a powerful film that captures the racist zeitgeist of that time. Ali and Mortensen both deliver strong, memorable performances.
Best Supporting Actress
- Whoopi Goldberg for her performance as Oda Mae Brown in Ghost (1990)
There are two reasons to watch Ghost: Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg. The other lead, Demi Moore, delivers a decent performance but the magic between Swayze and Goldberg is palpable. Goldberg’s Oda Mae, a psychic who channels Swayze’s recently departed Sam, is perfect in the role: effervescent and comedic.
- Angelina Jolie for her performance as Lisa Rowe in Girl, Interrupted (1999)
It has been years since I watched Girl, Interrupted, starring Jolie alongside a strong female cast including Winona Ryder and Brittany Murphy, but the performances and plot have stayed with me. Inspired by the real-life experience of Ryder’s Susanna Kaysen when she spent 18 months in an institution in the 1960s, Jolie portrays Lisa Rowe, a magnetic but deeply manipulative patient who forms a close bond with Susanna.
- Octavia Spencer for her performance as Minny Jackson in The Help (2011)
Like the above, The Help features a strong female line up that included not only Spencer but Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis and Emma Stone among others. Like Green Book, The Help is set during 1960s America, and Spencer’s Minny works for Bryce Dallas Howard’s Hilly Holbrook. As the plot develops, Spencer delivers a powerful, moving performance.