What a year for actresses in all roles, big or small. Even if you pulled Viola out and put her in an already crowded Best Actress race, you'd still have more than enough options to flesh out Best Supporting Actress. These are the five ladies I settled on, after much deliberation:
VIOLA DAVIS in Fences
We can debate Viola's categorization, but not her power. Her one explosive scene practically shakes the earth; Even more impressive is the control with which she steeps 18 years of submission into all the preceding scenes. A deserved Triple Crown for an American treasure.
Dorothea mentions to her son, “Julie's a really complicated woman... it's a lot to take on.” She may as well have been talking to Fanning herself, who engages this translucent, fascinating slant on teenage malaise with cutting demeanor. Utilizes her smoky voice so well.
Gerwig draws warm laughs and misty eyes as an artist – whose lust for life has been muted by disease – slowly rediscovering connection with people. What a joy it is to watch her trepidation ebb and witness the rebirth of a personality worthy of that shock of pink hair.
A staggering tour-de-force of addiction that begets self-loathing that begets guilt, accomplished in only a half a dozen or so scenes. I feel like there's an entire movie solely about her character just waiting to be made. She's so completely fleshed out already.
Nyong'o plays a protective mother with a shrewd, hardened edge that you'd expect of someone raising three kids alone in the slums of Uganda. Though guarded, you never doubt the bottomless love she carries for her children. Earthy, generous character work.
Nicole Kidman in Lion
Kate McKinnon in Ghostbusters
Lily Gladstone in Certain Women
Janelle Monae in Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams in Manchester by the Sea