Oscars 2020: Best Supporting Actress is Laura Dern’s to lose

This week, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards established clear front-runners in the acting categories at the upcoming Academy Awards. But with two weeks to go, is there still time for a shake-up? Today in Gold Digger, our weekly look at the grapple for Oscars glory, we check in with nominees in the Best Supporting Actress category.

1. Laura Dern

Laura Dern and Scarlett Johansson in "Marriage Story."Laura Dern and Scarlett Johansson in “Marriage Story.”Wilson Webb/Netflix

Laura Dern, who plays the divorce lawyer from hell in “Marriage Story,” took home the coveted SAG award for outstanding female actor in a supporting role Sunday. The winner of that prize has gone on to win the Oscar nine of the last 10 years, making Dern the obvious front-runner now. She also won a Golden Globe and a Critics Choice award this month. The one stat that gives one pause about Dern’s chances is that the only time in the last decade that SAG got this category wrong was last year, perhaps reflecting the Academy’s fast-shifting membership and tastes. But right now, she’s got a Dern good shot.

2. Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson and Roman Griffin Davis in "Jojo Rabbit."Scarlett Johansson and Roman Griffin Davis in “Jojo Rabbit.”AP

One of the biggest shocks on Oscar nominations morning was hearing Scarlett Johansson’s name spoken not once — for Best Actress (“Marriage Story”) — but twice, the second time for Best Supporting Actress (“Jojo Rabbit”). This extra nod could be Oscar voters’ chance to honor both of her acclaimed performances, while ultimately still giving Renée Zellweger (“Judy”) the Best Actress trophy. Still, it would be an awfully difficult climb; Johansson has yet to win a single award this season for playing a secretive German mom in “Jojo Rabbit.”

3. Florence Pugh

Timothée Chalamet and Florence Pugh in "Little Women."Timothée Chalamet
and Florence Pugh in “Little Women.”
Wilson Webb

At 24-years-old, Pugh is the littlest woman in this category, for her role as the most textured Amy March ever in Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women.” Everybody loves this performance, and many consider the British Pugh to be on the verge of mainstream greatness. But age isn’t on her side here, and she’s only won a handful of critics group awards this year. Oscar voters will assume they’ll have many, many more chances to honor such a bright, young talent.

4. Margot Robbie

Margot Robbie and Kate McKinnon in "Bombshell."Margot Robbie and Kate McKinnon in “Bombshell.”AP

Nobody — nobody — thinks Margot Robbie is anywhere near as good as a fictional Fox News employee in “Bombshell” as she was as Tonya Harding in “I, Tonya.” Did I say nobody? And she lost the Oscar for that astounding performance. The consensus for this still-skilled turn is admiration, not adulation, and the actress who’s never won a major award will keep the streak alive.

5. Kathy Bates

Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates and Paul Walter Hauser in "Richard Jewell."Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates and Paul Walter Hauser in “Richard Jewell.”AP

First, let’s applaud longevity. While Bates, 71, may seem a usual Oscars suspect, playing the mother in Clint Eastwood’s “Richard Jewell” has given the actress her first Academy Award nomination since 2003 for “About Schmidt.” She’s won just one Oscar, for “Misery” in 1991. But the academy just doesn’t care about the true-story drama. It made pocket change at the box office and was embroiled in a controversy about its misleading portrayal of a newspaper reporter. She’ll go down with the ship.

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