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Octavia Spencer leads, Janet McTeer gains in supporting Oscar race

November 19, 2011 |  7:00 am

Octavia Spencer
Glenn Close isn’t the only woman bending genders in “Albert Nobbs.” Tony-winning costar Janet McTeer gains some momentum this week as audiences continue talking about her magnificent work as the confident housepainter who inspires Close’s quiet character to contemplate a brighter future.

Here’s how the Gold Standard sees the supporting actress category stacking up:

1. Octavia Spencer, “The Help”

2. Berenice Bejo, “The Artist”

3. Shailene Woodley, “The Descendants”

4. Jessica Chastain, “The Tree of Life”

5. Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”

6. Vanessa Redgrave, “Coriolanus”

7. Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs”

8. Sandra Bullock, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

9. Judi Dench, “J. Edgar”

10. Carey Mulligan, “Shame”

Bubbling under: Jessica Chastain, “The Help” and “Take Shelter”; Evan Rachel Wood, “The Ides of March”; Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet, “Carnage”; Judy Greer, “The Descendants”; Emily Watson, “War Horse”

For your consideration: Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids.” It’s the year’s most talked-about supporting performance. Hell, why even qualify it? Did any other acting turn generate the kind of response that McCarthy’s gale-force bridesmaid did? And you’re not going to nominate her because she starred in a movie that made people laugh? Seriously?

Analysis: Will Chastain be nominated for playing sassy and sad (“The Help”), strong and exasperated (“Take Shelter”) or the Living Embodiment of Grace (“Tree of Life”)? Or for one of her other … gulp … three movies? Can we settle on one? It’d be a shame if Chastain isn’t at the Kodak after this year’s remarkable run, but her absence looms as a very real possibility because she was so good in three prominent movies.

The other problem facing Chastain -- the depth of competition in this category. Whichever way it plays out, some deserving performances will be overlooked.


The Gold Standard: Predicting the best picture race

--Glenn Whipp

Photo: Octavia Spencer leads in the supporting actress predictions. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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