The Oscar nominees were: Amy Adams, Sally Field, Anne Hathaway, Helen Hunt and Jacki Weaver. Hunt is the only one I haven't seen and Weaver was a big surprise. The award is Hathaway's to lose, but Adams and Field are ideal contenders. Here are my picks for Best Supporting Actress Not Nominated for an Academy Award.
Samantha Barks, Les Miserables
I fell in love with Samantha Barks as Eponine in the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert. I had watched that version so much and I was surprised how her performance as the same character differed on screen. Samantha Barks takes advantage of being on screen to be much more personal and less grand. Her character is allowed to be fleshed out a bit more too as we get why she is so obsessed with Marius. She is neglected and has nothing in her life and just needs something. Barks portrays the ultimate in unrequited love. You can't help but want to save her and make everything right, but her life just gets more and more tragic. Barks leaves a big impact in an impressive ensemble and has an incredible singing voice.
Anne Hathaway, Dark Knight Rises
I did not care for Dark Knight Rises, I was really let down by it. However I liked everything about Anne Hathaway's Catwoman. She was exciting and stole the show. Hathaway was a brilliant bit of casting as she can embody the physicality and slyness. It is a layered performance as she is a very smart character playing much dumber and helpless. There is always a lot going on with the character and I can't think of anyone else who can convey that better. Hathaway will win for Les Miserables, and deservedly so, but this performance is just as good and demonstrates Hathaway's versatility as a performer.
Michelle Pfeiffer, People Like Us
It has been far too long since Michelle Pfeiffer was in a good movie. I was relieved to see her in a decent role for a change. Her beauty is definitely toned down here as she plays normal and broken very believably. She is captivating without having to be likable. Her performance provides the audience into a look at Chris Pine's childhood as you can tell she was not the easiest mother to grow up with. She has some very tender scenes. The script does have some well placed contrivances, but the veteran actress never relies on them. A stand-out in a terrific ensemble.
Olivia Thirlby, Dredd
A lot of movies seemed to try and incorporate a strong action female this year. Some succeeded with characters like Katniss and Selina Kyle and others failed with Princess Merida and Kristen Stewart's Snow White. But Olivia Thirlby in Dredd is the most one of the most progressive action movie female characters ever. Thirbly is not there as a love interest, she has a role to play on a mission. She is believable and competent while being naturally sympathetic and questioning. She has the depth that Karl Urban's stoic lead doesn't and Thirlby definitely holds her own against the towering figure. She has a fascinating character arc and leaves an impact. You completely forget that you are watching Juno's best friend. A very underrated performance from an unfortunately forgotten movie.
Rebel Wilson, Pitch Perfect
I have never witnessed an audience respond to a performance as much as Rebel Wilson's show stealing role as Fat Amy. This is a fairly one joke character with a actress who elevates it to memorable and entertaining. Wilson just has an energy to her and such perfect comedic timing. She can sing and her personality is always being showcased. There is a reason all of the marketing for Pitch Perfect features her, she owns this movie and is a stand out among other great performances. I hope she starts getting lead roles, because supporting roles like these don't seem to be able to contain her anymore.
Other Great Supporting Performances:
Helena Bonham Carter (Les Miserables), Tabu (Life of Pi), Anna Hutchison (Cabin in the Woods), Kelly Reilly (Flight), Olivia Wilde (People Like Us), Emily Blunt (Looper), America Ferrera (End of Watch), Susan Sarandon (Arbitrage), Judi Dench (Skyfall), Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect), Alison Brie (Five-Year Engagement), Charlize Theron (Prometheus)