Supporting Actress Sundays: 1996
Our subject for scrutiny this month is the roster from 1996, a sensational Oscar vintage for actresses billed above and below the title. It's a shame that the very best supporting performance of them all went unnominated: I speak of Katrin Cartlidge's cold-fusion synthesis of frustration, bewilderment, compassion, and fury as Emily Watson's sister-in-law in Lars von Trier's Breaking the Waves. Also regrettably MIA: Renée Zellweger making the case for romantic allegiance in Jerry Maguire, Kristin Scott Thomas barely tolerating her life as a governess in Angels & Insects, Claire Rushbrook as the daughter soured early by life in Secrets & Lies, and Elizabeth Peña as the lost object of love in Love Star. If AMPAS obeyed international release dates instead of just US debuts, we'd also have to make room for Nathalie Richard's frazzled, hot-tempered, and turned-on costume supervisor in Irma Vep (which I mini-reviewed here. Still, the fact that Oscar still found four tremendously deserving nominees without picking any of these contenders speaks very highly indeed about the quality of competition that year. (Sure, they also picked one lame duck, but don't worrydespite everyone's predictions, in a rare display of Oscar keeping faith with art, she lost.)
Image © 1996 PolyGram Entertainment/Gramercy Films.