The Fifties for 2010: Best Supporting Actress
Dale Dickey for Winter's Bone, who enters as a tough scene-stealer, then surprises by returning (and how, tossing coffee!), then keeps showing new sides of this tough bird;
Ann Guilbert for Please Give, because her director coaxes tart but not especially daring performances, and yet Guilbert gives odd, risky edges to her mean, ailing old bat;
Elina Löwensohn for Lourdes, who manages to underplay bitter resentment, quietly seething over her mothlike charge's strange epiphany, wondering why it bothers her so;
Mia Wasikowska for The Kids Are All Right, giving the film's subtlest and most consistent performance, radiating an annoyed sadness as she realizes that her family cannot be trusted; and
Jacki Weaver for Animal Kingdom, who looks like she knows she rocks, but fair enough when you forgo pyrotechnics, kill with kindness, and play the car-window scene so softly.
Can I just say, that's yet another lineup I'd be happy to preserve through the end of the year? Still, honorable mentions to Patricia Clarkson for using her voice and her intensity to swat Leo across the face in Shutter Island, coming remarkably close to bringing the film to life; to Alice de Lencquesaing for playing a girl both introspective and precocious in The Father of My Children, not unlike the one she played in Summer Hours, but nicely blurring the line between shell-shocked grief and adolescent preoccupation; and to Kierston Wareing, who is vivid enough as the blowzy good-time mom in Fish Tank that one wishes she had more opportunity to expand upon her lewd, cat-grinning, unreliable presence.