The Fifties for 2012: Best Supporting Actress
Best Supporting Actress
Carmen Ejogo for Sparkle, for reinvesting such nuance, glamor, and depth in the stock role of the swishy-hipped fallen angel, and for that dinner-table confrontation;
Louise Harris for The Snowtown Murders, for shading this unnerving, heartbreaking turn as a blind-eyed mom with expert skill, while maintaining an amateur's unfakeable transparency;
Diane Kruger for Farewell, My Queen, for giving this charismatic queen a reflex narcissism that's barely conscious of itself, while endowing her, too, with an astonishing delicacy;
Noémie Lvovsky for Farewell, My Queen, for her subtleties in the semi-backgrounded mezzo role of the lady in waiting, making her as fascinating as the women she summons or attends; and
Elizabeth Marvel for The Bourne Legacy, for her invaluable role in one of those ambiguously sinister encounters at which this film excels, cutting through the scene like dark glass.
Honorable mentions do not, for the record, include Anne Hathaway in The Dark Knight Rises, Amy Adams in The Master, Sarah Silverman in Take This Waltz, or Samantha Morton in Cosmopolis, all of whom attracted their passionate devotees. I found the first two intriguing but inconsistent, never dispelling my sense of the laudably ambitious performers being miscast; the other two make an impression without, by my count, having all that much to do. This hasn't been a banner category so far this year, which might make the Oscars interesting. I quite liked Rachel Weisz in The Bourne Legacy, balancing the game and the haughty sides of her persona better than most of her roles since Constant Gardener. I wanted to spend more time with her, as I did the bayou teacher and the ambivalent birthday girl that Gina Montana and Kjærsti Odden Skjeldal sketch so briefly but memorably in Beasts of the Southern Wild and Oslo, August 31st, respectively. MyAnna Buring sure made the most of a potentially abrasive or unmemorable part in Kill List. In a different generic universe, the uproarious Kathryn Hahn and Michaela Watkins are magicians with their punchline characters in Wanderlust. One of those ladies would qualify here with just another showcase scene or a slightly elevated degree of difficulty.