- Supporting Actress
- Patricia Arquette for Boyhood
- Laura Dern for Wild
- Keira Knightley for The Imitation Game
- Emma Stone for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
- Merle Streep for Into the Woods
As much as I liked Ethan Hawke in Boyhood, it's Patricia Arquette who really gives this movie substance. Especially in the latter years when Ellar Coltrane has grown up into a pretty bad actor, the real drama comes from her, and she nails it. From doting mother to abuse victim/survivor to single mother facing an empty home, Patricia Arquette delivers every facet of motherhood asked of her. It's thanks to her that Coltrane's performance has any value and that Boyhood grew up into a best picture nominee.
I'm sorry, but this is the most boring supporting role this year. Sure, Laura Dern was charming enough, but her character existed primarily for Reese Witherspoon to project onto. It could have been done by a cardboard cutout. I'm glad it wasn't, because Dern was adorable, but there just wasn't enough meat here to get excited about.
Keira Knightly's performance was all very nice, but much like The Imitation Game, it just was a little lacking palpable depth. She was really close at several points, but just missed a phenomenal performance by a nose.
Nice try by Emma Stone, but it's obvious this role gave her nothing to work with. Sure, she played the angsty, early twenties daughter to a cliched T, but can she really be proud of that? Her character is multiple weakest links in a movie that could have been great and was instead pretty good.
Let's be honest, Meryl Streep is up for an award because she's Meryl Streep. There was not a single point in the movie that I thought "oh, good, Streep's back on screen!" Okay, I take that back, whenever little red riding hood sang, I rejoiced at scene changes. I absolutely adore Meryl, but if anyone else gave this exact performance, it would have been forgotten in an instant.
This isn't close. I really wish it was, because there are some really talented women here, and I hate to rag on them. They mostly weren't given anything to work with, though. Keira Knightly had a shot, but just lacked a little push. Laura Dern might have had her character left on the cutting room floor. I don't know. Regardless, it's without a doubt Patricia Arquette.
Will win: Patricia Arquette
Should win: Patricia Arquette