Supporting Actress Smackdown: The Final Wind-Up

The final season of the Supporting Actress Smackdown approaches this summer. With the schedule announcement arriving this month, I wanted to do a larger buildup for the last-ever season, getting a wider sample of potential supporting actress contenders from the selected years before the ceremony starts in earnest. And here we are, with me slightly ahead of my normal pace with tracking down write-up candidates, and with more room to feel around for outside-the-box contenders and stellar films that don’t recommend themselves on actressing.

The upper list of names under each year denotes the performances I’ve already seen (with the ^ marking the folks who I believe straddle the lead-supporting line), while the lower list is all the performances I’m interested in tracking down. I’m not promising to watch all of those films, but they’re up for consideration, and I’m curious to hear who y’all think I should prioritize, who I should write about, whose absence is most egregious, and so on. Lemme know what you think, and I look forward to joining y’all for this final celebration of actressing on the edges! Remember you heard it here first, dear readers. Off the record, on the QT, and very hush-hush.

Edit: I have updated this list to include the actual Supporting Actress lineups for each year, and will be crossing off each name as I see them.


  • Joan Blondell, The Blue Veil
  • Mildred Dunnock, Death of a Salesman
  • Lee Grant, Detective Story
  • Kim Hunter, A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Thelma Ritter, The Mating Season
  • Donna Corcoran, Angels in the Outfield
  • Nina Foch, An American in llParis
  • Peggy Ann Garner, Teresa
  • Janet Leigh, Angels in the Outfield^
  • Kasey Rogers, Strangers on a Train
  • Selena Royle, He Ran All the Way
  • Jan Sterling, Ace in the Hole
  • Shelley Winters, He Ran All the Way^
  • The Ensemble, La Ronde
  • Bright Victory, Nana Bryant
  • Daughter of Deceit, Alicia Caro
  • David and Bathsheba, Jayne Meadows
  • Fourteen Hours, The Ensemble
  • The Mating Season, Miriam Hopkins
  • The Model and the Marriage Broker, Nancy Kulp
  • A Place in the Sun, Anne Revere
  • Show Boat, Ava Gardner
  • St. Benny and the Dip, Jean Casto
  • Westward the Women, The Ensemble


  • Kim Basinger, L.A. Confidential
  • Joan Cusack, In & Out
  • Minnie Driver, Good Will Hunting
  • Julianne Moore, Boogie Nights
  • Gloria Stuart, Titanic
  • Joan Allen, Face/Off
  • Cameron Diaz, My Best Friend’s Wedding
  • Susan Egan, Hercules
  • Alison Elliott, The Wings of the Dove
  • Frances Fisher, Titanic
  • Bridget Fonda, Jacking Brown
  • Joanna Gleason, Boogie Nights
  • Heather Graham, Boogie Nights
  • Laurie Metcalf, Scream 2
  • Debbi Morgan, Eve’s Bayou
  • Gwyneth Paltrow, Hard Eight
  • Jada Pinkett, Scream 2
  • Sarah Polley, The Sweet Hereafter^
  • Charlotte Rampling, The Wings of the Dove
  • Nathalie Richards, Irma Vep
  • Gabrielle Rose, The Sweet Hereafter
  • Deborah Kara Unger, Crash^
  • Michelle Yeoh, Tomorrow Never Dies
  • The Ensemble, Female Perversions
  • The Apostle, Farah Fawcett and Miranda Richardson
  • As Good As It Gets, Shirley Knight
  • Cop Land, Janeane Garafalo and Annabella Sciorra
  • Donnie Brasco, Anne Heche
  • The Full Monty, Lesley Sharpe
  • The Ice Storm, Sigourney Weaver
  • In the Company of Men, Stacy Edwards
  • Junk Mail, Eli Ann Linnestad
  • The Lost Highway, Patricia Arquette
  • Margaret’s Museum, Kate Nelligan
  • Wag the Dog, Anne Heche
  • Waiting for Guffmann, The Ensemble


  • Cate Blanchett, The Aviator
  • Laura Linney, Kinsey
  • Virginia Madsen, Sideways
  • Sophie Okonedo, Hotel Rwanda
  • Natalie Portman, Closer
  • Joan Allen, The Bourne Supremacy
  • Heather Craney, Vera Drake
  • Anaïs Demoustier, Time of the Wolf^
  • Kirsten Dunst, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Daryl Hannah, Kill Bill Vol. 2
  • Sally Hawkins, Vera Drake
  • Anne Heche, Birth
  • Holly Hunter, The Incredibles^
  • Helen Kim, Kill Bill Vol. 2
  • Sandra Oh, Sideways
  • The Ensemble, I Heart Huckabees
  • The Ensemble, Maria Full of Grace
  • The Ensemble, Mean Girls
  • Blissfully Yours, Jenjira Jansuda
  • Dogville, The Ensemble
  • Finding Neverland, Julie Christie
  • Goodbye, Lenin!, Kathrin Sass
  • Hero, Maggie Cheung
  • The Manchurian Candidate, Meryl Streep
  • The Notebook, Gena Rowlands
  • Ray, The Ensemble
  • Saved!, Mandy Moore
  • Since Otar Left, Dinara Drukarova
  • Spanglish, Cloris Leachman
  • Straight-Jacket, Veronica Cartwright
  • We Don’t Live Here Anymore, Laura Dern

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