Toward predicting Oscar winners, relatively few people are keyed into the prestigious film critics awards. Maria Bakalova won the New York Film Critics Best Supporting Actress in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” Yuh-Jung Youn won the Los Angeles Film Critics Best Supporting Actress in “Minari.”
Bear in mind that film critics don’t track the popularity pulse of “the people.” Critics are not actors and actresses, who do the actual voting for the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards and the Academy Awards. This year, SAG voters agreed with the LA film critics, both picking Yuh-Jung Youn in “Minari.”
Playing the grandma in this Koreans-buy-a-farm-in-Arkansas story, Youn plants a rich, supporting role. However, for Best consideration, she scores more of an ensemble cast contribution than a singled out individual distinction. Cute, she is. Non-white, she is – such is the voting sensitivity in recent years. Oscar winner, she shouldn’t be.
As for Maria Bakalova, I guess the NY film critics got a kick out of her supporting perpetration in the mockumentary “Borat.” Bakalova adds interesting torque, but please, this 3rd and lesser iteration in the Borat series of outrageous satirical fun just isn’t Oscar material. Yes, it is a kick. It hits and misses. Bakalova is effective but an Oscar nomination was a stretch.
Another throwaway nomination says hello in “Mank.” Amanda Seyfried seems largely window dressing in this Hollywood insider story. Pretty, she is. Solid, she is. Oscar winner, no, nothing going here.
The category gets more interesting around Glenn Close and Olivia Colman. Close received her 8th Oscar nomination – 8th – and she’s never won. Colman won an Oscar just 2 years ago, the only other time she was nominated.
Cleverly placed in the Best Supporting contest, Close has a hefty-sized role in “Hillbilly Elegy.” She plays a crusty grandma with a troubled daughter and grandson trying to find their way. The role has Oscar winning personality but without poking constantly with the 8th-nomination-never-won stick, Close is readily beatable.
Olivia Colman is a busy actress doing TV mini-series, perhaps most notably in “The Crown.” In “The Father,” she lifts the role of a daughter coping with her dad’s dementia. She enhances the appreciation for the sapping day to week to month after month of caregiving. Colman brings a rich, regular-person manner to the role that deserves the Oscar but that may keep her from being granted a 2nd Oscar from two nominations in a row.
I’ve changed my mind. The Oscar goes to Yuh Jung Youn in “Minari” for cute and solid, boosted by a timely non-white role.