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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

January 19, 2010 at 11:30 AM

The year’s best supporting actresses — Mo’Nique, and more

So, did you watch the Globes? Were you a little disappointed by Ricky Gervais? I was; I thought he could/should have been funnier, though I did appreciate the irreverence. (“The Golden Globe is something that can’t be bought. Officially.”) Ah well. Meryl Streep’s speech and Sandra Bullock’s purple see-through gown, which appeared to made from the kind of cellophane you find in Easter baskets, almost made up for it.
There were a few surprise winners on Sunday night, but not in the supporting actor categories — everyone’s been saying that those two awards belonged to Christoph Waltz (“Inglourious Basterds”) and Mo’Nique (“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire”), and indeed they did. They’re sure to get Oscar nominations, and almost sure to win; so much so that there’s little drama in those categories this year. And they are, of course, absolutely deserving. But it made me think about a few under-the-radar supporting performances this year. Here are just a few women (we’ll get to the men later) who are pretty certain not to be nominated, but who briefly lit up the screen this year . . .
— Blanco Portillo, so delicately walking the line between melodrama and poignance as a woman carefully hiding love in “Broken Embraces”
— Rosamund Pike, seemingly floating somewhere above the other actors as an exquisitely airheaded party girl in “An Education”
— Catherine Keener, who has perhaps the single most moving close-up of the year in “Where the Wild Things Are” — a perfect picture of a mother’s love
— Reiko Kikuchi, hilariously stealing the movie while speaking barely a word as a (mostly) silent explosives expert in “The Brothers Bloom”
— Ginnifer Goodwin, channelling screwball charm in “He’s Just Not That Into You”
— Kristin Scott Thomas as the wickedly brittle boss-from-hell (has she met Miranda Priestly?) in “Confessions of a Shopaholic”
— Alycia Delmore, wise and vulnerable as a young wife in the middle of an unexpected triangle in the local film “Humpday”
— Carrie Preston, squealing about “the children, and their little hearts . . .” in “Duplicity”
— Anna Kendrick, not for “Up in the Air” (because that terrific performance is definitely not under the radar) but for “New Moon,” where she leaves the other actors in the dust with her own perfect, dazzlingly funny version of teenspeak
— Julie Christie, who in about five minutes in “New York, I Love You” breaks our hearts and mends them again
— Patricia Clarkson in “Whatever Works,” for redeeming an otherwise pretty awful movie with deliciously honeyed charm
— Elle Fanning, who reminded us in “Phoebe in Wonderland” that great performances can come at any age
— Helen Mirren in “State of Play,” just because.
And who are your favorites?

The great Helen Mirren, in “State of Play” (photo credit Glen Wilson, copyright 2009 Universal Pictures), presumably telling Rachel McAdams or Russell Crowe to bugger off.

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