The Worst Best Supporting Actress Winner of Each Decade

These days, it is abundantly well-known that supporting performing performances in motion pictures are important, with a few of historical past’s greatest supporting performances being remembered among the many better of all time, interval. For the primary few years of the Academy Awards‘ existence, solely the Greatest Actor and Greatest Actress awards got out. For the ninth installment of the ceremony in 1937, nevertheless, the Supporting classes had been launched.

With the introduction of the Greatest Supporting Actress class got here one of many strongest lineup of winners in any class within the Oscars‘ historical past. Certainly, it might be a stretch to name any Greatest Supporting Actress-winning efficiency a downright dangerous one. Nonetheless, each decade there’s assured to be at the very least one win with a bittersweet aftertaste, one which inevitably looks like its decade’s weakest.

10 Thirties: Alice Brady

‘In Outdated Chicago’ (1938)

Picture by way of twentieth Century Studios

The Thirties had solely a handful of Greatest Supporting Actress winners, and none of them actually appear to be remembered as all-timers by trendy cinephiles. One is the clear weakest hyperlink on this lineup, nevertheless, and that is Alice Brady from the now obscure musical drama In Outdated Chicago, the place two brothers develop into highly effective figures and ultimately rivals on the eve of Chicago’s Nice Fireplace.

Nobody would name In Outdated Chicago certainly one of the best movies of the ’30s, identical to nobody would name Brady’s work one of many decade’s greatest performances. She’s completely advantageous for what the script asks of her, however Alice Faye‘s efficiency in the identical movie was far superior, and hers would have been a win that will have aged much better.

R (1)

In Outdated Chicago

Launch Date
January 6, 1938

Henry King

Tyrone Energy , Don Ameche

111 Minutes

Rent on Apple TV

9 Forties: Teresa Wright

‘Mrs. Miniver’ (1942)

Teresa Wright in 'Mrs. Miniver'
Picture by way of Loew’s Inc.

The Forties had been a very robust decade for the Greatest Supporting Actress class, providing ten constantly robust and usually fairly underrated performances. Nonetheless, if certainly one of them needed to be labeled because the weakest, Teresa Wright‘s work on Mrs. Miniver, a drama a couple of British household struggling to outlive the beginning of WWII, could be a superb match.

It is exhausting to place an excessive amount of blame on Wright, contemplating how this was solely her second efficiency. Not solely that, however together with her Oscar-nominated Lead Actress function in The Satisfaction of the Yankees (her third efficiency), she grew to become the second actress to get a Lead and Supporting nomination the identical yr. Her work on Mrs. Miniver is earnest and efficient, however lacks the efficiency and endurance that makes performances comparable to Jane Darwell‘s in The Grapes of Wrath stand out among the many different winners of the ’40s.

Mrs. Miniver 1942 Film Poster

Mrs. Miniver (1942)

Launch Date
July 29, 1942

William Wyler

Greer Garson , Walter Pidgeon , Teresa Wright , Might Whitty , Reginald Owen , Henry Travers , Richard Ney , Henry Wilcoxon

134 Minutes

Fundamental Style

Arthur Wimperis , George Froeschel , James Hilton , Claudine West , Jan Struther


8 Nineteen Fifties: Miyoshi Umeki

‘Sayonara’ (1957)

woman with towel around her body bathing a man in a wooden tub
Picture by way of Warner Bros.

Within the epic romantic drama Sayonara, a U.S. Air Drive main in Kobe, Japan confronts his opposition to marriages between American troopers and Japanese girls when he falls for a lovely performer. Miyoshi Umeki performs the Japanese lady who the protagonist’s crew chief marries, a task that turned her into the first-ever Asian actress to win an Oscar.

Whereas Umeki’s win was a pivotal historic achievement that also lives on within the movie historical past books, the truth is that the efficiency does not learn as potently in the present day because it certainly should have again within the late ’50s. Umeki brings coronary heart and soul to a movie in determined want of them, however for the reason that script most frequently makes use of her as little greater than a superficial plot machine, she’s given few probabilities to actually shine.

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7 Sixties: Margaret Rutherford

‘The V.I.P.s’ (1963)

an old lady and a moustached man in elegant clothes, both with hats, in black and white
Picture by way of MGM

Starring as a part of a star-studded ensemble together with the likes of Elizabeth Taylor (who truly additionally provided an unexceptional performance in this same decade), Margaret Rutherford performs a duchess struggling to maintain her household property in The V.I.P.s, a drama exhibiting a wide range of passengers and London’s Heathrow Airport going by way of a second of disaster.

It is all the time robust for performances to shine in ensemble movies as huge as The V.I.P.s, and contemplating how this is among the most forgettable Oscar-winning movies within the class, it is unsurprising that the legendary Margaret Rutherford struggles to face above different Greatest Supporting Actress winners of the ’60s. She’s humorous in what’s typically a comedic reduction efficiency, however her plot line is so boring and poorly structured that occasional laughs are all she’ll be capable of get out of any viewer.

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6 Seventies: Ingrid Bergman

‘Homicide on the Orient Specific’ (1974)

woman being interrogated on a train by a man
Picture by way of Anglo-EMI Movie Distributors

The ’70s’ Murder on the Orient Express is a gem amongst cinematic whodunnits, simply among the best Agatha Christie diversifications and maybe even certainly one of the best mystery films of the twentieth century. It finds a detective on a name to unravel a homicide whereas on a transcontinental luxurious prepare stranded by deep snow.

Homicide on the Orient Specific is crammed to the brim with massive names, from Sean Connery and Lauren Bacall to Albert Finney delivering the right efficiency as Hercule Poirot. Even regardless of being one of many biggest actresses of all time and providing a stable efficiency, Ingrid Bergman by some means will get misplaced amongst all the opposite actors and hardly shines above her co-stars. So, how was it that she received the Supporting Actress Oscar that yr? Name it a thriller, name it a legacy win; the actual fact is that the majority film followers in the present day assume that this was a baffling selection by the Academy.

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5 Eighties: Maureen Stapleton

‘Reds’ (1981)

woman looking consternated to her left
Picture by way of Paramount Photos

Within the ’80s, a stunning variety of actors began making a bounce behind the digital camera to the director’s chair. One such star was Warren Beatty. His sophomore movie, Reds, is a historic epic a couple of radical American journalist who turns into concerned wit the Russian Communist Revolution, hoping to deliver its idealism to the USA.

Reds might be certainly one of the most underrated historical movies of the ’80s, providing — amongst many different issues — a terrific ensemble with nice performances. Nonetheless, of those performances, Maureen Stapleton‘s as Lithuanian revolutionary anarchist Emma Goldman is way from the strongest. Stapleton’s exaggerated mannerisms and line supply do not fairly really feel at residence in Reds, nor amongst distinctive ’80s Supporting Actress winners like Olympia Dukakis in Moonstruck.

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4 Nineties: Kim Basinger

‘L.A. Confidential’ (1997)

Kim Basinger as Lynn Bracket looking stoic in L.A. Confidential.
Picture by way of Warner Bros.

L.A. Confidential is a hard-boiled detective drama like they do not make them anymore, about three policemen in corruption-infected Nineteen Fifties Los Angeles investigating a collection of murders with their very own model of justice. Kim Basinger performs the standard trope of the prostitute with a coronary heart of gold, and although she brings as a lot nuance and emotional layers as she will be able to to the character, hers continues to be essentially the most baffling Supporting Actress win of the ’90s.

It’ll ceaselessly hassle film followers world wide that, in 1998, performances like Gloria Stuart‘s in Titanic and particularly Julianne Moore‘s in Boogie Nights by some means misplaced to Basinger’s. She’s completely okay within the function, however has no scenes the place her efficiency actually comes throughout as Oscar-worthy. L.A. Confidential has many things that make it a great movie, however Basinger is not certainly one of its important strengths.

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3 2000s: Renée Zellweger

‘Chilly Mountain’ (2003)

cold mountain 20030
Picture by way of Miramax

Contemporary off of her Oscar-nominated work in 2001’s Bridget Jones’s Diary and 2002’s Chicago, Renée Zellweger obtained one other Oscar nod the yr after (this time within the Supporting class) for Chilly Mountain. It is a interval drama in an epic scale, telling the story of a wounded soldier embarking on a harmful journey again residence to North Carolina within the waning days of the American Civil Struggle.

To anybody following award season in 2003, Zellweger’s win for Chilly Mountain felt extra like a make-up award to compensate for her back-to-back losses in 2001 and 2002 than a honest reward for her borderline cartoonish work on this film. It is a robust sufficient efficiency that crafts fairly a memorable character, nevertheless it looks like Zellweger attempting her damnedest to lastly get that coveted Oscar gold, which finally makes her work weaker.

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2 2010s: Laura Dern

‘Marriage Story’ (2019)

Laura Dern and Scarlett Johansson in Marriage Story looking to their left while sitting next to each other.
Picture by way of Netflix

The 2010s had loads of excellent Supporting Actress winners, in addition to a number of forgettable ones. Probably the most weird wins within the class this decade was Laura Dern‘s for enjoying fierce divorce lawyer Nora Fanshaw in Marriage Story, a beautiful yet heartbreaking film a couple of marriage breaking apart and a household struggling to remain collectively.

The movie is among the better of the 2010s; earnest, incisive, loving, and filled with coronary heart. Dern’s efficiency is completely advantageous for what the script asks of her, nevertheless it’s far too easy and one-note to face out as among the best of the 2010s — and even simply of 2019. Dern herself was far superior that very same yr in Greta Gerwig‘s Little Women, a efficiency which wasn’t even nominated, nor one of the best of 2019.

Marriage Story

Launch Date
September 28, 2019

Noah Baumbach


Fundamental Style

Watch on Netflix

1 2020s: Jamie Lee Curtis

‘All the pieces All over the place All At As soon as’ (2022)

Jamie Lee Curtis as IRS Auditor Deirdre Beaubeirdre, holding up a form and looking frustrated in Everything Everywhere All At Once
Picture by way of A24

When it looks like an actor is given an Oscar not a lot as a result of they delivered an distinctive efficiency, however due to a shining trajectory and being perceived as “overdue” for an Academy Award, that known as a legacy Oscar. Such was arguably the case when Jamie Lee Curtis received a Supporting Actress award in 2023 for Everything Everywhere All At Once, a sci-fi journey comedy a couple of middle-aged immigrant lady who has to hook up with parallel lives she may have led with a view to save actuality.

Curtis is nice because the grumpy IRS agent who’s thrown into the protagonist’s misadventures. She could be humorous, intimidating, and deeply emotional. Nonetheless, what she does in All the pieces All over the place could not be additional away from being Oscar-worthy materials. It is too superficial and restricted a bit of labor to warrant an Oscar win, with Stephanie Hsu giving an infinitely higher efficiency in the identical film.

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NEXT: 10 Women With the Most Oscar Wins

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