Best Supporting Actress 2014: Oprah Winfrey for Selma

84th Academy Awards
A photo of Oprah Winfrey with her Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).

Oscar History: One nomination and one Governors Award
Nominated: Best Actress in a Supporting Role for The Color Purple (1985)
Won: Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award (2011)

Oscar Present?
Role: “Annie Lee Cooper, a 54-year-old woman who punched the notoriously racist county sheriff Jim Clark after he denied her the right to register to vote” (via The Guardian)

Awards: N/A
Nominations: N/A

Festivals: N/A

Why? Winfrey missed out for Lee Daniels’ The Butler last year, but Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) nods showed that she had her supporters. Her producing gigs here and on The Hundred-Foot Journey further emphasize her desire to get back into film – whether it’s in front of or behind the camera. Her role is apparently small, but Beatrice Straight, Judi Dench, Anne Hathaway won this category for brief performances…

Why not? But will Winfrey be the obvious standout? She couldn’t get in for her front-and-center performance in The Butler. Voters might prefer other actresses in SelmaCarmen Ejogo and Tessa Thompson are both rising stars (the latter also has this year’s Dear White People); comedian Niecy Nash goes against type; and character actor Lorraine Toussaint is getting her due in the industry between this and Netflix’s Orange is the New Black.

Ranking: No. 13 as of Aug. 27, 2014

More on the competition:
Best Actress in a Supporting Role 2014

See also (pages coming soon):
Best Picture 2014: Selma (more)
Best Director 2014: Ava DuVernay for Selma (more)
Best Actor 2014: David Oyelowo for Selma (more)
Best Supporting Actress 2014: Carmen Ejogo for Selma (more)
Best Supporting Actress 2014: Niecy Nash for Selma (more)
Best Supporting Actor 2014: Tim Roth for Selma (more)
Best Supporting Actor 2014: Keith Stanfield for Selma (more)
Best Supporting Actor 2014: Tom Wilkinson for Selma (more)
Best Original Screenplay 2014: Ava DuVernay and Paul Webb for Selma (more)

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