Best Supporting Actress 2003

1998 through 2007

Best Supporting Actress 2003

Shohreh Aghdashloo - House of Sand and Fog
Patricia Clarkson - Pieces of April
Marcia Gay Harden - Mystic River
Holly Hunter - Thirteen
Renee Zellweger - Cold Mountain
No votes
Total votes: 44

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Postby Damien » Fri Dec 03, 2010 3:15 am

There are five talented actresses in this group, and there are three really bad performances here. I have liked Marcia Gay Harden a lot both in films and on stage, but she overdoes it horribly in Mystic River -- you might think this was 1957 and she was a New York Method actress making her film debut. (This is a rarity -- a lousy performance in a Clint Eastwood picture)

Pieces of April is a dreary, shoddy little movie, a less-than-negligible waste of celluloid. Its facile cynicism eventually gives way to equally facile sentimentality and Patricia Clarkson's performance fits right into it.

Renee Zellweger is even worse. I don't know what the hell to make of this performance. Mammy Yokum meets Ellie May Clampett. It's so awful that for months, David Letterman would suddenly interrupt his show by playing a line of her dialogue from the movie. Clearly a make up award for losing Best Actress the previous year, and one of the more embarrassing victories in Oscar annals.

Holly Hunter is both scary and funny in Thirteen and seems to be living as the character rather than enacting her. At the same time, there's not a great deal of depth to the woman she is portraying.

Shohreh Aghdashloo is very fine in The House of Sand and Fog, but the two great performances in the movie came from two people about whom I previously had nothing positive to say, Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly.

It's Hunter's brio vs. Aghdashloo's understated dignity. Tough call, but I remember Aghdashloo's work more vividly, so I'll go with her.

My Own Top 5:
1. Laura Linney in Love Actually
2. Suzanne Flon in The Flower Of Evil
3. Catherine O’Hara in A Mighty Wind
4. Chlöe Sevigny in demonlover
5. Natalie Portman in Cold Mountain

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Postby anonymous1980 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 1:51 am

I shall refrain from voting this year because I haven't seen three of the performances. But I do know I really, really disliked Renee Zellweger in Cold Mountain. It's an often unintentionally hilarious performance and I hear they changed the race of her character. In the book, she's a Mulatto. I guess if they hired an actual African-American/biracial actress, the role would definitely come off as a bit racist/Mammy type character. It's clearly a We're-Sorry-You-Lost-For-Chicago vote.

The only other nominee I saw was Harden who I prefer, of course.

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Postby Reza » Fri Dec 03, 2010 1:04 am

What a limp year for supporting performances with Aghdashloo's heart breaking performance head and shoulders above the competition.

My top picks of 2003:

Shohreh Aghdashloo, The House of Sand and Fog
Emma Thompson, Love, Actually
Maria Bello, The Cooler
Patricia Clarkson, Pieces of April
Marcia Gay Harden, Mystic River

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Postby Kova » Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:38 am

Wow, Magilla. I can't say I know where all the vitriol comes from--this lineup isn't exactly inspired, but, in terms of overall quality, it's in keeping with previous years (and far better, I think, than the nadir of 2000).

Anyway, I agree that Aghdashloo is the best here. Her film is an overwrought shame, but she and Kingsley have a few riveting moments together.

My #2 pick would be Clarkson. Pieces of April has to be one of the most forgettable films to ever be nominated for a major Oscar, but she's very effective with her usual blend of toughness and tenderness. It's difficult to believe this is still her only nod.

I suppose I would put Hunter at #3. On the one hand, I don't remember her character having much of an arc (this was the Crazy Teen Show, after all). On the other, I admire her commitment to Hardwicke's "vision"--these kinds of indie collaborations don't typically register with the Academy.

I will admit to loving Zellweger in both Bridget Jones's Diary and Chicago. The love stopped with Cold Mountain. I don't think I hated her work here as much as (I'm guessing) others did--her performance never even registered with me because I was so distracted by her (and Kidman's) unfortunate casting (as I recall, RZ's character is way, way younger in the novel).

I agree with Magilla: Harden is distractingly mannered in Mystic River. I can't believe Eastwood, of all directors, let her get away with it.

My personal pick was Sarah Bolger from In America. There are several things about that film I detest, but she is quite luminous. Wonder what happened to her.

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Postby FilmFan720 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:34 am

I have to agree that I think this is one of the most interesting lineups of the decade, and one I like quite a bit.

Renee Zellweger is the weak link in the line-up. She is certainly having fun in the film, but for an actress I like a lot, this is just too forced of a performance. There isn't a moment in the film where you can't feel her "acting."

Marcia Gay Harden is certainly good in Mystic River, although from what I remember about her character I didn't find a lot for her to do. This is the case of a previous winner riding the wave of her film's love. I am probably alone in liking Laura Linney a lot better in the the time her big reveal comes about, the film has been pushed so far to the extremes that the twist may be ridiculous, but at least she sells in 110%. She is better this year in Love Actually.

I like Pieces of April quite a bit as a film, and I love Patricia Clarkson in it. She is funny and smarmy, and her confession in the car is a wonderful moment. She also is better in The Station Agent, but for her one nomination, I won't complain about it being for this.

Holly Hunter would be a worthy winner for thirteen. The role is somewhat in her wheelhouse, but she pushes the boundaries of the character just enough, keeping it grounding and believable in a film that always teeters on the edge. However, she is up against Shoreh Aghadashloo, who was a revelation in House of Sand and Fog. A truly remarkable performance, and an actress who I keep hoping will get another great role soon (although her turn on 24 was also award-worthy)

My Top 5:
1. Shoreh Aghdashloo, House of Sand and Fog
2. Laura Linney, Love Actually
3. Allison Lohmann, Matchstick Men
4. Holly Hunter, thirteen
5. Anna Kendrick, Camp
A very close sixth: Catherine O'Hara, A Mighty Wind

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Postby Sabin » Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:28 am

I second everything that Daniel said about Clarkson, Harden, and especially Zellweger. I will say that I was a very big fan of Harden's performance at the time but like everything in Mystic River (save Kevin Bacon's performance) it doesn't hold up.

I've already voted for Holly Hunter twice. I'll cast my vote for Aghdashloo.

My picks:
1. Hope Davis, The Secret Lives of Dentists
2. Catherine O'Hara, A Mighty Wind
3. Hope Davis, American Splendor
4. Alison Lohman, Matchstick Men
5. Emma Thompson, Love Actually

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Postby Eric » Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:25 am

This may be one of those cases where the Oscar winner comes in dead last (or thereabouts) in voting here.

It's high crime that Emma Thompson couldn't make this lineup. I daresay she would've won had she been included.

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Postby dws1982 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:09 am

Hmmm...I actually like this lineup, which is odd, since I think 2003 is far and away the lowpoint of my life as a moviegoer. (I wasn't a moviegoer during some of those awful years in the 80's.)

Patricia Clarkson is a very good actress, so it's disappointing (but typical) that her one Oscar nomination would be for a performance that didn't deserve any recognition. Renee Zellweger has fun in Cold Mountain, playing a character who's playing a character, but it's not exactly award worthy. Marcia Gay Harden kind of falls into a great performance in Mystic River; It's not her best work, and her mannerisms are pretty apparent at times, but the cumulative effect is powerful, and her final scene packs a punch.

Shohreh Aghdashloo is excellent in a part that's pretty much jerry-rigged for sympathy. I know a lot of people who thought that she was the only worthwhile thing about the movie; I thought Kingsley and Connelley were every bit her equal. I've got to vote for Holly Hunter though. Thirteen is a mess, which is kind of appropriate, but Hunter gives it the grounding and the restraint that it needs. Just watching Holly Hunter's scenes in Thirteen, I might think it's some kind of great movie. She gets my vote.

My picks for 2003:
1- Laura Linney, Love Actually
2- Holly Hunter, Thirteen
3- Emma Thompson, Love Actually
4- Altagracia Guzman, Raising Victor Vargas
5- Natalie Portman, Cold Mountain

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Postby Big Magilla » Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:41 pm

What an absolute bunch of crap lineup - easily the worst ever.

The only award Renee Zellweer should have been up for for that hideous nonsense she pulled in Cold Mountain was a Razzie. How the other actors could keep a straight face when she went into one of her rants I don't know. Her award was a clear case of giving it for the most acting, not the best.

Patricia Clarkson gave a lovely performance this year, but it was in The Station Agent, not Pieces of April.

Nothing and no one connected with the ghastly Thirteen should have been nominated for anything, and that includes Holly Hunter.

Marica Gay Harden's irritating character in Mystic River was just that...irritating.

Only the superb Shohreh Aghdashloo deserved her nomination for bringing dignity and class to House of Sand and Fog, a film that sorely needed it.

It's outrageous that most of these actresses were nominated in a year when there were clear alternatives - Clarkson in her other film; Maria Bello, better than supporting actor nominee Alec Baldwin in The Cooler; Hope Davis at her absolute best in American Splendor; Emma Thompson at her most charming in Love Actually and those sweet Bolger sisters, Sarah and Emma in In America, though it's difficult to vote for one without the other.

Still, Agdashloo would have been the standout no matter who they might have nominated. She easily gets my vote.
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