(Welcome to the Oscar Guide, your chaperone through the Academy’s 24 categories awarding excellence in film. A new installment will hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 24, with the Best Picture finale on Friday, February 22.)
I’ve loved this Oscar season. Most categories are genuine races. Even in some where there is not much of a race (Best Actor, Best Original Song, Best Visual Effects), the frontrunner is so exceptional and/or it's such a delight to see the other nominees there that the category is a delight to watch nonetheless. As for Best Supporting Actress? Wake me up when this is over. There is no category about which I care less this year.
The nominations stage was mildly interesting. A frontrunner emerged. As the race went on, it became apparent that the “second and third” (my ranking -- it might not have panned out like this) contenders were former winners who in the recent past everyone assumed would never be nominated again. In fourth, we have an actress who has had a remarkable run in recent years while the last slot was taken by a likable actress who managed to work another difficult-to-come-by Oscar nod from two years ago into a lovable part in a beloved film. The resulting lineup of five previous nominees is a first in this category. The race now becomes quite boring as we wait for the inevitable crowning of a princess.
The nominees are…