Jennifer Lawrence | American Hustle
In the Best Supporting Actress field, we have Julia Roberts (August: Osage County), Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle), June Squibb (Nebraska), and, finally, Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave). I should preface my pick in this category by saying that I still need to see both August: Osage County and Blue Jasmine, but I have seen American Hustle, Nebraska, and 12 Years a Slave.
While Lupita Nyong’o has received critical praise and numerous awards for her works in 12 Years a Slave, I found her and the entire film to be a little underwhelming. To me, most of the characters within 12 Years felt more like Steve McQueen’s puzzle pieces that he pushed around in order to create a “work of art” rather than actual human beings, and, personally, that disconnected me from a lot of the performances in the film, specifically Nyong’o.
June Squibb is pretty outstanding in Nebraska, as the feisty wife of Bruce Dern. She garners many laughs during the film, while also providing it with a strong emotional center that goes past the father-son focus of the movie. Squibb is able to show the dedication and commitment of a woman who may have never truly “fell in love” with her husband, in the passionate, romantic way that all people hope to, but she still possesses enough compassion and understanding for this man that over the decades they have been together, she has grown to love him.
Despite Squibb’s fantastic performance, the best supporting actress of the year for me is Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle. Lawrence has been the target of a lot of unearned backlash as of late, with people claiming that she’s overrated and too young to have the chance to take home her second Academy Award this year at only the age of 23. However, no matter who Lawrence is playing, whether it’s Rosalyn in American Hustle or Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook or Katniss in The Hunger Games, I never think about her look or her age, because her performances are always dripping with remarkable authenticity.
To me, Lawrence stole the show in American Hustle, not because of her showy, theatrical moments, but because underneath all the craziness of Rosalyn, I still connected and understood her character. Lawrence made me feel for a woman so detached from reality, from consequences, through the sadness in her eyes or the flirtatiousness of her smile. Lawrence was able to not only play the part of this character and make her believable, but fully become her and make her a complex, authentic human being in only a few short scenes. And, damn, if that doesn’t deserve an Oscar, I really don’t know what does.