5. Samantha Morton in Sweet and Lowdown
Samantha Morton delivers a sweet and endearing performance that stands as the movie's most powerful aspect but the one-dimensional nature of the role ultimately prevents her from becoming truly great.
Best scene: Hattie's and Emmet's final meeting.
4. Toni Collette in The Sixth Sense
Toni Collette gives a strong performance portraying very well her character's conflicted feelings and her big scene towards the end is indeed amazing, but she never quite manages to escape the limitations the script places upon her.
Best scene: "She saw you dance"
3. Angelina Jolie in Girl, Interrupted
Angelina Jolie delivers a magnetic, captivating turn and excellently portrays both the manipulative, cruel side of her character while still showing the underlying desperation that motives her destructive behavior.
Best scene: Lisa verbally attacks Daisy.
2. Catherine Keener in Being John Malkovich
Catherine Keener gives a deliciously entertaining performance thanks to her perfect timing and her brilliant delivery, but she also does a fantastic job as she slowly and progressively humanize the character over the course of the movie.
Best scene: The phone call.
1. Chloe Sevigny in Boys Don't Cry
Despite having the less showy role, Chloe Sevigny leaves an impression that is just as unforgettable as Hilary Swank's. Her Lana is the heart of the movie, and Sevigny characterize her beautifully and delicately while making the haunting brutality of the story even more vivid.
Best scene: Lana refuses to look at Brandon's body.
Honorable Omissions: Despite not having a huge amount of screen-time, Nicole Kidman gives an amazing performance in Eyes Wide Shut, exploring with rawness and viscerality Alice's darkest and deepest desires while still showing the love and affection towards her family that prevents her from actually realizing them. Melora Walters is heartbreaking in Magnolia, portraying very well her character's loneliness, desperation and volatile emotional state; in the same movie, Julianne Moore also leaves a lasting impression and I think that her wildly over-the-top approach works perfectly, as she gives a performance that is at the same time blazingly funny and painfully moving. Helena Bonham Carter gives a terrific performance in Fight Club and she is alluring, grotesque, funny and poignant all at once. Gwyneth Paltrow gives one of her best performances in The Talented Mr. Ripley - she does a terrific job at portraying her tricky character's arc as her feelings towards Tom shift from sympathy to distrust and finally hatred. Cate Blanchett is also quite effective in the movie as she makes the most out of her limited role thanks to her unique charm and grace, making Meredith a surprisingly moving character at times. In her brief screen-time, Sissy Spacek also leaves a strong impact in The Straight Story, making her character's speech impediment and simple-minded nature feel and sound completely nature while developing a warm, touching chemistry with Richard Farnsworth. Mena Suvari is very good in portraying the insecurities behind her seductive appearance in American Beauty, and in the same movie Tora Birch also gives an affecting and memorable performance. Sigourney Weaver is rather entertaining in Galaxt Quest, and Brittany Murphy leaves a very powerful impact with her poignant turn in Girl, Interrupted. Also, while I prefer Keener, Cameron Diaz would have been a worthy nominee too for her natural, funny and touching performance in Being John Malkovich.
The next year: As Luke requested, 2013.
My Best Supporting Actress Ballot:
- Nicole Kidman, Eyes Wide Shut - 5/5
- Melora Walters, Magnolia - 5/5
- Chloe Sevigny, Boys Don't Cry
- Gwyneth Paltrow, The Talented Mr. Ripley - 4.5/5
- Helena Bonham Carter, Fight Club - 4.5/5
- Julianne Moore, Magnolia - 4.5/5
- Sissy Spacek, The Straight Story - 4.5/5
- Catherine Keener, Being John Malkovich
- Angelina Jolie, Girl Interrupted
- Cate Blanchett, The Talented Mr. Ripley - 4/5