My 2021 Year in Review series continues today by taking a look at the best supporting actress performances of the year.
I like full transparency in my ballots that I turn into the Music City Film Critic Association and the North American Film Critic Association. I get three picks per category, so my top three are the ones I submitted and the other two are the rest of my list for the year.
Best Supporting Actress
- Ann Dowd, Mass
As the same with the Supporting Actor category, Dowd easily slide into my number one spot here for her earth shattering performance in Mass. It was the final moment of that film that still sits with me till this day that haunts me.
- Caitríona Balfe, Belfast
From my review: Balfe carries the emotional weight of the entire film on her shoulders. We see her as the more reserved wife early on, but as her cubs become more and more in danger, the aggressive side of Ma comes forward. Balfe takes this on full steam and delivers. She shows the audience her love and compassion, but at the same time, the depths she will go to protect the ones she loves. One scene in particular rips your heart into a million pieces, she is THAT good.
- Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard
Like Balfe, Ellis played that Momma role in King Richard to the Williams sisters. We talk so much about Will Smith in this film and rightfully so, but Ellis as Brandy is the backbone needed to counteract the sometimes overbearing Richard Williams. I don’t even hate the idea of her winning the Oscar.
- Ariana DeBose, West Side Story
Throughout this movie, there are subtle moments that leave you in awe of DeBose’s work. In the third act, she emotionally brings so much to the table that she stands bright even in a weak film. DeBose is a contender, not just in my eyes, but she should be when Oscar nominations are announced.
- Martha Plimpton, Mass
I have watched this movie four times and each time I battle with myself between Plimpton and Dowd, who give the better performance. I think it’s always that last scene that gets me and puts Dowd over the top. Plimpton is equally as remarkable in this movie and should be recognized for her work.
Honorable Mentions: Ruth Negga (Passing), Saniyya Sidney (King Richard) and Naomie Harris (Swan Song)