Taraji P. Henson and Danielle Brooks could shake up the Supporting Actress category, which also includes contenders including Da'Vine Joy Randolph and Emily Blunt.
Among the many disappointments in Oscars history, the Academy paying dust to the 1985 cast of The Color Purple — including Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Margaret Avery — remains a particularly glaring misstep. Director Blitz Bazawule's upcoming musical adaptation of Alice Walker's literary classic stands to correct that, with its leading lady and supporting stars likely spinning The Color Purple into Oscars gold at the 2024 ceremony.
Though the film has yet to screen at any major festivals (which wasn't a problem for future Best Picture contenders such as American Sniper or Selma, both of which held until AFI Fest in November 2014), early rumblings suggest that Taraji P. Henson and Danielle Brooks could shake up the Supporting Actress bracket, with potential nominations for the same characters played by Avery and Winfrey in the Steven Spielberg-directed version.
Henson has the Oscars pedigree to make her a contender on paper alone (she has one prior nod, for 2008's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), and Brooks is also a favorite among actors, with three SAG Awards for her ensemble work on Orange Is the New Black. Brooks, however, earned a Tony nomination for her performance in The Color Purple on stage, which bodes well for her chances with the Academy as she translates the story from stage to screen.
Mainstay contenders who've hovered around the conversation from the start of the season remain — Emily Blunt (Oppenheimer), Julianne Moore (May December), Sandra Hüller (The Zone of Interest), and Jodie Foster (Nyad) — with Blunt having Best Picture-fueling power carrying her into the category, and Moore's prestigious track record and standing in Hollywood bolstering her bid.
While the international vote should never be discounted as the Academy continues to diversify and welcome in members from global communities (hence recent nominations for directors like Thomas Vinterberg and Paweł Pawlikowski), Hüller is most likely an outlier here as acting branch members send their goodwill to her in Best Actress for Anatomy of a Fall and make room in Supporting Actress for a more recognizable name.
There are potential spoilers to consider, too. Rosamund Pike — peppered throughout Emerald Fennell's Saltburn — is deliciously campy as the matriarch of a privileged English clan. Though, if her far superior work as a lead in 2020's I Care a Lot couldn't register on Academy radar, this performance might not, either. She'll need a late-breaking surge of support for the sublime Saltburn to kick up in the weeks ahead if she's going to go along for the ride, but the Academy's dwindling (yet still powerful) older crowd might (foolishly) be too repulsed by some of the film's more shocking scenes to consider voting for its performers.
And then there's Rachel McAdams, the heart and soul of Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret, an under-appreciated adaptation of author Judy Blume's beloved novel that tanked at the box office, but did net its supporting star a nomination at the Gotham Awards last month. That's not saying much, but it is proof that some people on the outskirts of the race have McAdams on their minds, so hope is not entirely lost for her.
For now, we're betting on either Henson or Brooks to bag the big prize, with Randolph, Blunt, and Moore rounding out the 2024 Best Supporting Actress lineup.
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