PGCMAs: Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor (2014)

Posted: February 8, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson PGCMA 2014*The above image represents 2013’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood: Patricia Arquette hasn’t really done anything substantial in a long time, but god damn did she re-establish herself with Boyhood. Arquette’s performance as the struggling single mother is very honest and she delivers some of the film’s most heart breaking moments. It’s also very satisfying to see her go from a struggling young woman to a seasoned professional, albeit still with doubts.

Carmen Ejogo, Selma: This is actually Carmen Ejogo’s second time playing Coretta Scott King as she previously tacked the role in the TV film Boycott. I can’t speak for her performance in that film, but she is fantastic in Selma as a wife who needs to be supporting and loving, but also concerned over what her husband’s work is doing to the family.

Agata Kulesza, Ida: There are two essential roles to Ida: the title character and her aunt. Kulesza plays the latter; an eccentric and brash but secretly lonely and hurt woman trying to survive in the world. The character keeps a strong appearance, but Kulesza subtly reveals a lot of depth and pain through her role. Beyond that, she just makes for a memorable screen presence.

Rene Russo, Nightcrawler: When we first meet Nina, she seems a strong and ruthless woman who knows her business and knows it well. This is maintained throughout, but as the film goes we start to see deeper shades of weakness and insecurity. Russo captures all of this masterfully, delivering a very strong and memorable turn.

Emma Stone, Birdman: Emma Stone has been one of Hollywood’s most popular actresses for the last few years, but her work in Birdman transcends everything she’s done previously. In just a few scenes, Stone crafts a character who seems smart and capable, but also someone who’s recovering from some poor life decisions. She also pulls her own against some heavyweight performances and even dominates a scene or two herself.

And the winner is…

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Patricia Arquette, BoyhoodBoyhood

Arquette became my frontrunner for this award immediately after seeing Boyhood and despite the many great performances I saw following, none really shook the notion that this was Arquette’s award. Despite being a side character, she does act as the movie’s emotional core and many of the film’s core themes are expressed through her. More importantly, Arquette just delivers a very nuanced and real performance which really resonates.

Best Supporting Actor

Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice: Comedic performances are often overlooked, in part because comparing comedy to drama is inherently difficult. However there is no overlooking Brolin’s towering work in Inherent Vice. The man steals damn near every scene he’s in and really throws himself into this bizarre and aggressive character.

Steve Carell, Foxcatcher: Speaking of comedy, much has been made of Steve Carell’s dramatic turn in Foxcatcher. Thankfully, this is not a case of a comedic actor making a desperate attempt to break into drama. This in fact a very creepy and unnerving portrayal of a dangerous and damaged person losing the grip on reality even further. Carell uses his usual awkward stick and subverts it to create a very frightening picture of madness and power.

Ethan Hawke, Boyhood: Ethan Hawke has been working with Richard Linklater for some time, and in some ways his work in Boyhood is a very natural extension of his work in the Before trilogy. Hawke is very likable early on as the “cool dad” type, and he also transforms into a responsible adult in a really effective and simple way.

Edward Norton, Birdman: As the diva-esque actor Mike Shiner, Norton needs to act as a spoiled brat while still maintaining the integrity of a truly seasoned and accomplished actor. He excels in the role, bringing the right amount of pretension for a part like this, as well as really running with the characters more dickish behaviour.

J.K. Simmons, Whiplash: The role of the yelling instructor could have been horribly clichéd and simplistic, but in Simmons hands the role becomes something a lot stronger. Simmons dominates every scene he’s in with full conviction, playing someone who can be harsh and brutal, but also genuinely means well (for the most part) in his own way.

And the winner is…

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J.K. Simmons, Whiplashwhiplash_poster_1

There may have been more multi-faceted and layered performances, but no actor thoroughly embodied their role the way J.K. Simmons does in Whiplash. He’s an intelligent man who genuinely believes in his art, but also a frightening and very intense character. It’s an unforgettable turn which is guaranteed to leave an impression.

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