There are 134 eligible performances for the SAG Awards Best Actor category. Compare that to 76 for Best Actress. The disparity in the supporting categories is greater: 261 to 156.

For that reason, my predictions in the supporting actress category haven’t changed much.

Keira Knightley is my top pick. Anyone who can provoke a critic to say that a movie should be devoted to Joan Clarke, whom Knightley plays, has to be good. (Never mind that it’s a pretty lame comment.) In a layered performance, Knightley is compassionate but feisty as Clarke. In Clarke, Alan Turing finds humanity, hers and his own. A relationship full of complex emotions and humorous outcomes, the chemistry between Benedict Cumberbatch and Knightley glues the movie together.

The controversy with Jessica Chastain’s contractual obligations to Interstellar may compromise her nomination for that movie. But it might help her secure one for A Most Violent Year. She’s excellent in both. More feisty in Interstellar, she suppresses her grit in Violent Year, letting it unfold gradually. She’s just not given much to do in the Chandor movie. While she’s in the supporting actress category for the Nolan movie, Chastain’s character is more essential to the plot. Violent Year is also late to the awards race, and Paramount is going all out for Interstellar.

Patricia Arquette was talked about for the Best Actress category when Boyhood came out. So it was a surprise to find her listed as supporting. She’s a sure-thing to make the cut. Despite the problems with the meandering story, the gimmick, and the length, Arquette ‘s character is the spine of the movie. Vulnerable and ill-equipped for motherhood, that her character brings her children to adulthood is a win.

I was harsh in my review for Into the Woods. It was justified because with the property comes a lot of expectations. But the actors are very good. While director Rob Marshall undercuts the humor, Streep is magnificently self-absorbed as the Witch. Always game for exposing her inner flaws, the actress doesn’t need makeup or CG effects to make her horrifyingly wicked.

I rotate between three actresses to fill the fifth spot: Adriana Barraza (Cake), Laura Dern (Wild) and Rene Russo (Nightcrawler). All are wonderful, but the first two aren’t given much to do whereas Russo really puts a stamp on her formidable talent. Underrated because she’s a supermodel-turned action-hero star, with her must-win at all costs new director Russo lets to the surface the ugliness of her character caked under over-glamorized makeup.

Other actresses that made an impression were Tilda Swinton in Snowpiercer, Naomi Watts in St. Vincent and Birdman, Emily Watson in Belle, Emma Stone in Birdman, Vanessa Redgrave in Foxcatcher, and Kim Dickens in Gone Girl. Their parts weren’t as integral to their respective movies as the others.

Predictions: Knightley, Chastain (Interstellar), Arquette, Streep, Russo.

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