An In-Depth Look at A Star Is Born's Best Supporting Actress Contenders


The Academy Awards are about four-and-a-half months away, which means it’s time we talk about who! will! win! the! awards! Before it’s too late!

According to speculation, A Star Is Born is poised to rack up several Oscar nominations. The film, which Deadline reports took home more than $40 million at the box office during opening weekend, is an obvious lock for a Best Original Song nod—maybe even two, if Jezebel reporter Hazel Cills ends up being right about the closing song “I’ll Never Love Again” rivaling the trailer-made-ubiquitous “Shallow.”

Bradley Cooper has a good shot at Best Director, per Business Insider’s Jason Guerrasio. Cooper has an equally good chance at a Best Actor nomination, says The Wrap’s Steve Pond. Pond also calls Lady Gaga a likely Best Actress nominee, and Sam Elliott is sure to get nominated for Best Supporting Actor, according to Vanity Fair. No one really understands what’s up with Best Popular Film, so let’s skip that for now and focus on Best Picture, which Forbes’ Scott Mendelson says is “A Star Is Born’s to lose.”

Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor—if these predictions prove correct, A Star is Born will be up for every single one of the 2019 Academy Awards’ major categories……… except for one: Best Supporting Actress.

Why isn’t anyone talking about A Star Is Born’s chances at nabbing a Best Supporting Actress nomination? Is it because screenwriters Cooper, Eric Roth, and Will Fetters only wrote one dynamic, fully rounded female character into their script and it’s Lady Gaga’s Ally? Orrrrrr is it because the media is sexist and refuses to acknowledge the work of all the non-Gaga women scattered throughout A Star Is Born’s two hour and 17 minute runtime? Surely, it is the second thing I said, which is why I shall now correct this industry-wide injustice by making the case for some of the film’s most likely Best Supporting Actress contenders.

(Note: Although RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Shangela is one of the movie’s biggest scene stealers slash obvious breakout star, I’m not including her below because she’s the drag queen persona of a cis dude named D.J. Pierce and the discourse that would result from a man getting nominated in a female category when a trans woman has yet to do the same would surely kill us all. That said, Shangela for Best Supporting Actor!)

And the winner is… Drena De Niro?

You know that part of A Star is Born where Dave Chapelle’s character, Noodles, finds Bradley Cooper’s Jackson Maine passed out in front of his house in Memphis, where he lives with his wife and daughter? Drena De Niro plays Dave Chapelle’s wife. (According to IMdB, her character’s name is Paulette. They probably say that at some point in the movie. They must!) I don’t remember her doing much other than being there, a sentient part of the domestic tableau Noodles hoped might lure Jack away from the whole out-of-control rock star lifestyle, but… I don’t know. She was good at it! Unrelated: Robert De Niro is her stepdad??

And the winner is… Luenell?

The actress slash comedian has far less screen-time than Drena De Niro, but she arguably does more with her character in the time she’s allotted. I think her character, the unnamed cashier at the supermarket where Jack buys some frozen peas to duct-tape to Ally’s post-cop punching knuckles, is the only woman in the movie who isn’t Gaga’s Ally who makes a single choice—she decides to take a photo of Cooper’s Jack when she thinks he’s not looking—and Luenell really does convey her character’s desire to take a photo of this famous person in her store while not wanting to cause a scene or risk her employment. Perhaps I am grasping at straws, or perhaps I am gasping at an aw-scar worthy performance. Who can say? I’ll let the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decide.

And the winner is… Rebecca Field?

Gail! She plays Gail! You know…Gail? Who brings Ally and her friend Ramon (Anthony Ramos), from Jack’s private jet to his concert and gives them backstage passes? Gail! She’s Gail-reat! Let’s hear it for Gail!

And the winner is… Halsey?

Halsey (real name Ashley Frangipane) is an actual, nonfictional American pop star. You probably know her as the person who sings that song “Bad at Love” or the female vocalist on that once inescapable Chainsmokers song “Closer.” She appears in the movie towards the end of its second act, playing herself in a small cameo role. I don’t want to spoil anything about her scene, so let’s just say something great happens, she thinks it’s great, and she says, “How great.” Watching her say, “How great,” I believed her. It really did seem like she thought it was great. That’s why I hope the Academy ultimately considers Halsey for Best Supporting Actress.

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