LOS ANGELES -- Everyone but Angela Bassett is a first-time Oscar nominee, and even she is a first-timer in this category. But while Bassett seemingly has this locked up, there is a stunning breadth of experience among the supporting actress nominees, showing that breakout moments aren’t exclusively the territory of the very young.
All will be celebrated during Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony, which airs live on ABC beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern. And there’s still time to catch up on their performances before the show.
Here’s a bit more about this year's contenders.
It’s been 29 years since Angela Bassett’s last Oscar nomination, for playing Tina Turner in “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” and though her nomination for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” was widely expected, it still had a profound effect on her.
“I’m literally sitting here holding my head, and holding my heart,” she told the AP nomination morning. “I’m excited, I’m grateful, I’m nervous. I’m going to have to start journaling.”
Her character, Queen Ramonda, she said, “is reflective of what mothers have been doing forever, and also a representation of what Black mothers have been doing — holding families together. Holding memories, holding wisdom... That’s what she is attempting to do in spite of the trauma she has experienced herself.”
And her late co-star Chadwick Boseman has never left her mind.
“This moment has been so special, it’s been a highlight of my career,” she said. “He definitely kicked it off."
Notable Wins: Golden Globes, Critics Choice, Image Awards.
In Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale,” Hong Chau plays best friend and nurse to Brendan Fraser’s obese shut-in professor, his most regular visitor and assertive caregiver. She desperately, unsentimentally prods him to get healthier, to care about himself.
“I guess I just start dreaming up a character,” Chau told the AP about her process. “I start to see flashes of something in my head as I’m reading a script in terms of their appearance, the cadence of their speech.”
On “The Whale,” she asked for her character to have tattoos.
“You don’t really see them in the movie at all,” Chau said. “But every morning I would sit and get tattoos on both arms and the back of my neck. I don’t think another production would do that.”
Kerry Condon’s Siobhán occupies an important space in “The Banshees of Inisherin,” as a kind of voice of reason between the warring ex-friends Pádraic (Colin Farrell) and Colm (Brendan Gleeson). And somewhere in the mess she gets to have her own realization about how she wants to spend the rest of her days — and it’s not with the “fecking boring” men of Inisherin.
“I tried to play with the idea of somebody who’s hiding how they’re really feeling, and that feeling of depression where you feel like you’re on the verge of tears, but you’re hiding it from everyone,” she said in an interview with IndieWire.
In accepting her BAFTA award, Condon said Martin McDonagh’s works make her proud to be an Irish woman. McDonagh gave Condon her first major role at 18 in “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” and then in 2009 she starred in his “The Cripple of Inishmaan.”
McDonagh told the AP that Condon is “the best actress I’ve ever met.”
Notable wins: BAFTA
Stephanie Hsu was a Broadway veteran with a few TV credits when she worked with the writing and directing duo of Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert for an episode of “Nora From Queens.” After that experience, she said, she followed them to Los Angeles and soon after they told her about their idea for “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” in which she gets to play Michelle Yeoh’s daughter and the villainous Jobu.
“The movie is so special because we could not have possibly expected this to have happened and so we were really able to just throw paint at the wall,” Hsu told The AP. “It came from a very raw place with zero expectations, only trying to tell the story as deeply and honestly as we can.”
She added: “This movie, in so many ways, embodies what I love to do as an artist. So it feels like the most honest handshake I could make with Hollywood.”
Notable Wins: Film Independent Spirit Award (Breakthrough)
JAMIE LEE CURTIS
Jamie Lee Curtis had all but resigned herself to the idea that she was not going to be nominated for an Oscar in her career. She was so shocked to hear her name that she didn't even notice her friend had taken a picture of the moment that she'd later post on Instagram, writing “THIS IS WHAT SURPRISE LOOKS LIKE.”
But the self-proclaimed Nepo baby broke through in the same category her mother Janet Leigh was nominated in (for “Psycho"). One of the best parts of the experience, Curtis told the AP, was that in the short time since the nominations she's become friends with her fellow nominees.
“Five strangers have become friends,” she said. “That's the surprising and beautiful part of this that I've made friends through a competition.”
Notable Wins: Screen Actors Guild
For more on this year’s Oscars, visit: http://www.apnews.com/academy-awards.