Best Supporting Actress:
VERA FARMIGA in Up in the Air
Her skillful ambiguity for the first 90% of the film is what makes her exposition at the end so jarring, shattering the mirror in which Ryan saw someone like himself. Her chemistry with Clooney is what makes both of their characters so believable.
ANNA KENDRICK in Up in the Air
For young audiences of the film, Kendrick is the emotional surrogate. Natalie's eagerness to succeed and move up in life constantly battles her fear of fading youth and lifelong loneliness, and Kendrick brings it across with spot-on delivery.
MELANIE LAURENT in Inglourious Basterds
In a cast filled to the brim with caricatures, Laurent stands out as the one character whose emotions and actions feel real. It is also the only performance in the film with any arc to it, but Laurent evokes it wonderfully from traumatic start to tragic finish.
MO'NIQUE in Precious
What else can be said. Mary Jones is not a monster, but a bruised, love-starved human being whose self-loathing has become to much to contain, unleashing itself violently on the world. It is a raw, gut-wrenching performance. The best of the year.
SAMANTHA MORTON in The Messenger
Grieving war widows usually give actresses the chance to really chew the scenery, but Morton takes a much more fragile approach, concentrating first on a devastating feeling of nothingness, then pouring out her grief in understated and unexpected ways.
Marion Cotillard in Nine, Julianne Moore in A Single Man,
Rosalind Pike in An Education.