​Oscars 2016: Take our Best Supporting Actress poll

Nominees for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, from left: Jennifer Jason Leigh, "The Hateful Eight"; Rachel McAdams, "Spotlight"; Rooney Mara, "Carol"; Kate Winslet, "Steve Jobs"; and Alicia Vikander, "The Danish Girl."

CBS News

Which of this year's nominees for the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award do you think should take home the Oscar?

Check out below the interviews and clips of each nominated performance; then, vote in our poll at the end of this article!


Jennifer Jason Leigh, "The Hateful Eight"

Leigh received her first Academy Award nomination for her performance in Quentin Tarantino's western, playing a prisoner on her way to be hanged, and you can tell from her shiner and blood-stained face that it hasn't been an easy trip.

"You know, she's had a rough go," Leigh told CBS News' Tracy Smith. "I mean, she has a black eye, and her face is scratched up and bruised. And I remember the very first day of shooting just taking a picture and sending it to my mom, just saying that, 'This is as good as it's gonna get.'"


Leigh has given acclaimed performances in such films as "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "Last Exit to Brooklyn," "Single White Female," and "Georgia," but the roles have been fewer in recent years, when she's concentrated on writing. "I just remember one day actually, my brother-in-law was like, 'You know, all it takes is a call from, like, Quentin Tarantino for everything to turn around.' And I just kind of laughed, because it seemed so -- not impossible, but how many movies does he make, you know? And how many times is there gonna be a part that I could be right for? Will I even get to audition? It didn't seem like a reality that was going to happen.

"And then it happened."

Watch a clip of Leigh, Kurt Russell and Samuel L. Jackson from "The Hateful Eight":

Rooney Mara, "Carol"

In 1950s New York City, Therese, a department store shop girl (Mara), becomes strangely attracted to an elegant, married older woman (Cate Blanchett).

The two begin an affair, and it is perhaps the first time that Therese -- one who generally goes along with the flow -- makes demands and pursues what she wants, which in this case bucks societal expectations of the day.


At the London Film Festival Mara said, "Chemistry isn't something you can create -- very much the same way in real life. You either have chemistry with someone or you don't. I felt lucky in that it was easy for me to feel chemistry towards Cate, not only because she's Cate, but my character spent much of the film just sort of in awe of this woman and enamored with her, and that was very easy for me to embody."

Mara previously received a Best Actress nomination for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo."

Watch a clip of Mara and Blanchett from "Carol":

Rachel McAdams, "Spotlight"

As Sacha Pfeiffer, part of the Boston Globe team of investigative reporters who uncover the Catholic Church's cover-up of the abuse of children by priests in "Spotlight," McAdams played up the reporter's compassionate aspect of Pfeiffer, who was the youngest reporter on the Spotlight team, and the only woman.

"She is a great role model," McAdams said of Pfeiffer, whom she described as a compassionate listener: "She was the one that a lot of the survivors felt comfortable speaking to. I think that's where being a woman on the team kind of came in handy, in speaking to a lot of men who didn't know quite how to open up about something so painful."

But she characterized the reporter as a poor interview subject herself: "I had such a hard time getting anything out of her because she's always flipping it around on me. She cares about other people's stories so much more than herself, so it was nice to be able to put her up on a pedestal for once."

This is McAdams' first Oscar nomination.

Watch a clip of McAdams with Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Brian D'Arcy James and Liev Schreiber from "Spotlight":

Alicia Vikander, "The Danish Girl"

Vikander plays Gerda, wife of Danish artist Einar Wegener (played by Eddie Redmayne), who playfully encourages him to create a female character in public, only to wrestle with emotions of loss once he transitions to become a woman, Lili.

"It's a very tough journey that she goes on," Vikander told "CBS This Morning." "Lili can't choose to be herself. That's just who she is. Gerda can make the choice to stand by and support her."

For Vikander, also acclaimed for her performances in "Ex Machina" and "Testament of Youth," each role she plays is its own journey. "The most important thing is to always make the truth. 'Why would somebody act like that?' You need to find why," she said.

This is Vikanders' first Oscar nomination.

Watch a clip of Vikander and Redmayne from "The Danish Girl":

Kate Winslet, "Steve Jobs"

Winslet played Apple marketing executive Joanna Hoffman, assisting Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) in his radical transformation of technology and culture, while nudging him to transform his own mess of a relationship with his daughter, a girl he publicly disowned.

Hoffman's Polish-Armenian accent was exactly the challenge she needed:

"I was baffled by it," she told CBS News' Jim Axelrod. "And I remember I called the real Joanna, and to hear her actually speak, it is different than the way I ended up doing it in the film, for the simple reason that her pitch is much higher than mine. I remember speaking to her for the first time, and I said, 'Hello, Joanna. This is Kate Winslet.' 'Hello. How are you? I'm so happy to hear from you. Well, this is just so exciting!' I thought, Oh my God, there is no­­ -- I can't do that. I can't sustain that for two hours of a movie, you know?"

Winslet won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for her performance. She previously won the Best Actress Oscar for "The Reader," and has five other nominations.

Watch a clip of Winslet and Fassbender from "Steve Jobs":


Take our poll: Who should win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress?


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Winners of this year's Academy Awards will be announced on Sunday, February 28, 2016, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood. The show will be hosted by Chris Rock.


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  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at CBSNews.com and cbssundaymorning.com.