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Recall the Gold: The 2003 Best Supporting Actress Oscar race

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Coldmountain_lThe 2003 Academy Award contest for Best Supporting Actress was the battle of the troubled moms. Rather, it was four troubled mom roles and Renée Zellweger’s comic relief turn in Cold Mountain. True, her performance as a backwoods handywoman was as corny as a season of Hee Haw, but it was also the liveliest thing in the movie. Plus, with Zellweger having failed two win for Oscar-worthy performances in each of the previous two years (in Bridget Jones’s Diary and Chicago), the Academy seemed to think she was due. Unfortunately, that meant no glory for Shohreh Aghdashloo, in her star-making performance as the fierce Iranian immigrant mom in House of Sand and Fog; Patricia Clarkson, unexpectedly funny as the cancer-stricken mom in the still-underrated Pieces of April; Marcia Gay Harden, as the mom who fears her husband may be a killer in Mystic River; and Holly Hunter, as the overwhelmed mom of a rebellious girl in Thirteen. These were all fine performances, and all appear less cringeworthy today than Zellweger’s. (Clarkson’s film was too little-seen. Harden had won this award just three years earlier for Pollock, andshe seemed to have taken the Mystic slot that should have gone to LauraLinney, so she also had little chance of victory. Hunter, too, already had a statuette, for The Piano.)

Looking back from today’s perspective, which of these performances doyou think is the best? Vote in our poll, and list your comments below.(For a refresher, watch the clips embedded after the jump, whichmay contain some NSFW language.) Remember, we’ll be running the Recall the Gold surveys every Tuesdayand Thursday until January, so you may go back at any time and vote inthe other polls (click hereto see them all), reexamining the Oscar races of 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25years ago. On Tuesday, Oct. 28, we’ll look at the 1988 Best Directorcompetition. Watch also for commentary and context throughout EW.com,including on Dave Karger’s new Oscar Watch blog.

addCredit(“Phil Bray”)

Shohreh Aghdashloo in House of Sand and Fog

Patricia Clarkson in Pieces of April
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Marcia Gay Harden in Mystic River
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Holly Hunter in Thirteen

Renée Zellweger in Cold Mountain

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