Consider her: Michelle Williams for Best Supporting Actress in I Feel Pretty

WESTWOOD, CA - APRIL 17: Busy Philipps and Michelle Williams attend the premiere of STX Films' "I Feel Pretty" at Westwood Village Theatre on April 17, 2018 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
WESTWOOD, CA - APRIL 17: Busy Philipps and Michelle Williams attend the premiere of STX Films' "I Feel Pretty" at Westwood Village Theatre on April 17, 2018 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) /
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Michelle Williams steals every scene and elevates her character in I Feel Pretty. She deserves a Best Supporting Actress nomination and once upon a time could have received one.

You probably don’t remember I Feel Pretty from earlier this year because, frankly, it was quite forgettable. However, there was one aspect of the movie, which has seared itself into my cinematic brain since seeing it mid-April of this year: Michelle Williams.

It’s Oscar season and the campaigns have started, the screenings are being held and the DVDs are being sent to voting bodies and, for good reason, I Feel Pretty, isn’t on anyone’s radar. Now having seen the film twice, Williams’ surprising supporting turn deserves some year-end accolades for not only stealing every moment she is in but also making a character out of a caricature.

The movie centers on Renee (Amy Schumer), who has a whole new outlook for herself after she falls off her bike in spin class and starts seeing herself in a different light. Not only does she think her appearance is different but she has more confidence to speak to men or go after jobs she might not have pursued otherwise. She seeks a promotion at the fashion company she works for, which is run by the granddaughter of the steely CEO.

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On her first day of work in the new position, Renee meets Avery, Williams’ character, who immediately subverts every initial instinct we might have of her.

When Williams appears on-screen, she is dressed professionally with long blonde hair but catches you off guard the moment she opens her mouth. A mousy, timid voice comes out, which is initially comical but so well sustained throughout the entire movie by Williams that those knee-jerk reactions fade away. Renee is honored to be working for Avery but it turns out Avery needs Renee more than the other way around.

Williams’ is one of the great performers working today, finding her comfort zone in small independent projects like Certain Women or Blue Valentine but occasionally appearing in a studio picture. In the grand scheme of things, Avery is a character that’s used for comedic effect but there is much more to her than what meets the eye.

Williams, not only funny in the role, imbues an insecurity and vulnerability to Avery, who wants to please her grandmother but feels like a failure at every turn. She’s simply magnetic, carrying a thinly drawn character to new heights.

As it’s often bemoaned, comedies don’t gain much traction at the Oscars but a performance like Williams once could have been a true contender. Supporting actress is a category that has produced some great scene-stealing comedic performances in decades past: Olympia Dukakis in Moonstruck, Jessica Lange in Tootsie, Geena Davis in The Accidental Tourist, Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny and Mira Sorvino in Mighty Aphrodite.

The 80s and 90s were often more generous to comedic performances, particularly in the Supporting Actress category, which has become more hesitant to welcome these kinds of performances.

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It’s a testament to an actor like Williams to take what’s on the page and create a memorable character in a forgettable movie. I Feel Pretty isn’t the stuff that is made for Oscars but Michelle Williams deserves to be in consideration for Best Supporting Actress.