Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Give Swank the right role and she packs a wallop. Mirroring her breakout part as a yearning outsider in 1999’s Boys Don’t Cry, Swank was radiant in Baby as a dirt-poor waitress determined to girl-fight her way to self-respect. With acting as sinewy as her physique, Swank didn’t waste a line or a look, making her performance all the more striking for its lack of vanity or excess. Runner-up: Staunton, who brought a touchingly tragic dimension to a housecleaner’s downfall.
Best Supporting Actor