Dolly de Leon’s scene-stealing role in “Triangle of Sadness” has been dubbed as both her breakout moment and her getting her due when the film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
After winning the Palme d’Or, “Triangle of Sadness” has been receiving Oscar buzz. Part of the predictions is a possible Oscar nom for the veteran Filipina actress. So far, Hailee Steinfeld is the only actor of Filipino descent to be nominated for an acting category at the Oscars.
Variety Awards Circuit has released its Oscar predictions for 2023 and third on its ranking of Best Supporting Actress contenders is de Leon for “Triangle of Sadness.” As far as predictions go, Variety’s aren’t perfect, though senior awards editor Clayton Davis gets a lot of it right, too. The politics surrounding Oscar campaigns would pose a challenge but de Leon’s performance has already earned her critical praise and gotten her signed with talent agency Gersh. She just needs an extra push and is hopefully met with more open-minded voters.
“Her committed turn not only makes her the defining supporting performance of the year thus far, but also, if enough Academy members make a note to focus on quality (and not simply name recognition as they can often do), she could be the frontrunner walking into awards season,” predicts Davis.
In the film, de Leon plays a toilet manager named Abigail on a cruise ship for the super-rich. She gets the chance to get back at her bosses and the ship’s guests, which includes a fashion model celebrity couple, when they get trapped on an island. Abigail ends up being the most capable of the bunch, which she wields with deadpan delivery. Somewhere along the way she even gets steamy with a character played by Harris Dickinson.
De Leon said about her role in an interview, “Everything was curated so well by Ruben, and I love the turn that Abigail made in the script, the way she changed the hierarchy and holding of the power; the way it shifted. I thought it was so amazing to play someone who has nothing, basically, or has less than most people she’s around. And then to turn it around and be the one who is relied upon — someone who is followed, listened to, and treated as a leader who is reliable and worthy of being among them. I thought it was amazing. And that a Filipina would play her!
However, de Leon adds that getting cast in such a role is hard to come by. “If you think about it, none of the stories are really written with a brown Asian woman as the lead in a really good role – it doesn’t even need to be a lead, it can be a good supporting role. It’s really hard to come by. So I can’t blame them if they can’t cast me in anything, because most stories written nowadays are about white people,” she says.
Although de Leon won Best Supporting Actress at FAMAS in 2020 for “Verdict,” she admits, “To be honest, I have not broken out in the Philippines. I have not.” We’re definitely hoping for this to finally change. While waiting for the nomination, you can also catch de Leon in an episode of HBO’s “Folklore: 7 Days of Hell” and local GL series “Lulu.”