Da'Vine Joy Randolph hopes 'Holdovers' role helps others

January 27, 2024 3:40 pm

[Source: Reuters]

Da’Vine Joy Randolph has been a standout during the 2024 Hollywood awards season.

Scooping up nearly all the best supporting actress awards for her role in “The Holdovers” and scoring her first Oscar nomination on Tuesday.

The film sees three people thrown together at a New England boarding school during the Christmas holidays in 1970. Randolph plays school cook Mary Lamb, who is grieving the death of her son in Vietnam, and she is joined by a cranky teacher played by Paul Giamatti and a trouble-making student, played by Dominic Sessa.

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It was no easy feat to portray the grief of a character that struggled to celebrate the holidays in the wake of an enormous loss.

“I had to let it go at the end of every night,” she told Reuters in an interview.

Whether it was cooking or calling a loved one, it was vital for her to have what she called an “emotional palette cleanser” after filming.

For her role, Randolph has won the Golden Globe and the Critics Choice award and also has several nominations, including nods from SAG and BAFTA.

Experts on the awards prediction website Gold Derby overwhelmingly favor Randolph to win the best supporting actress Oscar.

Randolph understands the significance of playing a character who may resonate with someone who doesn’t feel like celebrating during the holidays.

“Imagine how hard it is if you’re going through something and all that is on your TV is cheery, cheery, cheery, and you don’t feel like that on the inside,” Randolph said. “I was very grateful to be a part of something that could be different and to be something to help other people.”

For the role, Randolph also developed and embodied her character’s unique accent and clothing.

She worked on portraying a Black woman with an early 1970s dialect and chose the clothes for Mary, including a purple night gown and other outfits.

“You’ve got to touch it,” Randolph said.

She wanted people to feel that all of Mary’s articles of clothing and mannerisms meant something to her, including her pink blouse and the corduroy skirt that she wears at a restaurant in the film.

“All that kind of detail, the smoking, is just stuff that really helped anchor me because she’s so different from me,” Randolph said.