In profile: 2014 Oscar winners
A look at the best supporting actress winner and her fellow nominees at the 86th Academy Awards.
WINNER: LUPITA NYONG'O
Nominated for: 12 Years a Slave
The character: Patsey, a young slave girl working on a cotton plantation in Louisiana.
Oscar record: This is Nyong'o's first Oscar nomination in her debut movie role. Her previous acting experience was in the Kenyan TV series Shuga.
The critics said: "Nyong'o, from a Kenyan family, is a spectacular young actress who imbues Patsey with grit and radiant grace." Peter Travers, Rolling Stone.
Nominated for: Blue Jasmine
The character: Ginger, the sister of Cate Blanchett's down-on-her-luck Jasmine.
Oscar record: This is Hawkins' first Oscar nomination, with the role also landing her nods at the Baftas and the Golden Globes. In 2009, her role as Poppy in Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky won her a Golden Globe in the leading actress category.
The critics said: "You can never, ever predict Hawkins. She's so much Blanchett's opposite—raw, goosey, spontaneous." David Edelstein, New York magazine.
Nominated for: American Hustle
The character: Rosalyn Rosenfeld, the young wife of Irving Rosenfield, played by Christian Bale. Rosalyn was based on Cynthia Marie Weinberg, the real life wife of conman Melvin Weinberg on whom the film is partly based.
Oscar record: Currently the golden girl of Hollywood, this marks Lawrence's third Oscar nomination. She was previously nominated for Winter's Bone in 2010 and won the best actress title last year for Silver Linings Playbook - on which she worked with American Hustle director David O Russell.
The critics said: "In a movie where the fizz keeps getting shaken, Lawrence pops the cork in every scene she's in.... save your admiration for the performances, especially Lawrence, who is now Hollywood's most important presence in front of the camera." Liam Lacey, The Globe and Mail.
Nominated for: August: Osage County
The character: Barbara Weston-Fordham, one of three daughters called home by their drug-addicted mother Violet (played by Meryl Streep) after their father goes missing.
Oscar record: Roberts is a four-time nominee, having previously been shortlisted in the supporting category for Steel Magnolias in 1990 and as a leading actress in Pretty Woman in 1991 - before winning in 2001 for Erin Brockovich.
The critics said: "It's Roberts' most emotionally mature and layered work, the best performance of her career." Claudia Puig, USA Today.
Nominated for: Nebraska
The character: Kate Grant, the wife of Woody Grant, played by Bruce Dern.
Oscar record: A respected theatre actress, Nebraska marks Squibb's first Oscar nomination. Her last brush with the Oscars came in 2002 with the film About Schmidt, for which her co-stars Jack Nicholson and Kathy Bates were both nominated.
The critics said: "June Squibb, as Woody's wife, is an important force in the film - sometimes comically unpleasant but someone whose drive and wit ultimately suggests the very attractive young woman that Woody married, years before." Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle.