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Oscars 2016: Best Supporting Actor

Arguably the most interesting of the acting categories this year, Best Supporting Actor is always prone to a high degree of drama and conspiracy, as category fraud runs amuck post-Golden Globes. You can argue the screen time of these fine actors, but there are never clear guidelines as to what constitutes a ‘supporting’ role. Drama aside, these are one of the few categories this year that don’t feel locked down this point in Oscar season. Surprise nominees have changed the game and studios campaigning in categories where their performers don’t belong have made the supporting roles the most volatile, and we may be looking at some surprises come February.

This photo provided by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures', Warner Bros. Pictures' and New Line Cinema's drama "Creed," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. (Barry Wetcher/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP) ORG XMIT: CAET190

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale, The Big Short

Tom Hardy, The Revenant

Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies – Should Win

Sylvester Stallone, Creed – Will Win

Power RankingsStallone-Rylance-Bale-Hardy-Ruffalo

I love Stallone’s narrative after the surprise success of Creed. He’s never won an Oscar, and what a better way to pay tribute to the acting veteran than a win for the role that made him so renown. If the Oscars go this route, which they most likely will, I have no qualms because Stallone is great in the movie, but I think there a few better actors on this list, technically speaking. Mark Rylance, who was probably the only sure thing in this list when we were talking last October, gives a quietly destructive performance in Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies. Despite the film’s wavering success post-release, Rylance has been the one constant that critics can agree on. A first-time nominee, Rylance hasn’t had a role like this before, and it’s a knock out (Creed joke).

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The other three nominees is where this category gets interesting, because I could honestly see any of them taking home the trophy as well. Christian Bale is probably the most likely of the three remainders, which would be a shame because I think Steve Carrell gives the best performance in The Big Short. Nevertheless, Bale is on a roll with supporting roles as of late, able to blend into these eccentric characters (see: American Hustle) with ease. As far as Tom Hardy is concerned, despite being the saving grace in that unbearable film, I wouldn’t count him out as well – we could be looking at another Dallas Buyers Club Actor-Supporting Actor victory. Mark Ruffalo takes the last spot as the inevitable Spotlight nominee, beating out fellow Michael Keaton in an explosive performance, but one that most likely won’t go down as one of his best. Spotlight is juggling a lot on its plate right now, and it may be difficult to gauge its prospects, but I have a hard time imagining a Ruffalo victory Oscars night. His narrative repeats itself again from last year’s Foxcatcher, another chilly film with great performances, and if history repeats itself then he’ll be left out in the cold.

So who was left off the final list this year? Many. Room’s Jacob Tremblay was right on the bubble for this one, and he would’ve been a refreshing change of pace for a category that normally skewers older. Given the AMPAS’s love for the film (including Best Picture and Director nominations), I was shocked by this one after Tremblay’s SAG nomination. Other near misses included Idris Elba for Beasts of No Nation and Jason Mitchell for Straight Outta Compton, two diverse performances that are the best parts of their respective films. Elba’s omission is especially head-scratching, given how well he’s been received including a Golden Globe and ISA nomination. My personal nomination for this category, however, would’ve been Jason Segel in The End of the Tour. The quiet Sundance film didn’t make much of a splash on the fall circuit, but Segel gives the performance of his career as author David Foster Wallace.

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Posted by on January 30, 2016 in 2016 Academy Awards

 

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Oscars 2015: Best Supporting Actor/Actress

Foxcatcher Mark Ruffalo

The supporting acting categories this year have been a bit predictable, with the frontrunners being very clear throughout all of Oscar season. While the winners definitely deserve the prize, what’s more interesting here is who didn’t get in, and further raises questions about how to categorize an actor as lead or supporting as part of an Oscar campaign. This is something that has bugged me about the Oscars as of late, and although I’m more irked by the screenplay categories, supporting roles can be seen as something worth discussing in terms of classification.

Best Supporting Actor: The Nominees

Edward Norton, Birdman

Ethan Hawke, Boyhood

J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher

Robert Duvall, The Judge

In a role that has netted him critical acclaim, best supporting actor seems locked up with Simmons. He is terrifying in Whiplash. It’s a turn that comes so late for the veteran actor, who hasn’t had a role like this before. For the rest of the nominees, their place hasn’t been so secure. Edward Norton seemed like the only lock when we were talking about this five months ago. He is the closest we have to a runner-up. Ethan Hawke received a big push from Boyhood‘s continued success late in the year, and Robert Duvall managed to squeeze in for a great role in an okay movie. The Foxcatcher acting categories continue to frustrate me, but it’s here where I would have thrown in Steve Carell, who could have campaigned for either. Ruffalo is great, though, so I’m not complaining. Absent from this category is Miyavi, whose turn in Unbroken could’ve diversified the list. One of the Selma men, too, either Tom Wilkinson or Tim Roth, could’ve had a shot as well.

My Predictions: Best Supporting Actor

Should Win: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Will Win: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Could Win: Edward Norton, Birdman

Should Have Been here: Miyavi, Unbroken

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Best Supporting Actress: The Nominees

Emma Stone, Birdman

Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game

Laura Dern, Wild

Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

As far as supporting actress is concerned, this one is a bit more interesting. Here we have a diverse list of nominees spanning young and old, from unrecognized movies as well as acclaimed ones. The frontrunner here of course is Patricia Arquette, whose time and dedication to her role in Boyhood should net her her first Oscar. This one, too, is pretty much locked up, with Emma Stone as a potential spoiler. If the Academy goes Boyhood-crazy come Sunday (and they definitely could), Emma Stone could walk away with the statue. For the rest of the list, they went pretty predictable with Kiera Knightley, for a performance in a movie I loved that I wasn’t blown away with. And of course we have to throw in a Meryl Streep for balance. Surprising is Dern, whose screen time is very limited in Wild, but she gives a great performance nonetheless. I was expecting them to throw in Rene Russo instead for Nightcrawler, or keep with the Globes and nominate Jessica Chastain.

My Predictions: Best Supporting Actress

Should Win: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Will Win: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Could Win: Emma Stone, Birdman

Should Have Been Here: Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year; Carrie Coon, Gone Girl

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2015 in 2015 Academy Awards

 

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Oscars 2014 – Best Supporting Actor Predictions

Shoe-Ins

  • Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave: My favorite performance from the alright film (see my review), Fassbender gives the best performance of his career as the brutal plantation owner. While the film might not sweep, Fassbender seems like the one to beat here.
  • Bradley Cooper – American Hustle: While the film has yet to be released, Cooper could go 2 for 2 in nominations from last year’s Silver Linings Playbook. If his performance is well-received, expect a nomination at least.
  • Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club: While many regarded Leto as the best performance of the film, the film might have a hard time breaking into mainstream audience’s eyes.
  • Daniel Bruhl – Rush: While Hemsworth left more to be desired, Bruhl was the best part of Rush, one of my favorite movies from this year so far. While his other film, The Fifth Estate, bombed, he seems like a likely candidate for his performance in the Formula One biopic.

Most Likelys

  • Josh Brolin – Labor Day: One of my most anticipated films, Labor Day has received mixed reviews, but praise for its two leads. Winslet seems more of a likely candidate for a nomination, but Brolin also has a chance.
  • Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street: Since Moneyball, Jonah Hill has been receiving more and more serious roles. With Scorsese directing, The Wolf of Wall Street could be the film to catapult Hill into more dramatic enterprises.
  • Tom Hanks – Saving Mr. Banks: With a nomination almost on lock for Captain Phillips, Hanks has had a hell of a year.

Possiblys

  • James Gandolfini – Enough Said: Gandolfini’s post-humous performance has received great praise, but once again, Holofcener might have a hard time bringing Enough Said into the Academy’s eyes.
  • Steve Coogan – Philomena: While Dench almost has the win here, Coogan has also received praise. A nomination seems possible, but it’s a crowded race this year.
  • Jeremy Renner – American Hustle: Can two men earn the nomination from American Hustle? While Cooper has been a favorite, Renner could very well take that away once the film is released.

My Personal Wild Card

  • Will Forte – Nebraska: Forte’s first serious dramatic role, Nebraska might be just the film he needs to break out of post-SNL syndrome. But the real focus has been Dern and Squibb, so he might get left behind.
 
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Posted by on November 24, 2013 in 2014 Academy Awards

 

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