Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Best Supporting Actor Predictions

This race is incredibly spread out and there are only two contenders that have really secured nominations.  There are several weaker contenders that could surprise, despite none of them earning important precursor nods.  Blue Jasmine was very well received and surprisingly Andrew Dice Clay seems to have received the best reviews out of the supporting cast.  Lone Survivor also has a strong cast with Ben Foster as the one likely to represent that cast.  Some pundits have clung on to Harrison Ford for 42, but that movie was released too early for me to seriously consider.  If Philomena does well at the Oscars then Steve Coogan could join the race.  There is some good will for Jake Gyllenhaal in Prisoners Jonah Hill has been cited as the breakout of Wolf of Wall Street by several.  James Franco even managed to earn some minor critics nominations and has the internet on his side.  George Clooney is usually a safe bet around Oscar time, if Gravity hits big he could get a nod based on his status with the Academy.  David Oyelowo plays an extremely vital role in The Butler, but the actor, but the film have been missing out quite a bit.  If Paramount is pushing Labor Day for anything besides adapted screenplay it will be Josh Brolin, who has been well-received even if the film hasn't been.  Matthew McConaughey's career is actually strong enough for a supporting nomination in the well-reviewed Mud to be possible, despite his stronger leading campaign.  I would not put money on any of these actors, but a surprise from somewhere is not out of the question in this category.

Daniel Bruhl and Rush reentered the Oscar race after receiving surprise Globe and SAG noms.  This is a generally unknown actor in a film that is not a major best picture contender which places him a bit lower than these others.  Even though and Saving Mr. Banks has not had the strongest precursor showing Tom Hanks as Walt Disney is too much Oscar-bait to ignore.  Will Forte surprised with a National Board of Review nomination and surprised many with his strong performance in the well-received Nebraska.  However NBR is often off on a few important categories and this may be too subtle of a performance for this category which often rewards flashy roles.

James Gandolfini's final role in Enough Said was received well enough that a posthumous nomination for the late actor seems possible.  It is likely he only missed a Golden Globe nomination because he was campaigned in lead (there is often discrepancy between supporting categories in the Oscars and leading comedy/musical categories for the Globes).  Barkhad Abdi also earned surprise Globe and SAG nominations, this is a more serious contender as Captain Phillips is a best picture and actor contender.  Recent nominee Bradley Cooper has done relatively decently in precursors for American Hustle.  The film could pull off another four acting nominations, like Cooper and Russell's last effort if the movie is strong enough.

Michael Fassbender, Jared Leto
The only two locks for this normally strong category are: Michael Fassbender and Jared Leto, neither of whom have ever seriously been up for an Oscar.  Fassbender has the overdue factor as many felt he has been snubbed in the past and he plays a villain which does well in this category.  His role in 12 Years a Slave may be too harsh for some voters though.  Leto goes through a complete and believable physical and gender change for Dallas Buyers Club.  Voters often respond to this level of method acting when it works and the film is good.

Predicted Five:
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club (winner)
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
James Gandolfini, Enough Said
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Runner-Ups: Will Forte (Nebraska), Tom Hanks (Saving Mr. Banks), Daniel Bruhl (Rush)

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