Monday, December 30, 2013

Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actor

This year, Oscar nominations will be announced on Thursday, January 16th. I’ll be offering detailed predictions in most of the major categories, saving some of the biggest categories for last.

Last year’s nominees: Alan Arkin, Robert De Niro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tommy Lee Jones, Christoph Waltz

This year’s locks: Jared Leto, Michael Fassbender

Very likely: Barkhad Abdi

Possible: Bradley Cooper, James Gandolfini, Daniel Bruhl, Tom Hanks

Unlikely: Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Will Forte

The rundown: Like last year, there are six contenders vying for five slots, made up of the Golden Globe and SAG lists. At the forefront are two contenders who will definitely make the cut: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) and Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave). The latter will have the full support of his film behind him while the former likely will not. Next up is Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), who seems to be a sure thing despite his nonprofessional background, and he is even likely to make it if his costar Tom Hanks and the film don’t score points in other races. Bradley Cooper (American Hustle) has the momentum of his film behind him, as well as the boost of being nominated last year for a collaboration with the same director. The late James Gandolfini (Enough Said) doesn’t have that same prominence at the moment, but being a respected actor lost too soon in an endearing role should enable him to earn a posthumous nomination. Golden Globe and SAG bids mean that Daniel Bruhl (Rush) should be taken more seriously than most are predicting, but I’d like to see the film rewarded in a handful of technical categories instead, and I assume voters will agree. Tom Hanks (Saving Mr. Banks) was supposed to be a safe bet for this race and another nomination in the lead acting category, but lack of precursor support suggests it just won’t happen. Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street) also hasn’t been as present as he would need to be to merit a nod unless voters go nuts for the film. Matthew McConaughey (Mud) could also be a double nominee, but I doubt his better performance and better film will be recognized at all. Potentially sneaking in for an upset is Will Forte (Nebraska), a likeable enough actor who, in my opinion, is far from the best aspect of his film and does not deserve a spot in this race.

One possible crazy scenario: Earning his second-ever nomination, and his first since 1985, Harrison Ford (42) is nominated.

Forecasted winner: Probably Leto.

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