Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Oscar Predictions: Best Actor in a Supporting Role

This year, Oscar nominations will be announced on Thursday, January 14th. I’ll be offering detailed predictions in most of the major categories, saving some of the biggest categories for last.

Last year’s nominees: Robert Duvall, Ethan Hawke, Edward Norton, Mark Ruffalo, J.K. Simmons

This year’s locks: Mark Rylance

Very likely: Idris Elba, Sylvester Stallone, Michael Shannon

Possible: Jacob Tremblay, Christian Bale, Paul Dano, Tom Hardy, Mark Ruffalo

Unlikely: Michael Keaton, Benicio Del Toro, Harrison Ford

The rundown: This race has not gone down how I expected it to this year. Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) being the only sure thing is strange, but his film even appears like it might do well in other non-technical categories. The other two actors who have shown up in most lineups are Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), who has building to a nomination for a while now and should get in even if his film doesn’t, and Michael Shannon (99 Homes). I couldn’t be more thrilled that Shannon has done so well. He was a surprise nominee with no precursors in 2008 in this category for “Revolutionary Road,” and then nothing ended up happening with his lead role in “Take Shelter” a few years back. I loved his film and he was so good in it, and I really hope he goes the distance. Likeliest to join the bunch, despite a SAG snub, is recent Golden Globe winner Sylvester Stallone (Creed), last nominated in 1976 for acting in and writing “Rocky.” He’s a sentimental choice and a pretty respectable one, and I think Oscar voters will appreciate him. I’m hoping that they’ll round off the list with adorable SAG nominee Jacob Tremblay (Room), who got referenced by costar Brie Larson in her Golden Globe speech and was all nervous smiles. At age 9, Tremblay has only a few other actors his age or younger who have been nominated in the past, but one of them - Justin Henry - was in this category. His toughest competition was honored by SAG and BAFTA, and in the lead comedy actor race at the Globes, and that’s Christian Bale (The Big Short), who won this award in 2010 and got nominated in 2013 without too much precursor support for “American Hustle.” Golden Globe and Critics Choice nominee Paul Dano (Love and Mercy) would have an easier time getting nominated if his film was attracting any attention. Tom Hardy (The Revenant) might be able to seize the moment of his film doing extremely well and manage his first ever bid, something that’s been a long time coming just like Elba. After being predicted as the frontrunners in this race for months, Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight) and Michael Keaton (Spotlight) have mysteriously found themselves left off most lists, and unless the film rebounds in a big way, which is not looking good, they won’t be nominated. The same goes for Benicio Del Toro (Sicario), who scored a BAFTA nomination but hasn’t shown up too many other places. His film seems to be building steam, but I’m not sure he’ll be part of it. And then there’s a sentimental choice many think might surprise - Harrison Ford (Star Wars: The Force Awakens). The two statistics that I believe will discount him are that only one actor - Oscar winner Alec Guinness - has ever been nominated for a Star Wars film, and the one nomination Ford has received was for the more serious “Witness” rather than Indiana Jones or even “Air Force One.” I don’t see it happening. I do think we will see a surprise here; I just hope it’s not at the expense of a deserving actor.

One possible crazy scenario: It would be a great surprise if Harvey Keitel (Youth), who was nominated for an Oscar back in 1991 for “Bugsy,” earned another nod for his heartfelt and entertaining turn that, in my mind, was the standout of his film.

Forecasted winner: If he gets nominated, it will probably be Stallone.

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