Saturday, February 9, 2019

Oscar Winner Predictions: Best Actor in a Supporting Role

The competition: Mahershala Ali (Green Book), Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman), Sam Elliott (A Star is Born), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Sam Rockwell (Vice)

Previous winners: Sam Rockwell, Mahershala Ali, Mark Rylance, J.K. Simmons, Jared Leto, Christoph Waltz, Christopher Plummer
My winner: Announcing shortly after the Oscars!
The facts: This is very simple: we have the past two winners in this category – Rockwell and Ali – earning their second nominations, and the other three are all first-time nominees. Both of their previous wins came from roles in Best Picture nominees (in Ali’s case, a winner), and that’s the case again. The last actor to win this award twice was Christoph Waltz, who was awarded in both 2009 and 2012. Grant is the only one whose film isn’t nominated for Best Picture, though that hasn’t been a problem for four of the past fifteen champs in this category. Ali has won the Globe, SAG, and Critics’ Choice Award.

Who should win: Rockwell was entertaining as George W. Bush, but his role doesn’t compare to last year’s, which also didn’t enthrall me as much as it did most people. I also like Driver but wasn’t wowed by this particular performance. Elliott is a superb actor, and his small part in a film dominated by other actors was indeed great. Grant was engaging and charming, and I’d be happy to see him win, even if my top choice is the very talented and endearing Ali.
Who will win: Rockwell’s repeat nomination is his reward. Driver’s film might outperform in other races, but not here. Elliott would have needed a much stronger awards season showing for his film, which it weirdly has not gotten. There’s still a chance that Grant could pull ahead and score this win, but Ali feels far enough ahead, and he’s a great, controversy-free way to award a movie that people obviously love.

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