Friday, August 12, 2011

August Predictions: Supporting Actor

I’m just going to post these as I get them done and hope to have them all done by the end of the month so I can officially call these my ‘August Predictions’.

Supporting Actor is getting harder and harder to predict simply because it seems so sewn up by a slew of previous nominees that are bound to lose out to some newbie no one is suspecting.  I just can’t figure out who is going to get the shaft since everyone seems like a sure bet at this point.  I could honestly see any one of my predicted five getting the boot for any one of my predicted 6-10.  Any mix of these ten, at this point, would make sense to me and yet I’m sure that there is going to be a nominee I’m not even predicting at this point.

There is something about this that seems too obvious.

Here are my thoughts at the moment:

1)      Christopher Plummer/Beginnings:
Why?  Christopher Plummer has finally been embraced by the Academy, and he feels like the type of actor who is going to get a second nomination.  Plummer has always been a consistent actor, for decades now, but what is most impressive about his work in ‘Beginnings’ is that it shows he is not afraid to grow as an actor; to continually stretch himself.  In fact, many critics have noted that playing an elderly, recently out gay man was something unexpected by this thespian, and something he nailed.  He is heralded as the best thing about the film, and while the film is small, it has exceeded expectations.  He’s still on the tip of everyone’s tongue, and I can almost taste his Oscar at this point.  Unless someone comes around with a scene stealing, gargantuan performance that is ‘undeniable’, I don’t see Plummer losing this one.

2)      Viggo Mortensen/A Dangerous Method:
Why?  One thing that Viggo has been proving over the past six years is that he is a far better actor than many ever gave him credit for.  While I’m not the biggest fan of ‘A History of Violence’, it is clear that his performance within was something no one really expected; and he only gets better with each consecutive role (‘Eastern Promises’ and then ‘The Road’).  Working with the man who led him to his first Oscar nomination, I have a feeling that this glorified Supporting role may be his next nomination ticket.  He’s playing a famous person in a very buzzed about film, and let’s be honest…he was the best part of that trailer.  He reminds me a tad of Viola Davis in that he was the one thing about the trailer that seemed grounded and balanced.  While everything else around him seemed over-the-top and somewhat disappointing, I was drawn to his every image.  Once ‘A Dangerous Method’ is released, I’ll know better, but right now he seems like the dark horse for the actual win.

3)      Albert Brooks/Drive:
Why?  The buzz surrounding this performance is insane right now, and while I personally didn’t see anything special about what I saw in the trailer (generic villain), supposedly he was all the rave at Cannes, so go figure.  Factoring in that he is a veteran actor who hasn’t been in the game since the 80’s and you have a great comeback story wrapped up in this performance.  That and the role he is playing is perfect for this category.  While Supporting Actress usually consists of gold-hearted prostitutes and long-suffering wives; Supporting Actor loves a good villain.  Just in the aughts alone, that particular ‘role’ has been nominated (and won) more than any other (Waltz, Ledger, Bardem, Haley, Tucci, Hurt, Kingsley, Newman…etc.) and so it seems a good bet that Brooks will get sucked into the final lineup.  I’m hesitant only because the film itself doesn’t LOOK like an Oscar film, but many who have seen it say that it is far deeper and involved than the trailer suggests.  Golsing is also having a tremendous year and so I could easily see his association with the film playing in Brooks’ favor as well.

4)      Christoph Waltz/Carnage:
Why?  Like I mentioned with Winslet, this is certainly an actor’s piece and if they nail it then they are in.  Waltz just recently won an Oscar for blending the comedic with the sinister dramatic to perfection, and that is something that is called for in this particular film (maybe not sinister, but many have said that the play is funny yet searing).  Having recently won is also a plus because the Academy will be watching him closely, hoping that he’ll prove them right.  I initially expected his first film this year (‘Water for Elephants’) to make a bigger splash and draw attention his way, but it doesn’t appear that very many people bothered to see that movie.  Alas, Waltz has this undeniable charisma and the film itself may very well be enough to get him a nomination.

5)      Armie Hammer/J. Edgar:
Why?  I’ve said this before, and so have many of my friends; had this role been played by a female it would be winning the Supporting Actress Oscar this year.  That is my only fear with Hammer; he is a man.  The role is baity as hell and if Hammer can pull of the OMGACTRESSING…err…OMGACTING then this could be an easy nomination.  On paper, it’s a no-brainer, but he really has to pull it off in order for it to work.  It doesn’t hurt that he proved his acting chops in last year’s Best Picture runner-up and that he got well deserved ‘good ink’ for it too.  The Academy may also see this role as a risk well taken by the young actor (playing gay is still considered risky); but then again, Plummer also went gay and he seems like a likelier bet in this category.  There needs to be a newbie, and right now Hammer seems like the perfect choice.  It doesn’t hurt that he’s starring in an Eastwood vehicle that also happens to be a period biopic that stars Leonardo DiCaprio in what is almost assuredly going to net him an Oscar.

6)      Max von Sydow/Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close:
Why?  On paper, this is VERY baity.  Having read the novel and having the script in my hands, I can easily see this translating into a contender for the win.  My only reservations lie in the fact that this is a quiet performance, which is not often embraced by the Academy, and they don’t usually nominate a group of veteran actors or previous nominees, and the first four in my predictions have ‘louder’ characters to play.  He could certainly ‘Halbrook’ his way into a nomination, but he has Plummer to contend with at the moment.  While I want to see it, I have a hard time seeing both actors getting nominated.  That said; his role is pivotal to the entire film and he has an extremely baity scene towards the end, so if ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’ is a big player then he’ll be a good bet for a nomination.

7)      Nick Nolte/Warrior:
Why?  Early word is very good for the film and for his performance within it, but I’m hesitant based on the film’s subject matter being too close to last year’s big player, ‘The Fighter’.  It’s happened before, and it’ll happen again, where good films that follow bit Oscar vehicles get ignored because of being too similar.  If ‘Million Dollar Baby’ hadn’t swept the Oscar’s, would ‘Cinderella Man’ been ignored?  If ‘Capote’ hadn’t won Hoffman an Oscar, would ‘Infamous’ have picked up a nomination for Toby Jones?  See, that’s where I’m at with Nolte.  Sure, he’s respected and he hasn’t been recognized since 1998, but this will have to be a powerhouse performance in order to net him a nomination.  Nolte rides that fine line with me.  He’s either all over the place or he’s controlled and intense.  From what I read, this one is a keeper.  If the film gets more attention than I suspect it will, he could muscle his way into a nomination. 

8)      Corey Stoll/Midnight in Paris:
Why?  He was the standout in ‘Midnight in Paris’ to a lot of people, and he’s certain to remain on a lot of people’s tongues mainly because his performance was so memorable.  It is a small role though, and there are some more recognizable names in the field this year.  Still, ‘Midnight in Paris’ is a sizable hit for Woody Allen, who often has luck with his actors even with his films don’t hit as well with Oscar.  Sure, it’s usually for his Supporting women, but if ‘Midnight in Paris’ hits with Oscar in some major categories (Picture/Screenplay) then Stoll will be the place where actors look for a nomination.  Again, I almost have the same qualm with this performance as I do with Hammer’s.  If this were an actress in consideration then I’d say she was a shoe-in for the nomination; but the rules for men and women are very different within the Academy and so this is a trickier play than it should be.

9)      Tom Hardy/Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy:
Why?  I don’t really know much about this story or his role within this film, but I know that he has a sizable one and judging from the VERY STRONG TRAILER, this could be a real ensemble piece that thrives on the performances.  Hardy has been having a great couple of years with ‘Inception’ and critical recognition for his work in ‘Bronson’; and it doesn’t hurt that he is the new Batman villain.  In other words, his name is out there and people seem to like him and want to work with him.  He also has good ink already for ‘Warrior’, and so if ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ hits the right marks with Oscar than I could see him getting swept in as well.  Until I see the film or read the book though, I won’t really know if his role is the standout.  He has a lot of internal competition from some big names.  And then again, could this be the Gary Oldman show; end of story?  Only time will tell at this point.

10)   Kenneth Branagh/My Week With Marilyn:
Why?  I at one time (like, last month) thought that Branagh was going to win.  Maybe I’m too impressionable and should stick to my guns, but his nomination is making less and less sense with so much buzz spreading in different directions.  Couple that with the fact that the film doesn’t look to be a major contender, with early reviews (if you can call them that) labeling it a disappointment of sorts.  There is also the Michelle Williams factor.  She really is the heart of the film, and so she can either steal all the attention in a major way or she can derail the chances of anyone getting recognition for the film.  It’s such a hard one to call.  Still, the early word was that Branagh stole the whole show, and this really is the PERFECT role for the respected thespian, so if the hand is dealt correctly then he could still make a dent in the race.

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