We’ll continue breaking down these categories by looking at the Supporting categories. There is a strong consensus forming for all the acting categories, with it looking like there are four locks per category and a few names fighting for a fifth spot. Some categories are fuller than others, but it’s time to weed some of the obvious non-contenders out.
We’ll start with Supporting Actor.
The Supporting Actor category has been really the most streamlined all year. There are only six actors, maybe seven, with a real shot at the Oscar nomination, four of them mortal locks, leaving three performances to battle it out for that fifth spot.
|KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF MY OSCAR!|
Let’s discuss what we know for sure right now; J.K. Simmons is winning the Oscar. The most secure Oscar win out of pretty much all categories right now (yeah, I went there), Simmons has walked away with practically every single win. Norton has taken a few, Ruffalo snagged one and Duvall has one that doesn’t matter. Simmons has 16. He’s not losing. It’s sad to see something sweep like this, regardless of the performance. I haven’t seen it. I’ve heard mixed word on it. That being said, he’s a great character actor and it’s nice to see him get his due, but Edward Norton is MORE overdue, so like…I wish he was winning.
Then you have Hawke, Ruffalo and Norton who have landed everywhere…EVERYWHERE, and are getting that nom.
In case you’re wondering why I have Hawke above Ruffalo, it’s merely because Hawke’s film is in a better position to perform well with Oscar nominations, but I don’t think Hawke has a chance at winning (really, neither does Ruffalo, although I think he’ll pull in more overall votes than Hawke).
And then we have that wide open fifth spot that really isn’t all that wide open. Robert Duvall has, shockingly, maintained the smidgen of buzz he had when The Judge opened and no one liked it and thought he would just disappear. In fact, he’s hit BFCA, Globes and SAG. Still, despite a remarkably strong showing for a performance that no one seemed all that thrilled about, I’m skeptical. In fact, it is the lack of real passion that has me skeptical. But then the question arises, who could replace him? Brolin is rising in the ranks, snagging a recent BFCA nomination, and with Inherent Vice poised to surprise on nomination morning, he could reap those benefits. I’m also not willing to let go of Wilkinson yet. I know that he’s hit nothing, but he has a plum role in a very Oscar bait film, and this has become a common trend lately (a coattail nominee with no precursor support making it in as a surprise fifth nominee). So, despite some warning signs, I’m sticking with my gut, for now.
|I don't know why, but he still believes in me...|
Now, let’s look at the Supporting Actress category.
There are more contenders here, but in the scheme of things we’re kind of in the same boat. We have four actresses who are pretty much locked up, and then a fifth spot that looks to have a secure contender and yet, I’m not so sure.
First, most likely Patricia Arquette is winning. I kind of hate this. I mean, I respect her as an actress and have even loved some of her early work (her 90’s work was quite strong) and yet, I kind of hate this performance. There’s just nothing there, and there are some scenes that are cringe worthy, to be honest. She just doesn’t really do anything but age. Yes, she has a really nice closing scene, but other than that…what? Why is she winning everything? I mean, 23 mentions and 13 wins, one of which was in Lead! She barely has enough to constitute a supporting performance, but now you wanna say she’s good enough for a lead win? No.
UGH, but, like, my opinion absolutely does not matter.
Then we have Stone and Knightley, who have pretty much been showing up everywhere. Stone has even won two critics prizes, a big one in Boston. Stone has hit everywhere, even with the lower tier critics, so I think it’s safe to say that she’s locked in at second place. I want to say that Knightley is secure in third, but I’m not so sure she’s in front of Streep, who has not a single critics nomination/prize to her name and yet has popped up out of nowhere to land SAG, Globe and BFCA noms and is, like, nominated for everything. Even the lower than expected reviews mean nothing to her. She’s getting the Oscar nomination.
|Don't cry my dear, they always nominate me!|
3) Streep/Into the Woods
4) Knightley/The Imitation Game
And so now we have a fifth spot to fill and a few names who seem eager to fill it. Dern has been campaigning her ass off for a performance that many have said is too slight (compared to Arquette?), and she’s missed with the major precursors, but she has a co-star locked in for a nom and that could bolster support for her. Chastain has suffered from later screening for her film, and yet she won the NBR and managed to snag Spirit, BFCA and Globe nominations. My only drawback to Chastain is that she’s looking like the film’s sole nomination, and I think that could play against her. Swinton has shown herself surprisingly strong here, with a BFCA nomination and a slew of critics support, but her film is SO not the Academy’s cup of tea. Watts hit with SAG for St. Vincent, but I wonder if support for Birdman could trickle into a nomination for her for that performance, where she’s actually received some raves. Ejogo could also surprise, if love for Selma is strong, and Russo could benefit from this last minute love for Nightcrawler, especially if Gyllenhaal secures the nom for himself.
But none of these really feel all that secure to me…all that right. In this case, I'm throwing out a wild card prediction!
|He's probably dreaming, but could Oscar really call my name?|
I’m taking Waterston and Kulesza off of the Award’s Tally Page. I loved Kulesza, and she’s had a really great critics run, but she needed to hit with the televised precursors to actually have a shot at the Oscar, and she didn’t, sadly.