One of the big influences for making Best Supporting Actor and Actress predictions this early in the season is the desire to see an established actor who has never won before finally get their due. Names like Christopher Plummer, Paul Giamatti, Viola Davis, and Emily Watson are mentioned in this year’s batch of contenders if for no other reason than hopes are high that this may finally be their year. As a movie fan I always have the desire to see the year’s best performance actually winning the award, but I am rarely upset when a deserving performer who has a significant catalog of work finally gets recognition from their peers.
This year there are a decent amount of up and coming actors who could earn a nomination for the first time including Ezra Miller, Armie Hammer, Hunter McCracken, Jessica Chastain, or Mia Wasikowska. The past several years have shown a nice mix of winners who were first time nominees and multiple nominees, young actors and older actors, Awards magnets and first time phenoms. With very little known this time in the year, here are my predictions for how 2011 might end up.
Best Supporting Actor Predictions
1) Christopher Plummer – Beginners
A rule of thumb when it comes to making early Oscar predictions is to go with what you know and having seen Beginners, I know that Christopher Plummer is phenomenal as the elderly father of the protagonist. It is unclear what sort of competition will emerge yet this year to challenge Plummer, but this long-time actor who is experiencing some of his best work in the twilight of his life will be hard to beat.
2) Viggo Mortensen – A Dangerous Method
Every year I choose a film early to throw a large amount of support behind in terms of Awards probability. In case it is not obvious that film this year is David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method. Besides the fact that Cronenberg and frequent collaborator Viggo Mortensen are very overdue for a nomination, this film offers real-life characters in suspenseful roles that should be challenging and rewarding if the film is a success.
3) Christoph Waltz – Carnage
Coming off his first Oscar win for 2009’s Inglourious Basterds, Christoph Waltz became an incredibly hot commodity in Hollywood almost overnight. Roman Polanski’s Carnage should offer great opportunities for all four of its principles and now that it has for sure been slated for a 2011 release it has to be in any awards conversation.
4) Ezra Miller – We Need to Talk About Kevin
Tilda Swinton got most of the praise out of the Cannes Film Festival for her performance in Lynne Ramsay’s We Need to Talk About Kevin, but Miller was also praised for his small role. He plays a mentally imbalanced school shooter which could be the type of showy role that earns him some attention from several major Awards bodies. He will need a boost from the critics, but there is no reason he won’t be able to get it.
5) Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Ides of March or Moneyball
Who knows which actor (if any) will emerge as an Awards contender from George Clooney’s star-packed film The Ides of March. Hoffman has the early advantage because he tends to steal the screen from anybody he appears with and is already in the Academy’s favor. He won his only Oscar for appearing in Bennett Miller’s Capote so look for him to get some buzz for having a smaller part in Miller’s follow-up Moneyball.
Best Supporting Actress Predictions
1) Viola Davis – The Help
Davis lights up the stage annually and has made a rather impressive transition to film where she has already earned an Oscar nomination for about 8-minutes of screen time in 2008’s Doubt. Buzz from early screenings of The Help have singled out Davis as the film’s show-stealer with Jeff Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere saying she is “now at or near the top of the 2011 Best Supporting Actress list.”
2) Vanessa Redgrave – Coriolanus
It is difficult for actors and actress who appear in Shakespeare adaptations to earn Oscar nominations despite the fact that the material is challenging and the performances are often some of the year’s best. I suspect the primary reason is because Shakespeare adaptations are done quite frequently and the Academy has seen it all already. However, this is the first big screen adaptation of Coriolanus which means the feisty Volumnia has yet to be seen, a great opportunity for Redgrave.
3) Jessica Chastain – Take Shelter
If not Michael Fassbender, 2011 may belong to Jessica Chastain who springs from obscurity to roles in a Terence Malick film, a John Madden film, and Take Shelter – one of the standouts of the Sundance Film Festival. She was highly praised for playing the sympathetic wife opposite Michael Shannon’s deranged schizophrenic and her other film The Tree of Life is likely to maintain Academy attention throughout the year.
4) Keira Knightly – A Dangerous Method
There was a lot of poking fun at the accent of Keira Knightley in the trailer for A Dangerous Method, but sources who have seen some of the film say she is actually fantastic and one of the film’s standouts. I suspect that she may be overshadowed by Fassbender and Mortensen, but if she can hold her own once again there is no reason she won’t receive some Awards attention.
5) Naomi Watts – J. Edgar
I personally thought Watts was overlooked for her excellent performance as Valerie Plame in 2010’s Fair Game. This year she is in a Clint Eastwood movie, which means it would be a shock if she turns in another great performance and is ignored once again. She plays Helen Gandy, the right-hand woman to J. Edgar Hoover who should get enough screen time for Watts to really show her chops.
What are your predictions for these difficult to predict categories? Share them in the comments!