TRACKING THE OSCARS: Supporting Actor and Actress

It seems a moot point to write a column about the Supporting Actor and Actress categories this Oscar season. The race on both fronts is pretty much set on both fronts, right? Christoph Waltz and Mo’Nique are on the fast track to Oscar glory with very little possibility of anything standing in their way. The Screen Actors Guild announces their winners tomorrow night and Oscar writers are hoping that they shake things up. The arguments in favor of an upset are all highly flawed in their logic. The way I see it, the race for the win is pretty much set.

However, what about the nominees? That is a more complicated issue. While Christoph Waltz and Mo’Nique have been sweeping awards left and right, the people sitting behind them has been switching up for each respective award show. There are a number of contenders that are in play beyond the five possible nominees for each category. So who is going to have their name read on nominations Tuesday?

Best Supporting Actor

In this category there are three actors who I would consider locks for a nomination – Christoph Waltz, Woody Harrelson, and Stanley Tucci. Those three actors have all been nominated for the big four precursor awards – Critics Choice, Golden Globe, SAG, and BAFTA (with the exception of Harrelson who missed on the BAFTA). Although, it is pretty certain that Waltz is going to take the Oscar, there is some chatter that Harrelson might pose a threat, simply due to his likability in and around Hollywood.

There are three (maybe four) other actors competing for the last two spots in this category. Matt Damon is a Hollywood favorite who consistently just misses out on a nomination. His role in Invictus is not one of his career best performances. It’s not even his best performance of the year. However, he does have some momentum going with a SAG, Globe, and Critics Choice nomination.

The race for the fifth spot, in my mind is between Christian McKay of Me and Orson Welles, and Christopher Plummer of The Last Station. Both have received their fare share of precursor attention, but neither has been consistent. Even though Plummer is having one of the best years in his career, I’m giving the edge to McKay. The Academy loves to nominate biographical portrayals and the older voting members are likely to appreciate McKay’s work.

Best Supporting Actress

There are three supporting actresses who have all been nominated for the major four Awards in this year’s precursor race – Mo’Nique, the projected winner, and Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick, the Up in the Air duo. The fourth and fifth spots in the various award nominations have been drastically varied throughout the year.

Julianne Moore seems like a sure thing. She fantastically accompanies Colin Firth in his awards-worthy lead role in Tom Ford’s A Single Man. She has also found herself nominated for the Golden Globe and a BFCA awards. Add to that the fact that she is Julianne Moore, a well-respected actress among her Hollywood peers.

The fifth spot goes to Penelope Cruz. Even though the previous Best Actress winner has suffered some from the Nine backlash, I still find her the strongest contender. She is respected among her fellow actors as they awarded her with a SAG nomination. Many will argue that there is no more important precursor than the SAG for actors and actresses.

Possible spoilers include Melanie Laurent and Diane Krueger, the ladies from Inglourious Basterds. However, they are likely to split votes with each other and harm their overall chances.

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Best Supporting Actor
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  • Isaac Richter

    Hate to stump on your logic with Supporting Actor going with McKay, but remember that Christopher Plummer is playing Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station, which is also a biographical portrayal. Maybe you meant that Orson Welles is a character that some of the older members still remember (since some of them were around when he was) but Tolstoy is also a biographical portrayal.

    I would also consider Samantha Morton a possible spoiler for The Messenger, and if the Academy wises up, they’ll put Marion Cotillard in supporting for Nine (in a fairly mediocre film, she was the one thing that was constantly excellent).

    Otherwise, I agree that Waltz and Mo’Nique should have no problem winning, and honestly I don’t want anyone else to win those two awards (they were both amazing). I also loved Anna Kendrick, but Mo’Nique is in another league.

  • mirko

    I would consider Emma Thompson – Headmistress in “An Education”.

  • Luis Felipe Raguá Miranda

    Those two have already won the Oscar and they sure as hell deserve it. I also loved Hendrick but as Isaac said, Mo’ is in an entirely different level.

  • Andr913

    They totally deserve their Oscars, congratulations Mo’nique and Waltz!

    BUT! For the nominees in S. Actress, I think Melanie Laurent is the 5th nominee (she actually has a better chance than Cotillard and Moore). Kruger got nothing but an SAG nod, and Cruz is getting hit fairly hard by the Nine backlash.

    As for S. Actor, I think Harrelson is in, Tucci is in, Damon is almost-in, and that fifth nominee is anyone’s game-Plummer and McKay are up for it, but so is Mackie, and Molina might recover from the Globes snub.

  • Jose

    Matt Damon will not be nominated for Invictus, letting both McKay and Plummer in the race. And if any of the Inglorious Basterds ladies have a chance of getting nominated, its Laurent.

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