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Best Supporting Actor - Nathaniel's Ballot

Few things gave me more joy at the cinema this year than listening to Christopher Plummer discovering house music. Few things were more moving than watching Brad Pitt dig deep into a wounded father who loved but couldn't help but wound his own sons. Here are my choices for Best Supporting Actor a ballot composed of three father figures and two hedonists, one swaggeringly confident and the other self-protective but both fond of their booze.

Share your personal ballots in the comments!
and I no, I don't expect mine to line up so well with Oscar's...

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Reader Comments (34)

I like your choices a lot... especially Patton.

I am surprised that Albert Brooks is nowhere in your choices...

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrick

Hawkes in Martha Marcy May Marlene, Hardy in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Oswalt in Young Adult, Plummer in Beginners, Stoll in Midnight in Paris,

I found Hardy more dynamic than Cumberbatch in Tinker.... His is the flashiest role and it doesn't feel out of place in the picture. Hawkes' Patrick keeps popping up in my nightmares and that says a lot. No horror figure has done that for me since the Pale Man in Pan's Labyrinth.

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Really like your choices, especially Plummer and Pitt. Branagh and Oswalt were also really good. I haven't seen "Warrior" so I don't know about Nolte. Loved Hawkes in "MMMM." I also really liked Robert Forster in "The Descendants" and Joshua Leonard in "Higher Ground."

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

No idea about my own ballot still, but I highly approve of Corey Stoll's nomination!

Would Hardy be supporting in Warrior? If so, he may have my vote. Also Bruce Greenwood in Meek's Cutoff.

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

Actually, my list will likely look a lot like this (haven't seen Dangerous Method, Tinker Tailor, Midnight, or Marilyn yet). I would also consider: Tom Hiddleston in Thor, Albert Brooks and Bryan Cranston in Drive, Chris O'Dowd in Bridesmaids and Christoph Waltz in Carnage (small ensembles are tricky: Are they all leads or are they all supporting? Personally, I think in this case the Jodie Foster character is the lead and all the rest are supporting, but that's just my feeling - that character just dominates the piece.)

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Really weak category in general though this year, would you agree?
The only true standouts to me were Pitt in Tree of Life and Paul Bettany in Margin Call.

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDean

Great choices! I only hope Nolte and Wenham could find room in your top 11.

Shahab Hosseini, “A Separation”
Viggo Mortensen, “A Dangerous Method”
Nick Nolte, “Warrior”
Patton Oswalt, “Young Adult”
David Wenham, “Oranges and Sunshine”

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterButtercup

Jeremy Irons from Margin Call and Pitt are the top two for me but I like all your choices. Great to see Hawkes and Hosseini mentioned as well.

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

Flawless line-up. It's kind of sad that Pitt probably won't get nominated for such a great performance. I had this sort of intuition while watching "The Tree of Life" he would, but clearly, I know nothing.

I haven't seen "Young Adult" yet, but I'm pretty sure Patton Oswalt is as good as he was in "Tara". Maybe I would go with Hosseini in "A Separation" instead of Stoll, but Viggo is nonnegotiable. I love how he enjoys his cigars!

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Patton Oswald 
“Young Adult”
Albert Brooks
Viggo Mortenson "A Dangerous Method"
Brad Pitt 
“The Tree of Life”
Christopher Plummer

Same as yours except for Brooks. Plummer for the win.

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert

I think this is exactly what my ballot would be. I haven't had the opportunity to catch a few big contenders yet but I very much like all 5 of these performances

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCasey Fiore

Great line-up, but I can't believe you put both Brad Pitt and Hunter McCracken in supporting. Who are they supporting?! McCracken is absolutely the lead, c'mon Nate. :)

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJake D

Jake -- Terrence Malick is the lead ;) I view it as as a complete ensemble picture, like Gosford Park and that ilk. but who knows. maybe a second viewing would shift it a bit.

January 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R


I had a feeling Plummer, Mortenson and Pitt (love your writeup) would make the cut but very surprised/intrigued by the Brooks snub. Also, very pleased to see Branagh was at least a finalist.

On pins-and-needles for your actress lineups :)

My picks:

Kenneth Branagh, “My Week with Marilyn”
John Hawkes, “Martha Marcy May Marlene”
Chis O’Dowd, “Bridesmaids”
Brad Pitt, “The Tree of Life”
Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRyanSt

I really disagree with Pitt being here. Not that he wasn't great (oh boy, was he amazing), he's just the absolute lead in The Tree of Life. He was the soul of that unbelievable movie.

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdinasztie

Loving the Pitt and Oswalt love. :)

p.s. this is random but you didn't put Viola's BAFTA nom on her list of noms

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

Salute and applaud the noms for Oswalt and Mortensen. If I had seven slots for nominees, they'd be shoo-ins, but alas... Of course, one cannot deny the superb talents of Plummer and Pitt this year, both giving career-best performances. I wish people would stop citing Plummer's inevitable nomination as a career nod. The Last Station was the career nod; this is the real deal.

My ballot:
Edward Hogg, Anonymous
John Hurt, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt, Beginners
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Mark Strong, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWalter L. Hollmann

Nathaniel you have PSH currently listed as winning a BAFTA for the Ides of March! He certainly better not win (though I liked the film a lot) as I sincerely hope we'll be honouring Hal/Captain Von Trapp

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChrisD

unless for some bizarre reason you are lifting albert brooks up to lead consideration for Drive, this is travesty. And really surprising considering how much you like Drive and how he is one of the absolute best part about it.

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSean

I can't believe I haven't seen any of these movies yet. I am especially excited about Tree of Life and A Dangerous Method. I have always admired and disliked Freud in equal measure. It will be interesting to see Cronenberg's take. :-)

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteph

Need to see a shit-tonne more movies, but right now....

Shabab Hosseini, A Separation
Bruce Greenwood, Meek's Cutoff
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Brad Pitt, Tree of Life
Oscar Isaac, Drive

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

I've just come back from Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and in my honest opinion Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy and John Hurt should definitely be in contention. And in a year with Corey Stoll, Andy Serkis and Alan Rickman giving other great supporting performances I'm confused as to why this category is such a mess this year. Jonah Hill, for real?

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

No Brooks at all, eh? Well now you can expect a visit from the consensus police. Hope it was worth it.

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichael C

I think you know what I'm going to say already, given that he was my profile pic on Facebook for a month,

but if Judi Dench can win for an eight minute nothing in 'Shakespeare in Love', Adrien Brody can get nom'd for those JOYOUS three-and-a-half minutes in 'Midnight in Paris'.

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeau

...and I would put Chris New in Supporting.

*runs and hides*

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeau

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, "Hesher"
Michael Parks, "Red State"
John Hawkes, "Martha Marcy May Marlene"
Christopher Plummer, "Beginners"
Adrien Brody, "Midnight In Paris"

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrodie

Haven't seen "Tinker Tailor" or "Drive" yet. And both seem to be stirring up plenty of supporting actor fervor. Having said that, my ballot right now would include:
Jonah Hill "Moneyball'
Patton Oswalt "Young People"
Brad Pitt "Tree of Life"
Jason Segel "Bad Teacher'
Andy Serkis "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"

Plummer and McGregor are both actors I admire. But I just don't get all the affection for "Beginners". I don't.

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterken


WOW. Segel????

I mean, I love him as much as the next guy, but he was the only one who barely escaped the carnage that was 'Bad Teacher'.

I mean, seriously. Feel bad for everyone involved in that picture. There were fewer casualties in the Gulf War.

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeau

Great list and so great to see these kick off! This year was a solid year for this category, I felt. My ballot would read: Albert Brooks, John Hawkes, Chris O'Dowd, Christopher Plummer and Miles Teller with Cumberbatch, Oswalt, Shaffer, Olivier Rabourdin, Renier and Goro Inagaki close behind.

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

Not sure why Jonah Hill is getting so much hate, I mean he's not the first comic actor to transition over and do solid dramatic work, I mean people 5 years ago people would have said 'Oscar winner M'onique? Really?' etc. Tom Hanks was a sitcom actor before he became 'TOM HANKS'

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRamification

Currently my top five are as follows:

1) McCracken/The Tree of Life
2) Plummer/Beginners
3) Sutherland/Melancholia
4) Stoll/Midnight in Paris
5) Pitt/The Tree of Life

I'm actually in love with all five of these!!!

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

We can probably all agree that good performances DO sometimes pop up in not-so-good movies. But when it comes time to hand out the annual acting prizes, there's a tendency to don the awards season blinders and just sift through the same small group of esthetically approved titles. I approached "Bad Teacher" with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised. I found much of the dialogue above-average; the script occasionally went places that surprised me. Cameron Diaz was totally comfortable in her role. (I kept imagining how Julia Roberts' brand of smug,,entiitled mugging {smugging?} would have poisoned the part) . Plus the fade-out made me feel good without actually resorting to standard feel-good ending tactics. And - yes - I have to say Jason Segel (I'd never seen him before) was pretty terrific. As was the drolly hilarious Phyllis Smith's. - someone else I didn't know. Now, I approached "Horrible Bosses" and "Just Go With It" with similarly low expectations. And both turned out to be pretty wretched. But, you know, I'd have to say Jason Bateman was superb in "Bosses", rising above the drek in every scene. And Jennifer Aniston showed no hesitation in bringing her A-game to the otherwise abysmal "Just Go With It". As far as I'm concerned that woman is the modern Jean Arthur. Comic timing to die for - and there's a fleeting expression she captures as an elevator door closes that' took my breath away.
It seemed that heartfelt. When an actor can manufacture their own inspiration and deliver sublime work with no discernible help from script, co-stars or director, surely that's as award-worthy as being part of some seamlessly crafted artistic juggernaut .
Yeah, I know Jason Segel's work in "Bad Teacher" won't get within a mile of an Oscar nomination. But I don't think it's because the performance isn't good enough. So I'll keep him on my list.

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterken

Plummer in "Beginners"
Brooks in "Drive"
Stoll in "Midnight in Paris"
Pitt in "The Tree of Life"
Branagh in "My Week with Marilyn"

January 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJonny

I love the mentions of Plummer, Stoll and Pitt but I can't vouch for the other two since I didn't get to finish Dangerous Method (on account of loud movie-goers ruining the experience etc.) and I'm afraid to say that I wasn't totally sold on Oswalt in Young Adult. I thought he was okay for a comedian who's not primarily an actor but I felt someone more experienced could've made that part soar. Then again, it was the Charlize/Diablo show through and through.

Disappointed to see Cumberbatch from TTSS barely miss out as I thought that whole ensemble was excellent and very much worthy of a couple spots in Supporting Actor -- Strong and Hardy especially although Firth, Hurt and David Dencik all had their own moments as well.

Speaking of TTSS -- I'd totally nominate Svetlana Khodchenkova in the Actress Limited/Cameo Role category, I thought she was rather memorable. Although maybe her screentime was a tad too large and Kathy Burke would be more ideal.

Can't wait to see your Supporting Actress nominees!

January 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark
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