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Best Supporting Actor: Oscar's Ballot & Mine.

I haven't been shy about my disappointment with this year's Best Supporting Actor Oscar Ballot, a lineup lacking in narrative oomph (which shouldn't be a factor in judging "best" but still makes Oscar way less fun to follow when he eschews it for old favorites) and missing several electric, fresh, film elevating and moving performances in favor of merely solid work from Oscar winners in popular films. I'm all in for Tommy Lee Jones winning since he's the only nominee Oscar & I agree is worthy to hold a place in this particular shortlist. [While we're on the subject of votes, you should cast yours in the poll]

Will he win? That's another matter entirely. I'd wager he still has the lead by virtue of a very long one (since November when he took it from Matthew McConaughey... who never really had it *sniffle* in the first place) even if the precursors have never quite settled on a frontrunner and even if his no-show at SAG didn't exactly help his cause. Christoph Waltz's BAFTA win for his leading role in Django Unchained (which might more accurately be called Schultz Unchains Django Who Only Takes Over the Film-Carrying Duties For the Final ½ Hour of a 2½ hour Film) suggest that the tide has shifted but in the end with Argo and Silver Linings Playbook campaigns both fighting so hard in the final weeks for wins, I'm not so sure that votes won't still be all over the place in this category, letting Tommy take turn two at the podium.

More after the jump...

So herewith my choices for Best Supporting Actor and lineups from year's past.

A Note on Category Fraud: My saddest exclusion this year is Garrett Hedlund in On the Road who deserved a much stronger film around him for what could have been a star-making performance. I had initially deemed him supporting (as the campaign did) but the more I thought over the film the less I could see him as such we begin an end with the narrator obsessing over him and the camera even switches POV occassionally to make sure we're also tracking his feelings, too.  I can see the arguments either way (as with Helen Hunt in The Sessions) but in the end I only have myself to answer to so I had to go with lead. I also view two of the Oscar nominees Waltz & Hoffman as leading players this year. As for the lineups below, if you don't see a major character somewhere don't freak. They might have been in *lead* since I'm stricter about those designations. Sometimes to the point of silliness, I'm aware. I went a little crazy for a few years in reaction to Oscar's flagrant disregard for narrative truth... the Casey Affleck Jesse James & Jamie Foxx Collateral & Cate Blanchett Notes on a Scandal years sent me over the edge and trapped me in a self-built barricade against Category Fraud. For example: I would no longer be so adamant about deeming Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight or Christian Bale in The Fighter leads... I'd probably go with the flow in retrospect even if both are borderline cases. Next year I will attempt to turn over a new leaf and not be so freaked out about it ....unless it's just embarrassingly untruthful.

Film Bitch Award Nominees in Alpha Order
Michael Fassbender, Prometheus
Samuel L Jackson, Django Unchained
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Jude Law, Anna Karenina
Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike
*see the chart for the honorable mentions and reasons why

previous years...

Gold: Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Silver: Brad Pitt, The Tree of Life
Bronze: Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method
Also Nominated
Patton Oswalt, Young Adult
Corey Stoll, Midnight in Paris
for more on this field

Gold: Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
Silver: John Hawkes, Winter's Bone
Bronze: Andrew Garfield, The Social Network
Also Nominated
Michael Fassbender, Fish Tank
Jeremy Renner, The Town
for more on this field 

Gold: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Silver: Anthony Mackie, The Hurt Locker
Bronze: Paul Scheider, Bright Star
Also Nominated
Christian McKay, Me and Orson Welles
Stanley Tucci, Julie & Julia
for more on this field 

Gold: Robert Downey Jr, Tropic Thunder
Silver: Bill Irwin, Rachel Getting Married
Bronze: Josh Brolin, Milk
Also Nominated
Benoît Magimel, A Girl Cut in Two
Brad Pitt, Burn After Reading

Gold: Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men
Silver: Max von Sydow, The Diving Bell and Butterfly
Bronze: Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild
Also Nominated
Irfan Khan, A Mighty Heart
Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton

Gold: Steve Carell, Little Miss Sunshine
Silver: Greg Kinnear, Little Miss Sunshine
Bronze: Mark Wahlberg, The Departed
Also Nominated
Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children
Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls

Gold: Jeff Daniels, The Squid and the Whale
Silver: Donald Sutherland, Pride & Prejudice
Bronze: Mickey Rourke, Sin City
Also Nominated
Kevin Costner, The Upside of Anger
Frank Langella, Good Night, and Good Luck.

Gold: Jude Law, I ♥ Huckabees
Silver: Mark Wahlberg,  I ♥ Huckabees
Bronze: Thomas Hayden Church, Sideways
Also Nominated
Paul Bettany, Dogville
David Carradine, Kill Bill, Vol. 2

Gold: Peter Sarsgaard, Shattered Glass
Silver: Paul Bettany, Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World
Bronze: Benicio Del Toro, 21 Grams
Also Nominated
Geoffrey Rush, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
Ken Watanabe, The Last Samurai

Gold: Chris Cooper, Adaptation
Silver: Dennis Quaid, Far From Heaven
Bronze: Barry Pepper, 25th Hour
Also Nominated
Andy Serkis, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Naseeruddin Shah, Monsoon Wedding

Gold: Jim Broadbent, Moulin Rouge!
Silver: Sir Ian McKellen, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Bronze: Ben Kingsley, Sexy Beast
Also Nominated
Jude Law, A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Owen Wilson, The Royal Tenenbaums/Zoolander

Gold: Willem Dafoe, Shadow of the Vampire
Silver: Mark Ruffalo, You Can Count on Me
Bronze: Benicio Del Toro, Traffic
Also Nominated
Albert Finney, Erin Brockovich
Ian Holm, Joe Gould's Secret


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Reader Comments (69)

LOVE your honorable mentions of Ewan McGregor and Jason Clarke. Two performances that should have factored into more conversations this year if they weren't engulfed by the great females opposite them.

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

We agree on the problem but not the solution. My other choices (besides TLJ) in this always packed category:

Ed Norton in “Moonrise Kingdom”
James Spader in “Lincoln”
Mark Ruffalo in “The Avengers”
Jason Clarke in “Zero Dark Thirty”

Can't wait to see ON THE ROAD. Hasn't arrived in Seattle yet. Long distance.

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterErik

Nice choices! Glad to see Law in there even if there was no room for him in my picks, speaking of which:

Michael Fassbender, Prometheus
James Gandolfini, Killing them Softly
Garret Hedlund, On the Road
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Ewan McGregor, The Impossible

I'll post my previous winners in a bit.

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Thank you Nat, you cheered me up as I felt gloomy at work - made my day (in NZ)


My picks were McConaughey, Caine, Fassbender, Serkis, Wilkinson and Edward Norton for Moonrise but yours are as ever, infinitely better and well justified - since I posted mine I've seen Django and both Leo and Samuel would make it somewhere in mine, but my gold still goes to McConaughey, my silver still to Edward Norton and Serkis would take the bronze.

Thank you again :D

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermorganisaqt

I respect your entire line-up, even if I don't agree with it completely.

Here's my list:

Tom Cruise, Rock of Ages
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Reda Kateb, Zero Dark Thirty
Ewan MacGregor, The Impossible
Ezra Miller, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Seth Rogen, Take This Waltz

It's not yet finalized. I need to cut one of these men out. I can't.

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNicolas Mancuso

Tom Cruise was the only good thing about Rock of Ages. The movie was terrible but he really delivered, the only one that seemed to get the tone of the film.

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Bit weird you didn't put Molina in your top five in 04. I don't LOVE Spider-Man 2 like you do and I was kind of forced to concede his utter BRILLIANCE.

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

2000: Willem Dafoe, Shadow of the Vampire
2001: Steve Buscemi, Ghost World
2002: Chris Cooper, Adaptation.
2003: Paul Bettany, Master and Commander
2004: Clive Owen, Closer
2005: George Clooney, Syriana
2006: Michael Caine, Children of Men
2007: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
2008: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
2009: Christoph Waltz, Inglorious Basterds
2010: Andrew Garfield, Never Let Me Go
2011: Nick Nolte, Warrior

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Heath Ledger was in The Dark Knight. Not Rises.

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

That's a top-notch list - particularly happy to see Jude Law and Jeroen Perceval's names (although for my money, Matthew MacFadyen is even better in Anna K.)
I was surprised not to see Eddie Redmayne in there - that cut must have hurt.
And not to give you heck for something you did 13 years ago, but... Mark Ruffalo in supporting in 2000? Dude! Who were you?

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

Philip Seymour Hoffman was by far the best for me.

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSquasher8

For what it's worth, after I saw The Fighter back in 2010, I remember thinking that Bale was really a co-lead. Not many people seem to see it that way, but I'm glad I'm at least in good company.

However, I see some of your other past picks that were also arguably co-leads, like Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men and Jeff Daniels in The Squid and the Whale. I, for one, would place both of them in the lead category. Some people have even suggested Christoph Waltz was a lead in Inglourious Basterds, but that's definitely an ensemble film to me, even if he does have the most screen time.

Anyway, I like your picks this year. I feel like a fanboy for saying this, but my personal choice for Best Supporting Actor (as of now...there are still some movies I need to see) is Javier Bardem for Skyfall. I realize it's not the most nuanced performance of the year, but I can't think of another one in this category that completely stole my attention for every second of screen time. Although it should be noted that I'd easily pick Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master in this category if not for the fact that, like you, I consider him a co-lead.

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEdwin

Sad to see Redmayne missing out, and puzzled to see Miller in your honourable mentions; I thought he was a cliched cartoon. Then again I thought Perks was pretty much a joke.

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrodie

2012 Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike
runner-up: Jason Clarke, Zero Dark Thirty
Other Nominees:
Scoot McNairy, Killing Them Softy
Bruce Willis, Moonrise Kingdom
James Gandolfini, Killing Them Softy

2011 Albert Brooks, Drive
runner-up: Ezra Miller, We Need to Talk About Kevin
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Corey Stoll, Midnight in Paris

2010 Christian Bale, The Fighter
Runner-Up: John Hawkes, Winter's Bone
Michael Fassbender, Fish Tank
Armie Hammer, The Social Network

2009 Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Runner-Up: Christian McKay, Me & Orson Welles
Michael Fassbender, Inglourious Basterds
Anthony Mackie, The Hurt Locker
Paul Schneider, Bright Star

2008 Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Runner-Up: Ralph Fiennes, In Bruges
Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road
Brad Pitt, Burn After Reading
Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder

2007 Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Runner-Up: Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild
Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton
John Carroll Lynch, Zodiac

2006 Stephen Graham, This is England
Runner-Up Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children
Mark Wahlberg, The Departed
Steve Carell, Little Miss Sunshine
Channing Tatum, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints

2005* Jeffrey Wright, Broken Flowers
Runner-Up: Jeff Daniels, The Squid and the Whale
Kevin Costner, The Upside of Anger
Barry Pepper, The Three Burials of Melquidas Estrada
Christian Bale, The New World
*-Felt Gyllenhaal being placed here was category fraud

2004 Clive Owen, Closer
Runner-Up: Thomas Haden Church, Sideways
David Carradine, Kill Bill Vol. 2
Mark Wahlberg, I Heart Huckabees
Jon Gries, Napoleon Dynamite

2003 Peter Dinklage, The Station Agent
Runner-Up: Paul Bettany, Master & Commander
Tim Robbins, Mystic River
Judah Friedlander, American Splendor
Alec Baldwin, The Cooler

2002 Barry Pepper, 25th Hour
Runner-Up: Andy Serkis, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Chris Cooper, Adaptation.
Paul Newman, Road to Perdition
Dennis Quaid, Far from Heaven

2001 Steve Buscemi, Ghost World
Runner-Up: Brian Cox, L.I.E.
Jude Law, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence
Ian McKellen, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Ben Kingsley, Sexy Beast

2000 Willem Dafoe, Shadow of a Vampire
Runner-Up: Gary Oldman, The Contender
Benicio del Toro, Traffic
Tim Blake Nelson, O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Albert Finney, Erin Brockovich

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

I have so much overlap with a lot of people... What wonderful critics we all make!

Best Supporting Actor:
Javier Bardem, Skyfall
Michael Fassbender, Prometheus
Paul Giamatti, Cosmopolis
Matthew Macfayden, Anna Karenina
Ewan McGregor, The Impossible
Sam Rockwell, Seven Psychopaths

honorable mentions: Jason Clarke, Zero Dark Thirty; Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln; Scoot McNairy, Killing Them Softly; Ezra Miller, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDevin D

I don't know why I was so surprised, but your picks in this category in the past are IMPECCABLE. Oscar should hang his head in shame.

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

since you brought up the constant categorie fraud in the supporting categories, and how you hate this kind of thing, how is Jeff Daniels supporting in The Squid and the Whale??

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVictor S

Victor -- i never said i was infallible on this matter.i find the hardest issues to come to agreement on (even without oneself) are ensemble films. Like for me CLOSER has four leads but a lot of people thought i was crazy for having clive owen as a lead actor that year. in retrospect that was a weird call on Jeff Daniels but at the time i must have viewed it as Jesse Eisenberg's film. but i guess maybe it's a three lead film.

Mike -- who was I indeed! haha. like i said. i think i went with the flow for a long time (just going with however the campaign said with occassional pangs of conscience) but 2004-2007 kind of permanently broke me in this area cuz it was like all leads (emphatic leads!) all the time in supporting categories. and then it became a "cause" because i really began to hurt for true character actors who could never be honored again because the movie stars were taking up the category specifically created to honor them in the late 30s.

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR

Surprised you didn't respond to Mikkel Følsgaard, who was, in my mind, amazing in "A Royal Affair." Glad to see some love for Jackson, who was easily MVP in "Django."

(I consider Mark Ruffalo very much a lead in "You Can Count on Me")

My ballot
1. Javier Bardem, "Skyfall"
2. Mikkel Følsgaard, "A Royal Affair"
3. Samuel L. Jackson, "Django Unchained"
4. Matthew McConaughey, "Magic Mike" WINNER
5. Ewan McGregor, "The Impossible"

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

Hooray for Jude Law. Loved him as Karenin. A career changing role.

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

So happy to see Ewan right up there. I know you love him as an actor and the Academy could care less, but after seeing the film I really couldn't believe he didn't get any attention for The Impossible.

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDanny Hall

Agreed on the quality of Fassbender's performance, but isn't he the male lead in the movie? I suppose its debatable but I never saw it as a supporting role.

And whither young Eddie Redmayne? Given the attention lavished on him around these parts over the last month or so I'd have thought he was a lock for at least an honorable mention slot!

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

Nat, a word on "category fraud". I know this is an unpopular opinion, but when it comes to the Oscars there really can't be such a thing as category fraud, because there is no "official" definition from the Academy of what "lead" means and what "supporting" means, which basically means actors can be campaigned however the hell they want. You can argue the morals of it all you want, but at the end of the day, this is all just a game and the only time you're doing something wrong is when you break one of the established rules of the game. Since this rule doesn't exist, there can be no fraud. Maybe what you should do is demand the Academy to post an official definition of "Lead" and "Supporting" and then abide by it. Until that happens, it's all moot.

Of course, we all have our definitions. Personally, I define "lead" as a film's protagonist and in some case its main antagonist. This is why I don't buy Christoph Waltz as lead in Django Unchained. Yes, he has a lot of screen time, but Dr. Schultz is not the protagonist or a primary antagonist. That film is Django's story from the moment he is bought and how he goes from being a rebel slave to an actual hero. Yes, Dr. Schultz helps in this development, but he himself never changes and the quest is not really his, he's simply helping someone who helped him (also,, think of this, Waltz has no scenes in that movie without Jamie Foxx, whilst Foxx has plenty without Waltz). Hoffman, him I can definitely see a case. He and Phoenix are constantly challenging each other, so you can make a case for them being each other' antagonist, though personally I would have found placing Phoenix in supporting to be more egregious.

Anyway, it's all moot when it comes to the Oscars because there is no official definition to guide themselves by, and I'm guessing this is on purpose so the studios can campaign however it suits them the best, but this is not a case of breakinga rule, but rather that a rule needs to exist in the first place.

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

No Eddie Redmayne????? No Dwight Henry?? Are they considered leads??? Eek.
Nice list, though.

for me, probably

Samuel L. Jackson
Dwight Henry
Eddie Redmayne
Ewan McGregor

Still can't decide on fifth place ...

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

You've created a far better list than Oscar was able to drum up this year. I also appreciate your nods to Clarke and The Deep Blue Sea actors. They didn't make my list, either, but those three performances came pretty damn close.

My picks for this category were:
Michael Fassbender (Prometheus)
James Gandolfini (Killing Them Softly)
Samuel L. Jackson (Django Unchained)
Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)
Sam Rockwell (Seven Psychopaths)

And my prior winners:
2011: Brad Pitt (The Tree of Life)
2010: Christian Bale (The Fighter)
2009: Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)
2008: Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
2007: Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men)
2006: Kazunari Ninomiya (Letters from Iwo Jima)
2005: Michael Pena (Crash)

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterW.J.

I truly appreciate your recognition of Samuel L. Jackson's EXCELLENT performance. He gets gold from me, no contest.

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJS

Thumbs up for remembering Jude Law!...because no one did.

So underrated in that role..

Sidenote: i have a problem with my posts being eaten. I usually copy before i post and paste if the post never makes it.

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck

Thumbs up for remembering Jude Law!...because no one did.

So underrated in that role..

Sidenote: i have a problem with my posts being eaten. I usually copy before i post and paste if the post never makes it.

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck

My picks....

2000: Benicio Del Toro, “Traffic”
(Phoenix “Quills”, Dafoe, Finney, Oldman)

2001: Heath Ledger, “Monster’s Ball”
(McKellen, Broadbent “Moulin Rouge”, Kingsley, Law)
*I'm proud to say Ledger was always my choice here, even before "Brokeback"

2002: Chris Cooper, “Adaptation”
(Quaid, Gyllenhaal, Harris, Dillane)

2oo3: Peter Sarsgaard, “Shattered Glass”
(Del Toro, Bettany, Hounsou, Robbins)

2004: Clive Owen, “Closer”
(Law, Carradine, Church, Freeman)

2005: Clifton Collins Jr., “Capote”
(Hurt, Giamatti, Costner, Dillon)

2006: Jackie Earl Haley, “Little Children”
(Carell, Wahlberg, Pitt, Nicholson)
*I don't know what i was thinking with Jack, oops

2007: Javier Bardem, “No Country for Old Men”
(Finney, Lee Jones, Downey Jr., Ledger)

2008: Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
(Downey Jr., Dillane, Pitt, Brolin)

2009: Christoph Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds”
(Harrelson, Scheider, Menochet, McKay)

* Best of the Decade (2000-09) *
Javier Bardem, “No Country for Old Men”
Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Clive Owen, “Closer”
Benicio Del Toro, “Traffic”
Christoph Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds”

2010: Christian Bale, “The Fighter”)
(Ruffalo, Fassbender, Brosnan, McGregor)

2011: Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
(Pitt, Hawkes, Branagh, O’Dowd)

2012: Ezra Miller, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
(Hedlund, McConaughey, Lee Jones, Hoffman)

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRyanSt

Okay, yeah, my fifth place would be Tom Hiddleston in The Deep Blue Sea.

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

Gosh I love that you included Fassbender, Jackson & McCoughnty here. These are going to be the performances that people look back at X years from now.

That 2001 line-up is to die for.

ha Mark Walberg 2x medalist! JK, richly deserved - he was truly great (and funny to boot!) in those two roles.

I also love that you medaled Mickey Rourke (Sin City) & Paul Bettany (Master and Commander).

And can't comprehend why you'd knocked Sir Ian McKellen down to second place - insanity, I'll say it was a lapse of judgment on your part because you didn't want to award him for the first part of a film in a trilogy. A mistake looking back, I'm sure.

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

@Richter Scale How doesn't Schulz never change? The way he stops being cynical is a major plot point! And Waltz plays his his arc so beautifully, in understated detail... But it's a gray area. That "no scenes without Foxx" is a very good argument and that's why Hunt is a lead in The Sessions.


II've loved all three supporting performances in Django (yes, now I see Waltz as a borderline case, a gray area, and I'll go supporting), so I'll pull a The Godfather here: Waltz, DiCaprio, Jackson, TLJ, McCounaghey.

Gold: Tommy Lee Jones
Silver: Christoph Waltz
Bronze: DiCaprio

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

hoffman was very good (even though he does this kind of performances in his sleep), but I'd still go with tommy lee jones here, and I do believe he'll be the one taking it next week.

great set of nominees nathaniel, loved fassbender in prometheus. I disagree with samuel l. jackson though. I'm a django unchained hater and samuel l. jackson's preachy tone on a tarantino movie is just old (much like christoph waltz will surely become if quentin keeps on using him for the same charming-german-roles) and as a crippled old man he was dead awful, and that distracted me from whatever brilliance most of the people seem to think of that performance.

on category fraud, I would really love the academy to set up some sort of jury to sort this stuff out, because there have been some preposterous nominees (and winners!!) in this category over the years. I mean, kevin spacey winning for the usual suspects (one of my favorite movies of all time) was the biggest mockery ever made to this category. hoffman in the master I do give a pass, but his nomination in doubt, waltz in django unchained, casey affleck's in jesse james, jamie foxx in collateral, clive owen in closer, jake gyllenhaal in brokeback mountain... I mean the list is endless and these were all relatively recent nominations off the top of my head. it's been getting worse.

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter

Great list. And oh my, I totally forgot how amazing Kinnear and Carrell were in Little Miss Sunshine!

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrami (ramification)

It's a good list.

Mine would read

Yilmaz Erdogan (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia)
Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike)
Bidzina Gujabidze (The Loneliest Planet)
Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty)
Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)

with honourable mentions to: James Gandolfini (Killing Them Softly), Phillip Seymour Hoffman (The Master) and Dwight Henry (Beasts of the Southern Wild).

But I'm yet to see Lincoln, Django Unchained and Prometheus.

Once I manage to see the latter in particular, I feel confident I would probably add Fassbender to my shortlist because I can't picture him being anything short of awesome in a role like the one you describe. (I found his X-Men performance criminally underrated - practically as strong as his galvanising work in Shame but without the bits of pretentiousness McQueen nudged him towards - e.g. that impromptu/incongruously-bad-taste straight-to-camera breakdown on the pier.)

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergoran

I see why you're tired of fighting the category fraud thing, but if nobody does, we'll end up having a lineup of five supporting actor/actress nominees with all lead performances.

Every part is so debatable that I, for example, consider Garfield in The Social Network co-lead, not supporting. The movie just wouldn't happen without him.

So, the best thing would be for AMPAS to set an arbitrary (and so, unfair) rule like, for instance, not exceeding a third part of the total time. Or a syntactic point of view, if it's like a "defining relative clause", it's lead, but if it's non-defining (it can be left in the editing room), then supporting. :)

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteriggy

No way is Benicio Del Toro in 21 Grams isupporting - he, Watts and Penn are all leads...

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKermit The Frog

Your lists from the past decade are INCREDIBLE. Practically flawless, and good enough to make me completely reassess this category. Oscar should hang his head in shame when looking at his lists compared to these.

This year is so weird for this category, in that I love a lot of the performances nominated but am not particularly enthused about any of the actually WINNING. I think my list would look something like this:

Dwight Henry (Beasts)
Samuel L. Jackson (Django)
Jude Law (Anna Karenina)
Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike)
and one of Ezra Miller, Ewan McGregor, Tommy Lee Jones, or Hugh Grant (Cloud Atlas).

And that's leaving out Robert DeNiro, Steve Carell (Hope Springs), Guy Pearce (Lawless), Leonardo DiCaprio, Andy Serkis (who topped his LOTR work), and Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers).

Yeah, back to hating this category.

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

1. Christopher Guest, Best in Show
2. Marlon Wayans, Requiem for a Dream
3. John Tormey, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
4. Grégoire Colin, Beau Travail
5. David Morse, Dancer in the Dark

1. Brian Cox, L.I.E.
2. James Gandolfini, The Mexican
3. Luke Wilson, The Royal Tenenbaums
4. Heath Ledger, Monster's Ball
5. Lafayette Montgomery, Mulholland Dr.

1. Alan Arkin, Thirteen Conversations About One Thing
2. Ian Somerhalder, The Rules of Attraction
3. Christopher Walken, Catch Me if You Can
4. Jack Kehler, Love Liza
5. John Neville, Spider

1. Seth Green, Party Monster
2. Tom Guiry, Mystic River
3. Alec Baldwin, The Cooler
4. Jeremy Sisto, May
5. Bobby Cannavale, The Station Agent

1. Mark McKinney, The Saddest Music in the World
2. Thomas Haden Church, Sideways
3. Eddie Marsan, Vera Drake
4. Danny Huston, Birth
5. Mos Def, The Woodsman

1. Jeff Daniels, The Squid and the Whale
2. Ray Wise, Good Night, and Good Luck
3. Hippolyte Girardot, Kings and Queen
4. Christian Bale, The New World
5. Vincent D'Onofrio, Thumbsucker

1. David Morse, Down in the Valley
2. Robert Downey Jr., A Scanner Darkly
3. Boubker Ait El Caid, Babel
4. Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland
5. Alain Chabat, The Science of Sleep

1. Mark Ruffalo, Zodiac
2. Garret Dillahunt, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
3. Titus Welliver, Gone Baby Gone
4. Martin Compston, Red Road
5. Jeff Fahey, Planet Terror

1. Russell Brand, Forgetting Sarah Marshall
2. Brad Pitt, Burn After Reading
3. Roger Allam, Speed Racer
4. Haaz Sleiman, The Visitor
5. J.K. Simmons, Burn After Reading

1. Saul Rubinek, Julia
2. Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
3. Timothy Olyphant, A Perfect Getaway
4. Jérémie Renier, Summer Hours (and Lorna's Silence)
5. Hanns Zischler, Flame & Citron

1. Michael Fassbender, Fish Tank
2. Rhys Ifans, Greenberg
3. Filippo Timi, Vincere
4. Kieran Culkin, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
5. Hans-Jochen Wagner, Everyone Else

1. Shahab Hosseini, A Separation
2. John C. Reilly, Terri
3. Mark Strong, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
4. Albert Brooks, Drive
5. Chris O'Dowd, Bridesmaids

2012 (of the little I've seen)
1. Daniel Giménez Cacho, Get the Gringo
2. Jérémie Renier, The Kid with a Bike
3. Bill Paxton, Haywire
4. Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained
5. Tom Hiddleston, The Avengers

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterm83

Richter, Waltz is definitely a co-lead. He is also the co-protagonist, and he informs and guides the hero every step of the way for the first 90 min. He's also the scene partner for Foxx for two hours. Also, he drives the plot for most of the film. No way is this a supporting role. And he kicks ass in this part. Best in show, with Jackson runner up.

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Iggy - Wouldn't every performance be lead then? I don't think a supporting character means that the film could happen all the same without them.

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Some love for Guy Pearce in Lawless, y'all

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercaroline

Richter, there is no doubt that Waltz is a lead. He is not the protagonist, but he certainly drives most the of the plot for the first part of the movie, especially since our titular hero is a cypher and hardly speaks. Shultz is also in almost every scene of the movie. And he's the catalyst for almost everything Foxx does. He's certainly a co-lead...and amazing in this role. He's supporting in the sense that he supports the protagonist...but he's certainly a main character in his own right.

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Ummmm... what about On the Road guy?

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHowler

Well done Nat on the Law nomination best he has been in 10 years,don't agree with Jones though or Mcconaughey.

my top 5

1 - Robert De Niro - Silver Linings Playbook
2 - Jude Law - Anna Karenina
3 - Dwight Henry - Beasts of the Southern Wild
4 - Ewan Mcgregor - The Impossible
5 - Edward Norton - Moonrise Kingdom.

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermark

I haven't seen Moonrise Kingdom (or I would probably put Bill Murray automatically on this list), Les Miz, Prometheus, Skyfall or Perks; I mention these because these promise to feature wonderful supporting roles. But here is my list:

1. Tommy Lee Jones -- Lincoln

2. Christoph Waltz -- Django Unchained

3. Jason Clarke -- Zero Dark Thirty

4. Tom Hardy -- The Dark Knight Rises

5. Samuel L. Jackson -- Django Unchained

Honorable Mentions: Tom Wilkinson -- The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, John Goodman -- Trouble With the Curve, Robert De Niro -- Silver Linings Playbook, Edgar Ramirez -- Zero Dark Thirty, Tom Holland -- The Impossible

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

2000 Gary Lewis, Billy Elliot.
2001 Jim Broadbent, Iris.
2002 Paul Newman, Road to Perdition.
2003 Tim Robbins, Mystic River.
2004 Philip Davis, Vera Drake.
2005 William Hurt, A History of Violence.
2006 Leslie Phillips, Venus.
2007 Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton.
2008 Eddie Marsan, Happy-Go-Lucky.
2009 Alfred Molina, An Education.
2010 Michael Fassbender, Fish Tank.
2011 Christopher Plummer, Beginners.

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

So you had Heath Ledger in lead for "The Dark Knight" then? B/c snubbing him for Robert Downey Jr. is too ridic for words. I can't get to your 2008 choices.

And you didn't consider Jeff Daniels lead in "The Squid and the Whale"? Did Jesse Eisenberg make your lead ballot that year instead or something?

Curious supporting actor choices this year. I'd place Hoffman in lead too for "The Master." I'm in the camp of Waltz doing a riff on Landa in "Django Unchained," so no nod anywhere for him. Tommy Lee Jones would be my winner too from the Oscar lineup. But it's pretty criminal that they found no place for Dicaprio, Dwight Henry, Jude Law, Tom Holland, Jason Clarke, Sam Jackson, Javier Bardem, and on and on. But lazy turns from Alan Arkin and Deniro coast in on prior name recognition. Sad really, but what can you do. Not sure what the fuss is about with McConaghey in "Magic Mike" though. He was better in "Killer Joe." But that was getting nodded nowhere. I didn't see Fassbender in "Prometheus" to judge that.

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRicky

Django Unchained was supposed to be a comedy? I thought it was a sharp and bloody comedy on revenge films and audience blood lust. Agreed on the strength of Samuel L Jackson's performance, though.

My own winner is Christopher Walken for Seven Psychopaths, followed by Michael Fassbender for Prometheus and Andy Serkis for The Hobbit. Jason Clarke also makes my line-up for Zero Dark Thirty. The other names are VOD releases that are Oscar adjacent but year relevant.

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

And about Christoph Waltz (who I love both as an actor in general and in Django specifically): He is most definitely a lead. Not THE lead, but not all films have just one lead. If his character was a woman instead, whoever played her would have been campaigned as a lead, right? Come on, you KNOW it's true.

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

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