By Nathaniel R
It's only 321 days until the next Oscar ceremony. That may seem like a good long time but we rarely go days without thinking about it so it'll be here before we know it. The latest chart to go up is BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR. The Supporting categories are always tricky to suss out before the films are seen because supporting players generally need some fire from their films to make a dent, no matter how good the actual performance is. What's more we rarely know the full extent of what a supporting role entails this early as only the leads generally factor into early synopses. Nevertheless we forge a chart of possibility...
There are things that help clear the fog though. Oscar likes their male actors to be well into their 30s at least (sorry Nicholas Hoult and Armie Hammer but at least you made the chart) and they like giant sized near-lead or leading roles in the supporting category (sigh). So on that front we're predicting Michael Shannon who is half of The Current War's central conflict with Benedict Cumberbatch leading. For my wild card pick, I'm saying Harrison Ford in Blade Runner 2049. While that seems insane and unlikely (sci-fi performances are only very very rarely honored) I like to take risks and it is not unthinkable that the industry might want to give him a little "career" gift for his 75th birthday year. He's created so many iconic characters and he's resurging in popular culture again with his Han Solo and now Rick Deckard revivals. It probably won't happen but if it does, credit me! But really you can take all 20 of the names on the big chart and toss them in the air and any five might do this early.
Despite breathless internet clickbait obnoxiousness suggesting we will get another all-white year of acting nominees, I frankly don't think that'll happen. Other than Best Actress (always the whitest field, for reasons of casting primarily but sometimes also due to category fraud as we saw last year with Viola Davis opting out for the easier win), there are actors of color as possible contenders in every other category even if none of them are sure things. To be fair no one really is a sure thing this early in the game. Supporting actor looks the most potentially diverse at this admittedly large distance in terms of who might show up. We have an Indian actor with a title role (Ali Fazal in Victoria and Abdul) who will probably be deemed supporting even if he's a lead due to the stature of his co-star Dame Judi Dench. We have a Native American actor with a major role (Michael Greyeyes as "Sitting Bull" in Woman Walks Ahead) who will probably be deemed supporting even if he's a lead due to the title character being his co-star Jessica Chastain. We also have two rapidly rising acclaimed actors of color (Sterling K Brown in Marshall and Jason Mitchell in Mudbound) with what appear to be great roles and they might factor in, too. And that's just easy-to-spot contenders. Who knows who else might show up or steal scenes in their pictures!
Thoughts on this year's supporting actor race? Please do share them!