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Best Supporting Actor - April Foolish Oscar Predix

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.

so many possibilities. This time of year is always so open to dreaming. Which performers will impress the masses this year?

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!   

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Reader Comments (22)

Hammer, Efron, Isaac, Bardem & Hoult would probably be the sexiest Supporting Actor lineup of all time.

April 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDame James

Can't believe Patrick Stewart has never been nominated. If the studio pushes for it they could ride that narrative to a nomination.

April 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTr

Haha...I love the typo for Eddie Izzard in the Tier 5 list...he's up for Victoria and Abril (not Victoria and Abdul). Spain on the brain, Nat?

April 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSoSue

My biggest wish for this category is for Ben Mendelsohn to get nominated for Darkest Hour. I've been a fan of his since his small role in The Dark Knight Rises and from the looks of it, his role as King George VI could be his ticket to the Oscar race. Given his recent Emmy win for Bloodline, it's clear he's beloved in the industry. So if the movie delivers, he could be on track for his first nomination.

April 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMatt St. Clair

Harrelson and Shannon were locked the minute their films were announced.

April 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDevin D

Technically speaking, Armie Hammer is currently 31. So he makes the cut.

April 17, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterleon

Just curious, Nathaniel: Did any of your April 2016 actor predictions actually end up with an Oscar nomination for 2016?

April 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMinerva

I just want Stewart and Jackman do get in for Logan. That's all I want,

April 17, 2017 | Unregistered Commentersati

My top 10 for this category right now:

1. Ed Harris, mother!
2. Anthony Mackie, Detroit (Will Poulter looks...not great...right now.)
3. Owen Wilson, Wonder
4. Jon Hamm, Baby Driver (Remember, VERY recently, critics groups and the acting branch basically bent over backwards to give Bryan "Breaking Bad" Cranston a nomination for, pretty much, no reason. If his competition for those five Emmys actually gives them a strong movie (early reviews imply yes) that critics want to argue for (critics groups have previously seemed to want to lay down and die before they fight for Edgar Wright), and a strong reason within said movie (the early reviews imply Hamm's best in show here), they'll bite.)
5. Nicholas Hoult, The Current War (Even if this Edison vs. Westinghouse movie isn't good enough for wider play, a memorialization of what the movie probably should have been (Edison vs. Tesla) could still take hold)
6. Kurt Russell, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (The most recent trailer makes it seem like his role is a "verbal set-piece" digression that's mostly about him, even if he's not the main villain of the film. Plus, the un-nominated icon argument is still in play for him.)
7. Johnny Depp, Murder on the Orient Express (Johnny Depp playing someone who's such a huge jackass that the hero lets his murderers off? That could be FUN, even if the part is smaller than usual for this category.)
8. Harrison Ford, Blade Runner 2049
9. Michael Keaton, Spider-Man: Homecoming
10. Jason Mitchell, Mudbound

April 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

LOL at the "best work of his career" for Hammer. That doesn't exactly say much. He's not terrible (I actually thought he was good in J. Edgar and he it seems most everyone thought he was good in Social Network) but he's hardly got a career that warrants that particular kind of praise.

April 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

Minerva -- 2 of the 5 were nominated from my predix last year at this time.

April 17, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

leon -- i wouldn't call "31" well into your 30s - you've basically just entered the 30s :)

April 17, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

"1. Ed Harris, mother!"

I wish!

April 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Zac for the win ! ; )

April 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph

Suzanne: It's that nostalgia factor of "oh, yeah, we used to love him, why didn't he win", especially if the role is big enough.

April 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

When I saw Patrick Stewart's photo I thought "Oh! Is Christopher Plummer in a new film?". Now that Stewart has aged he looks like Plummer's brother!

I see you've got On Chesil Beach in mind. I hope Saoirse Ronan and Emily Watson make the cut. Sorry Brie, but Ronan should have won for Brooklyn!

April 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

Everyone: If critics really wanted to push Patrick Stewart to a nomination? That would have happened last year, for his great against type performance in Green Room.

April 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Can't weigh in on these (although go, Woody!), but wanted to say how happy it makes me to see Mahershala Ali's smiling face at the top right of the prediction page.

April 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

I am probably wrong but I am not feeling any nominations for Mother! It is going to be marketed as a horror thriller, which do not usually get nominations. Harrison is a good wildcard choice but he would actually have to give an interesting performance. They should have nominated him for Rogue One, since he helped make that movie so successful. Zac Efron is never going to happen.

April 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterFaye

Great list!

So far this year I thought Bill Nighy was great in Their Finest, as well as Patrick Stewart and Bradley Whitford in Get Out.

April 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRod

Volvagia - Your logic is definitely sound, but I also don't want to get my hopes up.

April 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Despite the real possibility of them happening... I'm considering EXTREME LONGSHOTS any sequel/genre/superhero film performance. That includes...

Michael Keaton, Spiderman Homecoming
Kurt Russell, Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2
Sylvester Stallone, Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2
Harrison Ford, Blade Runner 2049
Patrick Stewart, Logan

... and I'd include also in this list...

Johnny Depp, Murder on the Orient Express (he really needs to do something special, because there's a certain fatigue on his persona).

Neither of them, I think will be a player in the race... however, if ANYONE is going to sneak in, we're talking about the only two who can be riding on a Best Picture nom, Ford and Depp... still, I think Depp is a NO, and Ford is a "maybe, if lucky" (he's due for a lifetime achievement award, but honestly, he's no an actor more than a film star... I think his acting career has only a few highlights when we talk about real acting skills, Mosquito Coast, Witness, Regarding Henry... and that's probably it... so I don't think that he can go beyond the same point Burt Reynolds, Stallone, Eddie Murphy achieved... he's honorary award material, but probably never winning in competition).

April 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Alonso

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