Supporting Actor and Actress are notoriously more difficult to predict early in the game than their Lead counterparts. This is mostly because the fields are so wide. One film equals one or two candidates for Best Actor or Best Actress. The same film can produce any number of possible nominees in the supporting categories. There were no less than eight women receiving Supporting Actress buzz for the Help alone at one point last year. As the films open, the one or two real standouts among the various ensembles will become clearer. For now, you, me, even the buzz, it's all just a shot in the dark. Ready, aim,...
Best Supporting Actress -
The buzz says:
1. Amy Adams - The Master
2. Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables
3. Sally Field - Lincoln
4. Olivia Williams - Hyde Park On Hudson
5. Samantha Barks - Les Miserables
6. Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty
7. Vanessa Redgrave - Song For Marion
8. Kerry Washington - Django Unchained
9. Helena Bonham Carter - Les Miserables
10. Jessica Chastain - Lawless
Also: Olivia Colman - Hyde Park On Hudson, Jennifer Lawrence - The Silver Linings Playbook
The Frog says:
1. Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables: Have you seen the trailer? Have you heard her sing in it?
2. Amy Adams - The Master: I like Ms. Adams better with a dark side anyway, and I'm feeling a lot of confidence in this film.
3. Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty: The trifecta of prestige roles approach worked for her last year and earned her lots of fans. She could also be nominated for Lawless or To The Wonder, but Lawless doesn't seem like what Mr. Weinstein is pushing hardest thus far and Wonder is directed by Malick, who has never directed a single actor to a nomination. If Zero is a critical hit, this could be an easy way for the actor's branch to recognize it. Oh, and Jess is just always amazing anyway.
4. Samantha Barks - Les Miserables: Okay, so Oscar loves Anne and she's amazing in the trailer. Oscar also loves pretty young previously unknown actresses. As Eponine, Ms. Barks has the most dynamic character arc of any female in the story, and the showstopper "On My Own".
5. Sally Field - Lincoln: I may not be as enthusiastically on "The Lincoln Train" as most movie bloggers, but I do think that if Ms. Fields is given anything decent to chew on in this film, she could easily garner a nomination (regardless of how the film plays as a whole). It's been a minute since the Academy gave her any love.
6. Helena Bonham Carter - Great Expectations: I think Ms. Carter will be amazing as Madame Thernardier in Les Miserables, and she could get a nod there. However, if this film finds U.S. distribution in time, I think it will be her better shot. Miss Havisham might be THE role Helena was born to play. Either way, it would be great to see her get recognized for some of her amazing over the top character work, even if her saner roles do seem like the ones in which she is doing more acting.
7. Jackie Weaver - Silver Linings Playbook: She is the reason I am most excited to see this movie. She was amazing in Animal Kingdom, and Oscar (and this little Movie Frog) took notice. If she can pull off comedy with equal brilliance...?
8. Vanessa Redgrave - Song For Marion: She's been churning out fearless work in recent years, and she's no spring chicken. Perceived snubs abound, and it does seem like she deserves one more major round of red carpet interviews, right?
9. Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook: No, she probably won't be seeing a nomination for Hunger Games, but if she knocks one out of the park for the second time in a year in a more art house oriented film, Oscar could award her with her second nomination.
10. Kerry Washington - Django Unchained: She has certainly proven herself to be a capable actress and this is closer to the Academy's wheelhouse than she usually goes, but it is unclear how significant her role is, at present, or how much screen time she gets.
You know, I tried really hard to ignore the buzz lists when I was writing my own and I'm a little distressed that I left out both of the Olivia's from Hyde Park On Hudson. I adore them both, but trying to figure out who to remove to fit them in is giving me a headache, so we're gonna move on to...
Best Supporting Actor:
Buzz points to...
1. Leonardo DiCaprio - Django Unchained
2. Russell Crowe - Les Miserables
3. Joaquin Phoenix - The Master
4. Tobey Maguire - The Great Gatsby
5. William H Macy - Six Sessions
6. Bryan Cranston - Argo
7. Robert DeNiro - The Silver Linings Playbook
8. David Strathairn - Lincoln
9. Sean Penn - The Gangster Squad
10. Joseph Gordon-Levitt - Lincoln
Also: Jude Law - Anna Karenina, John Goodman - Argo, Paul Giamatti - Cosmopolis, Tom Hardy - The
Dark Knight Rises, Joel Edgerton - The Great Gatsby, Guy Pearce - Lawless, Tommy Lee Jones -
Froggy went a guessin...
1. Leonardo DiCaprio - Django Unchained: I don't know why I feel compelled to defend my opinion more when I DO agree with the buzz, but in this case I do. DiCaprio is one of the most talented actors (if not THE most talented) of his generation and is rapidly burning through his thirties with not an Oscar to his name, Everyone predicts him every year and this year is no exception. HOWEVER, Leo could have a leg up with this role. He has never really played a villain, much less a slightly campy, archetypal period villain. Even if this is not his greatest role ever, it will exemplify what is great about him as an actor: his range, his bold choices, and his willingness (and ability) to try new things. He is overdue, and he deserves it. It is time for the Academy to forgive the boy for the temper tantrum he threw when he didn't get nominated for Titanic and give the man an Oscar. Oh, and it's Weinstein backed.
2. Joaquin Phoenix - The Master: The trailer indicates that this movie will be far from just about Phillip Seymour Hoffman's character. Director Paul Thomas Anderson often brings out some of the very best that his actors have to offer and producer Harvey Weinstein tends to bring the best publicity to them. If the entirety of his performance lives up to the brief glimpses that we've seen, he could be a strong contender for the win. Everybody loves a career resurrection, even one as orchestrated as Phoenix's.
3. Woody Harrelson - Seven Psychopaths: This one could just be wishful thinking on my part, but many think he was snubbed last year for his performance in Rampart. Seven Psychopaths has received mostly favorable press in early screenings. He's an overdue vet with multiple nominations but no win who has been delivering consistently high quality work for a long time and grown far beyond the expectations most people had for him in the early days of his career.
4. Robert DeNiro - The Silver Linings Playbook: If there is an actor in Hollywood who has been cast in an array of roles seemingly designed to stunt his capabilities for years now it is Bobby DeNiro. This could be the film that changes that. The Academy loves a comeback, especially a late in life return to form of one of their favorite sons. Playing opposite Jackie Weaver can't hurt.
5. John Goodman - Argo: I know that everyone is predicting Bryan Cranston for this film (and he's one of my alternates), but Goodman made the transition from highly acclaimed television actor to movie star a long time ago and the Academy has never come a calling. He has been turning in some impressive work lately in both mediums (Red State, The Artist, Treme, Damages, etc.). Appearances in Inside Llewelyn Davis, Flight, Trouble with the Curve, and voice over work in Paranorman could split votes, or could seriously bolster his 2012 profile.
6. Tom Hardy - The Dark Knight Rises: I must be feeling hopeful today. Oh well, I don't care. Hardy is hot right now (yes...and just hot) and Bane could be a very showy role in a way that would stand apart from Ledger's legacy. Hardy will be competing with his own performances in Killing Them Softly and Lawless, but this is the film most likely to break both the Best Picture list and the bank.
7. Bryan Cranston - Argo: One certainly cannot discount Oscar's propensity for giving TV stars delivering a brilliant performance in a rare film role a nod (Felicity Huffman) or even an award (Helen Hunt) and Cranston is a truly talented performer.
8. Tobey Maguire - The Great Gatsby: Toby's a lot more than just Spider-Man and this could be the first chance he's had to REALLY show us that since his Pre-Parker era. I hope so. It would be fun to see he and BFF DiCaprio go head to head ala Clooney and Pitt last year.
9. Jude Law - Anna Karenina: We know he'll get another nomination someday for something, and this sounds potentially wonderful, so why not? At least we know his character has potential to shine.
10. Joseph Gordon Levitt - Lincoln: Of course it's possible that this film is going to be the biggest thing of the year and get a bazillion nods. If that happens, the momentum of buzz from Inception and 50/50 could carry him through to his first nomination. It's hard to imagine him being lost in the ensemble. Even Hardy couldn't eclipse him in Inception, not at all.
Comparing my predictions to the buzz, I am probably underestimating AMPAS adored Russell Crowe's chances for Les Miserables. Javert is a great role, with plenty of awards potential. So, for that matter, is Monsieur Thernardier. If you are unfamiliar with the stage play, let me assure you that the casting of Sacha Baron Cohen in this role is an inspired, if daring, choice.
Next time around, we'll be covering Best Actor and Best Actress. More on that soon...