labordayThe Oscar Predictions update week continues with Best Supporting Actor.

Like always, the category has unlimited possibilities from the veterans to the newcomers.  The word on the street is Bruce Dern will be looking for a Lead Actor citation for his role in Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska.”  That opens up the category significantly.  There are some that we already know are half-way decent and can catch fire early on like John Goodman in “Inside Llewyn Davis” and Dane DeHaan in “Kill Your Darlings.”  Goodman has had roles in the last two Best Picture winners and the narrative is beginning to write itself.  It’s time to reward this man after years of stellar work in countless films.  In years past, he’s had too many films out that prohibited voters from committing.  I’m sure he received a great number of votes last year for both “Argo” and “Flight.”  I think its time for him to make the play.

Ben Foster seems to be a dark horse and getting a big push for his performance in David Lowery’s “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints.”  A performer who missed out on recognition in James Mangold’s “3:10 to Yuma.”  I’m keeping a close eye on him.

Matthew McConaughey, who looks to be campaigned Supporting for Jeff Nichols’ “Mud” is one of the best things to come out of the first half of the year.  Co-star Tye Sheridan will try his chances in the Lead category.  Of the all the actors will multiple roles this year, he stands the best chance at double citation with this and “Dallas Buyers Club.”  His co-star from Denis Villenueve’s film Jared Leto is the wildcard of the season.  As I pointed out in a piece from earlier in the week, big, loud performances that are destined for citation usually bring along an actor or two.  Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jeff Bridges are examples.  Leto or co-star Jennifer Garner could be that filler this year.

Michael Fassbender is also a possible double candidate with his villain role in Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” and his charming lawyer looks in Ridley Scott’s “The Counselor.”  Playing the bad guy works in Supporting as we’ve seen with Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds” and Javier Bardem in “No Country for Old Men” but those had charismatic elements to them.  A trait that says, “I’m the bad guy, but you hate that you like me.”  I don’t know how much we’re going to “like” Fassbender.  Ralph Fiennes had the same problem in 1994 for “Schindler’s List” and lost to the comedic veteran, Tommy Lee Jones.

SavingMrBanksWalt Disney will put all they got behind “Saving Mr. Banks” and the prospect of Tom Hanks scoring his first supporting mention remains high.  They’re still unsure whether he’ll be campaigned there but as of now, supporting looks like the plan.  Josh Brolin is also another actor unsure of where he fits in the awards race.  Kris Tapley of HitFix suggested a supporting plan for him from Paramount, which probably bodes well for his chances.

Universal Pictures will have two ponies to run this season.  “Lone Survivor” may or may not be what it looked like in the trailer and I don’t imagine there’s any real standout based on what we saw.  Ron Howard, who is an Academy favorite, has the elements in place to do the right thing this season.  “Rush,” which has screened in England, had lots of unofficial praise for Daniel Bruhl, who also has “The Fifth Estate” with Benedict Cumberbatch.

Speaking of Cumberbatch, I have a lot of money riding on him to be the standout male of the female-centric “August: Osage County.”  He’s slowly becoming a one of our finest character actors and along with his Julian Assange and his role in “Star Trek Into Darkness” earlier in May, he may find some good graces with voters.

I also don’t know what to make of any of the guys from “The Monuments Men” which according to Tom O’Neill of Gold Derby, will not be getting an awards push from Sony Pictures.  Not sure if that is in fact true or will come to fruition, but if they have an Oscar-winning star like George Clooney that is directing, producing, and starring in a December release, might as well make a play for it.  Just my opinion.  Bad or not.

Check out the updated Supporting Actor predictions.  Make sure to include your own thoughts on the race in the comment section.  

Tomorrow, we dive deep into Supporting Actress.