Supporting categories are never easy to predict this far out when it comes to the Oscars. You have to try to foresee a standout from a Best Picture contender, a case of category fraud, or just have a really good feeling about someone in particular. Looking at the contenders for Best Supporting Actor, there are more than enough to choose from on the male side.
Ken Watanabe‘s role in Gus Van Sant’s upcoming “Sea of Trees” opposite Matthew McConaughey looks like a role that will undoubtedly be a co-lead but since McConaughey is the bigger name, Watanabe will compete in the Supporting category. If Watanabe were to be nominated, he’d be the second most nominated Asian actor in Oscar history. Only Ben Kingsley has been nominated multiple times (Kingsley is of South Asian descent, father is Indian from Kenya). I’m sure there are many placing bets on Tom Hardy‘s performance in “The Revenant” opposite Leonardo DiCaprio. Hardy has been up and coming with the critics and members for years with outstanding works under his belt (“Bronson”).
Ralph Fiennes missed out big this past year for “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” where he stood out as the single best aspect of the film. He’ll likely have some goodwill leftover bringing some attention to “A Bigger Splash.” Kevin Kline finds himself back in the hunt after missing out for “Life as a House” a few years back. This time, he’s back with his “Sophie’s Choice” co-star Meryl Streep in Jonathan Demme’s “Ricki and the Flash.”
Alan Alda beat some pretty big odds to sneak in for “The Aviator” in 2004. With a role in Steven Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies,” he’s one of many veterans that will be seeking the attention of the Academy. Kevin Bacon still remains Oscar-nomination-less for his stellar career. Perhaps a decently received turn in Scott Cooper’s “Black Mass” can bring him to the Dolby stage? Kurt Russell is one of many men in Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” that will be looking for some Academy love. Russell’s closest bout with the Academy was for 1983’s “Silkwood.” In a role that sounds like it can be potential LEAD, Harvey Weinstein may be able to work some magic on a large ensemble. Same goes for Bruce Dern, Michael Madsen, Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, and Demian Bichir. Make a pick with any of them.
Dominic West was a standout in last year’s Golden Globe-nominated “Pride” and will be playing Ernest Hemingway in “Genius.” But will people be reminded of Corey Stoll’s ignored work too much? He will also have competition from co-stars Jude Law and Guy Pearce. Forest Whitaker will be trainer with a heart of gold in Antoine Fuqua’s “Southpaw” with Jake Gyllenhaal. Chris Cooper will be in Jean Marc Vallee’s “Demolition” while Steve Carell looks to capitalize on his first Oscar nomination with a role opposite Julianne Moore and Ellen Page in “Freeheld.”
Kyle Chandler has been a stapled supporting player in several films like “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “The Spectacular Now.” He’s quickly becoming one of those dependable actors that is starting to build the overdue narrative. Is “Carol” the possibility? There’s also Mark Ruffaloin “Spotlight,” whose looking to build off his nomination for “Foxcatcher” and Cillian Murphy is said to have a substantial part in “In the Heart of the Sea.”
Michael Fassbender will have lots of high-profile things this year but what tends to happen is something weird becomes the representation. Look at Philip Seymour Hoffman being nominated for “Charlie Wilson’s War” when he had “The Savages” and “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” the same year. “Slow West” was well-received at Sundance and could be that representation. Co-star Kodi-Smit McPhee could be regulated to the supporting category as well if Fassbender is campaigned in Lead Actor.
With three consecutive nominations under his belt, Bradley Cooper has two roles in “Aloha” and “Joy.” The latter of which will be directed by David O. Russell. He would tie Marlon Brando and Al Pacino for having the most consecutive acting nominations in Oscar history. Edgar Ramirez also plays the first husband of Jennifer Lawrence in the same film. Could be a sleazy role worth watching. There’s plenty more to discuss. We have to let this one play out. Maybe this is the year James McAvoy finally gets his due after inexcusable snubs for “Atonement” and “The Last King of Scotland.” Playing Victor Frankenstein should be a juicy enough role for him to take on. Daniel Radcliffe plays “Igor,” as told from his perspective; there’s no telling where they’ll push the two of them.
Finally Robert Pattinson has four films out this year. “Map to the Stars” has already dropped but no one has seemed to notice. He’ll have “Queen of the Desert” from Werner Herzog, “Life” from Anton Corbijn, and “The Childhood of a Leader” from Brady Corbet. Playing Dennis Stock in “Life,” a photographer who is hired to shoot the picture of James Dean (played by Dane DeHaan), might have some weight.
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