Wednesday, March 31, 2010

One Category at a Time: Best Supporting Actor

The Supporting categories are devilishly tricky to read early on, mainly because there are so many supporting roles compared to lead roles, and it's the lead roles that always sound baity. And let's not get started on the question of category confusion. I'm just throwing these names out there. I'll be way surprised if any of them turn out be nominees next year.

This is wishful thinking if there ever was, but I'd be thrilled to see Ed Harris back at the Kodak. The man is probably my favourite working actor, and as soon as I saw him listed in Peter Wier's The Way Back I thought to myself, "wouldn't it be great is he got nominated!" You'll recall that he earned a nod in this category for his last film with Weir, The Truman Show (one of my all-time favourites), but will his character in The Way Back be as substantial and brilliantly written as his one in The Truman Show? Here's hoping.

Christian Bale will likely get to tear down the scenery as the trainer of Mark Wahlberg's Mickey Ward in David O'Russell's The Fighter. He apparently lost a lot of weight for the part, and he's a hardworking actor who is yet to earn a nomination. Maybe his time has come.

That same "hardworking-actor-who-is-yet-to-earn-a-nomination" label can be applied to Mark Ruffalo, who is featured in Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right, opposite the lesbian couple of Julianne Moore and Anette Bening. While I normally expect a warm comedic supporting turn to get in here, this past year saw two prime contenders (Tucci in Julie & Julia and Molina in An Education) snubbed in favour of flashier or more heavy-handed performances, so I hesitate about this one. But as I said, it's tough finding solid bets this early on.

Searchlight's awards horse Betty Ann Waters will likely be a Hilary Swank vehicle, but Sam Rockwell could be along for the ride as Betty Ann's brother, put on trial for a crime he did not commit. He received rave reviews last year for his virtuoso performance in Moon (I confess even I haven't seen it yet), and if critical goodwill from that film can crossover enough to this one, it may propel him to a nomination.

Geoffrey Rush gets to teach Colin Firth how to talk in The King's Speech. He plays the speech therapist who coached King George VI through his nervous stammer. It's based on a real life character, which helps, and he'll probably get a lot of screen time. But that begs the question: Supporting? Or co-lead? And will internal competition from the likes of celebrated British thespians Michael Gambon and Timothy Spall (who gets to imitate Churchill) hurt his odds?

Predicted 5:
Christian Bale, The Fighter
Ed Harris, The Way Back
Sam Rockwell, Betty Ann Waters
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech

Also consider: Michael Gambon/Timothy Spall in The King's Speech, Bill Murray in Get Low, Sean Penn in The Tree of Life.


pomme said...

i can believe on Ed Harris and Sam Rockwell(snubbed this year) but i don't believe on Christian Bale( he's Christian "f**king" Bale! too intense/weirdo/not enough likeable)

The Oscar Nazi said...

a very true observation, but this is all wild speculation anyway.