OscarWatch: Best Supporting Actor

21 Jan

Since the Academy Award nominations will be announced bright and early Tuesday morning (!) I thought I’d do seven OscarWatch posts for the main races: Screenplay (encompassing both Original and Adapted), Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Lead Actor, Lead Actress, Director and Picture.

In them I’ll detail my thoughts on the given race and how I think things are starting to shape up considering we have now seen most of the precursor awards and count with BAFTA and SAG nominations. I’ll give my personal Top 20, with a brief paragraph on each, for any given race and detail which I think will be the nominees for the Oscars come Tuesday. In this post we’ll tackle…


I’ll give my Top 20 performances given by supporting actors in 2010, my brief thoughts on each and then I’ll say how I think the Oscar nominations for the category will look once they’re announced on Tuesday.

As for the state of this specific race, I think it’s all but over now. Christian Bale will get his first Oscar here, there’s no other way of seeing this one playing out. There will be some competition from Geoffrey Rush, but it’ll all amount to nothing in the end.

Personal Top 20:

  1. Christian Bale (for The Fighter) – There’s no way this wasn’t anyone’s favorite supporting actor performance of the year. Bale is unstoppable as ever in this one, and he’s finally getting the much deserved recognition that had eluded him in the past.
  2. Mark Ruffalo (for The Kids Are All Right) – I’m a sucker for this film, and Mr. Ruffalo probably won’t end up anywhere near this high on the actual Oscar ballots, but I thought he was amazing in this one.
  3. Andrew Garfield (for The Social Network) – He goes head to head against Jesse Eisenberg in this one, and he’s amazing every damn second he’s on screen. 2010 was his breakout year, but we’ll keep seeing a lot of good things of him in the future.
  4. Geoffrey Rush (for The King’s Speech) – The likely #2 is my #4, but that doesn’t mean I think lowly of Mr. Rush’s performance, The King’s Speech is, after all, a masterclass in acting, and he gives an amazing performance in it.
  5. Vincent Cassel (for Black Swan) – Vincent Cassel won’t sneak into the actual Oscar race, but considering Black Swan was my favorite film of 2010 by a mile I thought I’d give him the final slot in my hypothetical nominations. A great performance by a great actor.
  6. Jeremy Renner (for The Town) – Everyone in The Town gave a fantastic performance in my opinion (even Blake Lively!), and the best of them came from Jeremy Renner who, riding high on last year’s nomination for The Hurt Locker, should have no trouble scoring another one this year.
  7. John Hawkes (for Winter’s Bone) – This is one of the most chilling performances I saw all of last year in an amazing film, if the film gets a lot of love on Tuesday he may find himself getting in there.
  8. Matt Damon (for True Grit) – Matt Damon is a guy the Academy loves, he even got a nod for the sub-par Invictus last year, and this film is actually amazing and he’s very good in it.
  9. Bill Murray (for Get Low) – In my book, Bill Murray can do no wrong, and he’s given some of my favorite performances ever. Robert Duvall will no doubt be getting all the attention for Get Low, and deservedly so, but Mr. Murray should steal some of it away from him, in my opinion.
  10. Justin Timberlake (for The Social Network) – Say whatever you want to say about Justin Timberlake. I think the guy’s great, and he’s actually a very very good actor. Or, at the very least, a guy who certainly knows how to pick his projects. In The Social Network he’s sensational, a true scene-stealer.
  11. Jim Broadbent (for Another Year) – I guess Mr. Broadbent would classify here and not in Lead Actor. And there’s no way he’ll get nominated because he hasn’t campaigned for a second, and that’s quite okay because he’s still wonderful in Mike Leigh’s latest, as he always is.
  12. Michael Douglas (for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) – If he gets this nomination then, granted, it will have to do more with his personal problems of late and the Academy’s need to recognize him then with the quality of the work he did. But the work he did was still pretty amazing, reprising the role that got him an Oscar in the first place to amazing results.
  13. Pete Postlethwaite (for The Town) – As I said above on Jeremy Renner, The Town is full of exceptional performances. And yes, naming Postlethwaite here may be riding on the emotional wave because of his recent passing (a wave that just got him a BAFTA nomination) but still, every time he appears on screen in the film he just chews up the screen, stealing away the spotlight from whoever crosses his path.
  14. Sam Rockwell (for Conviction) – He’s being put up higher on prediction lists, and just as well because his performance is actually pretty damn effective in this one, I just have him lower because the film itself I didn’t love as much.
  15. Josh Brolin (for True Grit) – Josh Brolin is one of the more consistent actors around as far as picking good projects and delivering in them (and yes, by saying that I’m choosing to ignore the disaster that was Jonah Hex) and in the Coen’s latest he’s his usual great self.
  16. Sean Penn (for Fair Game) – When reviewing my 2010 rankings to see what films there were that had great performances in them I realized I had forgotten about Fair Game, which was a very good film and had Sean Penn being just terrific in it.
  17. Jon Hamm (for The Town) – Yes, yes, I know, third mention for The Town. But it’s not my fault this one had so many amazing performances. Plus, who here can tell it wouldn’t be awesome to see Don Draper one day pick up an Oscar, or at least a nomination?
  18. Dustin Hoffman (for Barney’s Version) – I saw this film a couple of days ago, and it will actually count towards my 2011 rankings, but it classifies for this awards season so I’m putting it here. Mr. Hoffman is always great, and the film is getting a bit of momentum thanks to Paul Giamatti’s win at the Globes.
  19. Chris Cooper (for The Company Men) – This really is so that I can avoid giving a fourth mention to The Town, in which Chris Cooper had just one scene (but one in which he totally owned the screen). And also, this mention is inter-changeable with any of his co-stars in The Company Men (Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones or Kevin Costner), all of whom were impeccable.
  20. Miles Teller (for Rabbit Hole) – Quite a lot of actors competing for this final slot in my hypothetical nominations, but I thought Miles Teller was polarizing in the best of ways in this tough-to-watch film.

How I Think the Oscar Nominations Will Look Like (in alphabetical order)

  • Christian Bale (for The Fighter)
  • Andrew Garfield (for The Social Network)
  • Jeremy Renner (for The Town)
  • Mark Ruffalo (for The Kids Are All Right)
  • Geoffrey Rush (for The King’s Speech)

I’m 90% sure this is how the nominations will look like, though I’m still considering John Hawkes may sneak in there, most likely at the expense of Mark Ruffalo. Let’s hope not, and we’ll see how it all goes down on Tuesday.


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