|2012's Best Supporting Actor winner Christopher Plummer (Beginners)|
We are in an exciting time for Oscar enthusiasts. We are officially one week away from the announcement of this year's nominees. In order to contribute some thoughts, I will be going down the major categories (Acting, Directing, and Best Picture) and predicting who will be the most likely to get nominated, as well as a few tidbits on why I agree with these decisions. Be warned that every story that I am going to write in relation to predictions will not actually feature any bias towards who should win. However, I will be detailing why I think each should be nominated. Also stay tuned for post-coverage in which I will actually be sharing my thoughts on the nominations and solidify who I believe should win in each category.
I figured that in terms of covering the acting categories, I start with the category that often opens up the ceremonies (though was pleasantly moved up last year): Best Supporting Actor. While it isn't as competitive as Best Actor, there are still a lot of great choices this year, and when compiling my selections, I had trouble finding just five that I felt should own the position. As a reflection, I have a few spilled over into a back-up category called: Possible Upsets. The batch that I feel will be definitive will be selected under Front-Runners.
WHO: Philip Seymour Hoffman
WHAT: The Master
WHY: As I have repeatedly stated on The Oscar Buzz, I love The Master and I am saddened to see it fall behind in majority of races. However, I fully endorse and believe that Philip Seymour Hoffman is worthy of a nomination, and has in fact been the front runner according to statistics website Gold Derby until recently. While I prefer Amy Adams and Joaquin Phoenix's performances more, Hoffman definitely has gravitas and nuances to spare in ways that provide one of the most haunting performances of the year. He may not be loud and boisterous, but his silence will scare you into believing he is a genius. Now that is acting.
WHO: Leonardo DiCaprio
WHAT: Django Unchained
WHY: While I have yet to see the film, I am almost confident that based on his recent Golden Globe nomination, that he is going to be considered. Critics have often cited him as an endearingly juicy, kooky villain that shows DiCaprio at least having fun. It is a shame that he has yet to win an Oscar, but with roles like this, it proves that he is just getting started when it comes to meaty roles.
WHO: Alan Arkin
WHY: I thoroughly believe that Argo is going to be a major contender come Best Picture time. However, the same cannot be said for the acting categories, as none of the cast has really taken any awards-level praise. However, Alan Arkin is the main exception, playing a sarcastic movie producer who adds a level of humor to the story that rounds out the film tonally and gives Arkin one of his better roles in years. While I disagree with him winning previously for Little Miss Sunshine (a factor that gives him an edge with voters), I think that he at least earns a spot on this list because he is just so much fun to watch.
WHO: Tommy Lee Jones
WHY: I am planning to write an entry in a few weeks about how I feel that Lincoln shouldn't win. For the time being, there are very few supporting characters in the film that have gotten traction as much as Tommy Lee Jones. His performance is fine and he gets the job done, though this feels like a prestige lock, in that Jones has won before and he doesn't make a complete fool of himself here. Of course, the Academy likes when people play biographical characters. Just look at Meryl Streep winning last year for The Iron Lady.
WHO: Robert De Niro
WHAT: Silver Linings Playbook
WHY: After debuting with praise at TIFF, the film has gone on to get many nominations. While I feel that the movie isn't that spectacular (review coming soon), the movie seems to be doing gangbusters in the acting categories, though none more than Best Actress category's Jennifer Lawrence. I don't get the appeal of Robert De Niro's performance here, but with his legacy preceding him, it is possible that he will get a sympathy nomination just for turning in a good role. Of course, it is also notable that director David O. Russell's previous effort The Fighter saw Christian Bale win his Best Supporting Actor statue, which may show that Russell has some secret power to elevate performers to greatness. Maybe that's all that De Niro needed?
WHO: Dwight Henry
WHAT: Beasts of the Southern Wild
WHY: No film has weathered through the year better than Beasts of the Southern Wild. Just ask the massive amount of critics who have put it in their Best of 2012 lists. While the film went home empty handed with Golden Globe nominations, there is a chance that it can survive. While Quvenzhane Wallis is still the film's best chance at a nomination, there is no denying that Dwight Henry as a troubled father was also a captivating performance that was once considered for Oscar buzz. While I believe that the buzz is starting to die on the film, there is still hope that the film that could will join director Lee Daniels' Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire as one of the few small films to make it all the way to the nominations.
WHO: Eddie Redmayne
WHAT: Les Miserables
WHY: It has been established that I loved Les Miserables. Of the supporting cast, no one had a more captivating performance than Eddie Redmayne, whose vocal complexity made for some of the more heart wrenching numbers as the film came to the dramatic conclusion. While the film's nominations may just be reserved for Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, I do believe that there is an outside chance that Redmayne can pull an upset, provided that Les Miserables somehow gets major traction to overshadow the already cemented possible nominees in this category.
WHO: Christoph Waltz
WHAT: Django Unchained
WHY: The most confusing thing about Django Unchained's Oscar Buzz is Christoph Waltz, who was originally promoted to Best Actor race in hopes of a better chance at nominations. After the Golden Globes gave him a Best Supporting Actor slot, he is back in supporting. It doesn't make sense, personally. That nomination is why I believe he stands a chance at getting a slot, especially with his previous win for Inglourious Basterds only a few years old. Of course, I just find Waltz to be a charismatic, fun actor regardless of roles and I would expect no less from this film. Also, he is teaming up with director Quentin Tarantino again, who lead him to his previous win, so anything is possible, though my money is still personally on Leonardo DiCaprio.
WHO: Javier Bardem
WHY: As much as I disliked Skyfall, I did admire a few things about the film, notably director Sam Mendes' gorgeous cinematography and Javier Bardem as the villain who somehow is getting compared to the anarchic performance that Heath Ledger gave in The Dark Knight. Not quite there, but it was still the bright spot and I felt like Bardem is just a magnetic actor who has won before for No Country for Old Men and continues to prove why he is a great villain. While it seems unlikely that he will get a slot, it is comforting to know that there are still bad guy roles that somehow can elevate mediocre movies.
WHO: Matthew McConaughey
WHAT: Magic Mike
WHY: Now hear me out. I feel like Matthew McConaughey's role in Magic Mike was the ultimate "McConaughey without his shirt on" role that he'll ever do. Also, the Academy usually seems kinder to films spearheaded by director Steven Soderbergh. I also feel like McConaughey has an edge with this film because of how his character works on a metaphysical level, playing an example of the tragedy of men and age and body. It may seem showy for the most part, but the context is just too brilliant to pass up. However, because the Academy consists of older members (who have issues using online voting), there is little chance that they'll be able to overlook the fact that there are male strippers in this movie.
There you have it. Who do you feel will get nominated? Is Philip Seymour Hoffman capable of staying in the lead, or are we going to see an upset? Feel free to share your predictions in the comments section.