Category fraud aside, the Oscars’ supporting categories are always more intriguing to me. Best Supporting Actor and Actress are typically rife with key roles in films that would flounder without them. That seems obvious I suppose. Lead performances are the face of the film, but their performances are enhanced by riveting characters on the periphery. Oscar 2016’s Best Supporting Actor stable is just as fascinating as it always is, and this will be yet another year where two or three performances will be on the outside looking in simply because there isn’t enough room. Enough rambling, let’s do this.
Best Supporting Actor
Mark Rylance is feeling more and more like the lone nomination from Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies. As the film steadily drifts into the background this season, Rylance’s performance as captured spy Rudolf Abel is the captivating, quiet calm of a middling, quietly calm picture. The frontrunner as we sit today, and my personal favorite of the category, is the one and only Sylvester Stallone. In Creed, Stallone slips back into his Rocky role with ease, with grace, and with a charm anchored by the history we all share with his most iconic character. Seeing Stallone win would be a wonderful thing, and it’s the sort of story the Academy loves.
Then there is Benicio Del Toro, absolutely brilliant as the mysterious assassin Alejandro in the great Sicario. He seemed like a lock in October, and his chances are still good though his odds on winning have slimmed considerably. That leaves two slots for a staggering number of candidates, some who share the same films.
Steve Carrel and Christian Bale are both late chargers for their roles in The Big Short, which is sneaking up on the Oscar season. They may split votes, leaving them both on the outside. The same thing goes for Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo, who danced on opposite ends of the journalism world in Spotlight. Ruffalo is the standout, but Keaton is great as well. But again, split votes might hurt their chances. This fourth spot could – and should – go to young Jacob Tremblay in Room. Tremblay is fantastic, and the Academy Awards always seem to have a perp in their step when a tot gets nominated (see: Haley Joel Osment, Quvenzhané Wallis, etc.).
And the fifth spot will land at the feet of Paul Dano. Love & Mercy has been pushing hard these past few weeks, and Dano is getting notice for his portrayal of a young Brian Wilson. It would be a nice career jolt for Dano, who’s always brilliant in supporting roles.
Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone – Creed
Benicico Del Toro – Sicario
Jacob Tremblay – Room
Paul Dano – Love & Mercy
Next week it’s time to look at Best Actress…