Best Supporting Actor often times harbors the most fascinating, pivotal performances of the year. Sometimes there is an obvious frontrunner (Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men, for example), and other times a surprise winner comes out of nowhere (Jack Palance, City Slickers). Regardless of who wins, however, the supporting actor category always seems loaded with unforgettable work.
This year is no different, with a handful of greats vying for one of the five spots, and the winner looks to be a two-horse race between a newcomer and an old-hat Academy favorite.
Who doesn’t love Jeff Bridges? The Dude finally won an Oscar back in 2009 for his performance as a hangdog country singer in Crazy Heart, and he looks poised to grab what would be his seventh nomination for a near perfect turn in Hell or High Water, the surprise hit of 2016. Hot on his heels though is relative unknown Mahershala Ali. Ali plays Juan, the drug dealer with a soft spot for young Chiron (or Little) in Moonlight, and his empathetic role as a surrogate father figure seemingly sets the events of the entire film in motion.
Manchester by The Sea continues its momentum towards Oscar night, which means Lucas Hedges should certainly get a nomination for his role as Patrick, the fiery teenager who butts heads with Casey Affleck’s Lee, and is the heart of the entire story. That leaves two spots, for so many hopefuls.
The longest of long shots – though it shouldn’t be the case – is Ralph Fiennes for his brilliant turn in A Bigger Splash. It’s the sort of role Best Supporting Actor was made for. But the film is too far off the radar. Peter Sarsgaard is another outlier for his Bobby Kennedy portrayal in Jackie, as is Stephen Henderson in Fences. But they will most likely all be on the outside looking in at Dev Patel for Lion, and the surprise nomination of Issei Ogata for Silence. And don’t be surprised if Ogata – and Silence – picks up enough steam from now until Oscar night to sneak away with several unexpected statues.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR PREDICTIONS
Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Lucas Hedges – Manchester by The Sea
Dev Patel – Lion
Issei Ogata – Silence
Up Next – Best Actress