Tuesday, January 10, 2012

OSCAR PREDICTIONS 2012: Supporting Actor and Actress

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS


Best Supporting Actress is a tough category this year. What is typically the biggest upset category is usually a little more secure from top to bottom as far as nominations are concerned. But outside of a few sure things – and even those sure things don’t seem as sure as they have been in the past – the bottom two or three nominations look to be wide open. It is either a testament to the strength of the field, or the weakness of supporting female performances. You be the judge.

I expect The Help to take up a nomination or two here. Octavia Spencer’s performance as the fiery Minny Jackson is the type of performance built for supporting actress; I fully expect a nomination. Outside of Spencer, there are a few possibilities including Bryce Dallas Howard and Emma Stone for their respective roles. But I have a feeling Jessica Chastain will get the nomination for playing Celia Foote, the sweet and naïve outsider. This is a bit of a conundrum for me; Chastain has had such a wonderful year, she deserves a nomination. But out of the possibilities (The Tree of Life, Take Shelter, The Help) I think her role here is least deserving. Regardless, she has the best shot with The Help.

Bérénice Bejo, Peppy Miller from The Artist, has a decent chance at being noticed as well. It must be a bit of a challenge to star in a silent film these days, with the need for expressiveness and emotive acting taking priority over method. This leaves two more spots for a bevy of actresses. The Academy often likes to give notice to otherwise invisible films in these supporting categories, especially if they can recognize an actor or actress who many can see as a legend of her craft. This is why I think Vanessa Redgrave may steal a nomination for her role in Coriolanus. It will be the head scratcher that everyone accepts because it is Redgrave getting the nod.

The odd phenomenon circulating right now is the fact that Bridesmaids is resurging into voter consciousness. This groundswell of support for the film could be enough to get Melissa McCarthy nominated for her role as Megan, the crude but lovable part of the quintet of female stars. Comedy is sometimes overlooked, but McCarthy might be that rare exception. I think McCarthy will beat out other possibilities like young Shailene Woodley from The Descendants, Carey Mulligan from Shame, and Janet McTeer from Albert Nobbs (the nomination list for Albert Nobbs begins and ends with Glenn Close).

Octavia Spencer - The Help
Jessica Chastain - The Help
Berenice Bejo - The Artist
Vanessa Redgrave - Coriolanus
Melissa McCarthy - Bridesmaids


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR


Best Supporting Actor has significantly less mystery in my opinion. There are still about eight possible performances for the five slots, but the dividing line feels more pronounced. Christopher Plummer is a sure bet here, playing a father who realizes he is gay in the twilight of his life in the small indie film Beginners. Plummer is a well-respected actor who deserves a nod for his charming performance. Right below him, I am hoping, is Albert Brooks as the vicious gangster Bernie Rose in Nicholas Windign Refn’s cerebral thriller Drive. Brooks steals his scenes, a true indicator of a supporting actor deserving a nomination.

The Academy loves to welcome back long lost talent with nominations, and this year that welcome back to form belongs to Nick Nolte. Nolte stars as Paddy Conlon, a reformed alcoholic trying to make amends with his estranged sons in the cage-fighting drama Warrior. The possibility for Nolte as a nominee has grown beyond a whisper in recent days, and by the time the nominations are cast it appears he will be a sure bet. Fourth on the list is Kenneth Branagh, playing Laurence Olivier in My Week With Marilyn. As sure as Nolte seems right here, Branagh seems just as certain to grab a nomination.

There is a little mystery surrounding the final nomination here. Jonah Hill could grab the final slot for his role in Moneyball; the film is trending upwards here in awards season. Ben Kingsley has an outside shot as well for Hugo, though I feel the multiple nominations for Scorsese’s film will go elsewhere. I would love to see Patton Oswalt nominated for Young Adult, because I think Oswalt is a true talent and is the best part of the film. But Young Adult may be shut out. I think this fifth slot belongs to Viggo Mortensen. In A Dangerous Method, Mortensen plays Sigmund Freud, and his chances appear to be trending upward. He could grab the lone nomination for Cronenberg’s period drama.

Christopher Plummer - Beginners
Albert Brooks - Drive
Nick Nolte - Warrior
Kenneth Branagh - My Week With Marilyn
Viggo Mortensen - A Dangerous Method

COMING UP TOMORROW: MY PICKS FOR LEAD ACTOR AND ACTRESS…