Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Oscar Narrative: November Predictions - Best Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress

November Predictions - Best Supporting Actor
Johnny Depp "Into the Woods"
Ethan Hawke "Boyhood"
Edward Norton "Birdman"
Mark Ruffalo "Foxcatcher"
J.K. Simmons "Whiplash"

Other Contenders - Miyavi "Unbroken", John Goodman "The Gambler", Tim Roth "Selma", Tom Wilkinson "Selma",  Josh Brolin "Inherent Vice", Robert Duvall "The Judge", Logan Lerman "Fury", Christoph Waltz "Big Eyes", Chris Pine "Into the Woods", Domhnall Gleeson "Unbroken", Neil Patrick Harris "Gone Girl", Tyler Perry "Gone Girl", Charles Dance "The Imitation Game", Charlie Cox "The Theory of Everything", Albert Brooks "A Most Violent Year", Joel Edgerton "Exodus: Gods and Kings", Dominic West "Pride", Matthew Goode "The Imitation Game"

Commentary - This race has two front runners, and then a whole bunch of oddball contenders and up in the air potentials that makes this race exciting, and also disappointing at the same time. Leading the pack are Edward Norton and J.K. Simmons. Both are veteran actors who steal the screen every time they are on it. of the two I think Simmons is actually in a better position to win, as Norton might be a bit too weird for the broader Academy vote. But either way it should be an interesting race till the end. It is the other three slots that are a mess. Ethan Hawke is one of those contenders that is now in this race because there aren't a lot of other options. Not that he is not absolutely fantastic in Boyhood, its just that it looked like in the beginning there would be flashier performances to take his place. Alas, it looks like that Boyhood has survived the onslaught, remains a big contender (despite my initial thoughts that it would fade in terms of buzz), and Hawke looks to be a solid bet. Foxcatcher is another early contender that I think continues to defy its odds, and continue its long journey. Some pundits have moved past it, due to its dark nature, but I still think it will find a lot of support, including for previous nominee Mark Ruffalo. The last slot is truly up in the air. A lot of buzz is building for Japanese star Miyavi in Unbroken, Tom Wilkinson and Tim Roth apparently shine in small rolls in Selma, Josh Brolin could break past his film's un-Academy trappings, despite mixed reviews Christoph Waltz is a two-time winner, Chris Pine, Logan Lergman, Albert Brooks, Charles Dance, Matthew Goode, Charlie Cox, the Gone Girl guys, and of course the legend Robert Duvall are all swimming around the outside looking in. But I am sticking with my Johnny Depp theory. It is a baity role, and probably perfect for Depp's talents, and after so many years of missing out, I think he is due to get back in this race.

November Predictions - Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette "Boyhood"
Jessica Chastain "A Most Violent Year"
Keira Knightley "The Imitation Game"
Emma Stone "Birdman"
Meryl Streep "Into the Woods"

Other Contenders - Carmen Ejogo "Carmen", Laura Dern "Wild", Katherine Waterston "Inherent Vice", Viola Davis "Get On Up", Carrie Coon "Gone Girl", Rene Russo "Nightcrawler", Kristen Stewart "Still Alice", Jessica Chastain "Interstellar", Anne Hathaway "Interstellar", Anna Kendrick "Into the Woods", Dorothy Atkinson "Mr. Turner", Sienna Miller "American Sniper", Kelly Reilly "Calvary", Robin Wright "A Most Wanted Man", Octavia Spencer "Black or White", Marisa Tomei "Love is Strange", Melissa McCarthy "St. Vincent", Naomi Watts "Birdman", Oprah Winfrey "Selma", Lorraine Touissant "Selma", Imelda Staunton "Pride"

Commentary - This race has quickly turned into one with five comfortable contenders that are looking for a the one that its going to upset the apple cart. We have yet to see Into the Woods, and even if it turns out to be flat, my bet is that Meryl Streep will be on a lot of folks' ballots. The other four we have seen, and all of them are quickly solidifying their positions. Patricia Arquette, like Hawke, continues to benefit from Boyhood's impossibly awesome buzz. Jessica Chastain was initially reported as lead for A Most Violent Year, but now looks like she is going supporting. And even though Christopher Nolan won't let her campaign for the role, I think all of her supporters are going to rally behind that one before they rally behind this performance versus her Interstellar one. Take that Nolan! (whom I still respect as a filmmaker). Keira Knightley is apparently fine in The Imitation Game, and benefits from the film's buzz, and her status as a former nominee. And Emma Stone looks to finally get her first Oscar nod for her bizarre, and apparently wonderful performance in Birdman. So that's it right? It honestly could be, but there are some other actresses with real chances of breaking through. Laura Dern, Viola Davis, and Sienna Miller make good use of small roles, Rene Russo is a knockout, Carrie Coon and Katherine Waterston are great newcomers, Anna Kendrick could repeat, and the British Isles could get some love with Imelda Staunton, Dorothy Atkinson, and Kelly Reilly. Selma has offered some great choices with veterans like Lorraine Touissant and Oprah Winfrey, but I think that the biggest spoiler could come from Carmen Ejogo playing Coretta Scott King. There is usually always a newcomer in this race, and she apparently radiates. She will have to beat some stiff competition though, and it will be an uphill climb.

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