Best Supporting Actor
Will Win - J.K. Simmons "Whiplash"
Could Win - Edward Norton "Birdman"
Should Win - J.K. Simmons "Whiplash"
Commentary - If Edward Norton weren't such a strange person (apparently he is difficult to say the least), then he could have built on some critical love, and industry love for Birdman and risen to the top. But alas, he will have to sit on the sidelines for the great J.K. Simmons, and honestly, I could not be happier about it. Simmons has been a hardworking actor in this business for a long time. He should have gotten some love for Juno (as well as his on-screen wife, the magnificent Allison Janney), but alas this is his first Oscar nomination. I would be absolutely shocked if he did not win this year, and it would also be a complete travesty if he doesn't. He won SAG, BAFTA, the Globe, the Critics Choice, and a whole host of other honors. It is his to lose.
Best Supporting Actress
Will Win - Patricia Arquette "Boyhood"
Could Win - Emma Stone "Birdman" or Meryl Streep "Into the Woods"
Should Win - Patricia Arquette "Boyhood", Emma Stone "Birdman" or Laura Dern "Wild"
Commentary - For my money there are three great choices for the Academy this year. First, let me say the same warning I say practically every year: don't forget Meryl Streep. Now that that is out of the way, let's move on to those previously mentioned three. One of the best surprises on Oscar morning was the nomination for Laura Dern. She is one of my favorite actresses working today, and it has been entirely too long since she has gotten some Oscar love. Her great roles this year (I am including The Fault in Our Stars here), proved what a wonderful and emotional screen presence she is. Emma Stone has been tearing it up for years now, mostly doing comedy, but nonetheless is one of the best talents working today. Her role in Birdman lit up the screen, and it would be a great way for the Academy to reward a talent that will be delivering great parts for years to come. But their third option is the one that has this pretty much locked up. 12 Years in the making Boyhood is a feat no doubt, and Patricia Arquette's work is clearly a standout. Like J.K. Simmons in this race's counterpart, Arquette is one of those under-appreciated actresses that has churned out quality work for years. On Sunday, I think she finally gets her due.