The Best Supporting Actor Oscar is usually a good place for actors who haven’t been recognized by the Academy to get a shot at an award. In recent years, we’ve seen the great Christopher Plummer and Christian Bale finally get their first Oscar in this category. The category helped villainous performances from Heath Ledger, Christoph Waltz and Javier Bardem earn awards.
Last year, the category provided us with the biggest shock of Oscar night - Waltz winning for what was essentially a lead role in Django Unchained. That again brought up the question of how does anyone really define the difference between supporting and lead. This year, the category could turn out to be a surprise again, but there is a frontrunner - Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club. Michael Fassbender is also a top contender for his role in 12 Years A Slave.
Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club
Leto, who is the frontman for 20 Seconds To Mars, made his first appearance in a movie since 2009 in Dallas Buyers Club. In it, he plays a transvestite who befriends Matthew McConaughey’s Ronald Woodroof. So far, Leto has earned nominations at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards.
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Michael Fassbender - 12 Years A Slave
If the Academy wants to continue a recent trend of honoring villains, they could pick Fassbender, who plays Edwin Epps, the slaveowner who owns Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor). It’s a great performance from Fassbender, who has been churning out acclaimed roles left and right lately. He’s due for some Oscar recognition, so he should at least be nominated.
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Barkhad Abdi - Captain Phillips
In Captain Phillips, Abdi plays the leader of the Somali pirates who commandeer Captain Phillips’ boat. Adbi has earned rave reviews for his performance alongside Tom Hanks and has already started racking up the nominations.
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Bradley Cooper - American Hustle
Although Cooper gave a good performance in David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook last year, it was still surprising to see him earn an Oscar nomination. This year, he has a supporting role in Russell’s American Hustle and gives a great performance as the FBI agent trying to orchestrate the hustle of hustlers. His scenes with amy Adams are particularly good and it would be great to see him get a supporting nod.
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The fifth slot is really up for grabs. The Screen Actors Guild nominated the late James Gandolfini for his performance in Enough Said and he has even earned awards from critics groups. Possibly, a nomination would be seen as a great way to honor Gandolfini’s amazing body of work.
David Bruhl, who starred in Ron Howard’s Rush, was recognized by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for a Golden Globe surprisingly, so he’s also one to keep an eye on.
top image: Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/image.net