Mark Ruffalo: 2015 Best Supporting Actor contenders

Mark Ruffalo prphotos 600x330

As you fine folks all already know by now, it’s one thing to just read early Academy Award predictions at this point in the year in order to see what folks like myself think will happen in six months, but it’s an entirely separate thing to actually know something about who and what will be in contention. To help out in that particular regard, I’m continuing to run down some of the major contenders in each Oscar category in order to prep you all for the season to come. Basically, the format will have me saying a few words about what or who I feel are the top tier contenders right now in said categories, along with a longer list afterwards of many of the other hopefuls that the Academy might potentially take a shine to. Consider this a sort of before the awards season cheat sheet to have in your back pocket.

Today I’m continuing with another of the bigger acting categories…yes, it’s Best Supporting Actor.

Here are the ten particular thespians that I have in play for Best Supporting Actor, with the top five cracking the unofficial lineup at this point:

1. Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher) – Especially considering that I’ve recently been informed that Channing Tatum (who I’d previously been predicting for one of the other Supporting slots) is going Lead here, this category seems like Ruffalo’s to lose right now. He’s someone who fits as a winner, apparently is excellent in Foxcatcher, and is just a warm person to be around. That’s a big help, as he’d be great on the campaign trail. At this juncture, Ruffalo makes a lot of sense as the number one here, so that’s where I have him currently.

2. J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) – If there’s an under the radar contender of sorts who can really upend the race, it’s Simmons, who blew folks away at Sundance in Whiplash. A few people out there even have him winning (including myself at one earlier point), though right now he has to be behind Ruffalo. Simmons is overdue his first citation, so I have a feeling that his run of bad luck is about to come to an end. He deserved to be in bigger play for Juno, but now could very well be his time.

3. Christoph Waltz (Big Eyes) *could go Lead – It seems a little unlikely that Waltz could wind up winning his third Best Supporting Actor trophy this year for Big Eyes, but at the same time, he’s clearly an Academy favorite at this point. If he goes Lead, I doubt he can win, so for now I have to imagine he stays Supporting. Most of the attention will likely be focused on his co-star Amy Adams, but the odds are in his favor that he at least slips in.

4. Edward Norton (Birdman) – I had dropped Norton recently from my top five, but then the trailer for Birdman hit and it seems like he’s back in play in a big way. It’s a very different role for him too, which could make it all the more appealing for voters. I’m not quite as high on his chances as others, but I do think he’s certainly in the top half dozen or so. Right now, I think he gets in.

5. Takamasa Ishihara (Unbroken) – Maybe I’m out on a limb here, but something tells me that Ishihara could be the villain of the year for Unbroken, which will very much put him in play for a nomination. A lot will depend on how he’s depicted in the script and if the film focuses on him much, but considering how widely I expect this movie to be embraced by Oscar, Ishihara at least will be in contention for a nod.

6. Robert Duvall (The Judge) – Another contender that benefitted from a trailer, Duvall could be the best part of The Judge, which obviously will have him hanging around all season long. A potentially final nom for the acting legend isn’t out of the question, with an outside chance of the Academy perhaps even giving him the win to cap his career if the part is good enough. This is one to really keep a close eye on.

7. Ethan Hawke (Boyhood) – It’ll be an uphill battle to get Boyhood as many nominations as it deserves, but one of those nominations should be for Hawke’s supporting turn in the film. I’ve seen the movie and can vouch for how great he is in it. He’s hardly the focus of the movie, but his contribution is important and undeniable. It’d be a real shame if he’s completely passed over this season.

8. Josh Brolin (Inherent Vice) – I still don’t know what to make of this contender, but if voters are going to go for the flick, Brolin could very well come with it. I wonder if the whole thing might be too weird, but if The Master got three nominations for its cast, this one has to at least be considered for a similar sort of acclaim right now.

9. Johnny Depp (Into the Woods) – This musical seems like it could underwhelm, though if that’s not the case, Depp clearly will get some votes. It’s a large cast that could create some category confusion, but a nomination for Depp could be just what he needs in order to start up the next phase of his tremendous career.

10. Matthias Schoenaerts (Suite Française) – With so much up in the air right now, you can basically throw a dart at any number of second level contenders, so Schoenaerts is just one potential actor who could be in play. A lot will have to do with if Suite Française becomes a major awards season juggernaut or not, but if it comes even close to that, expect to hear his name pop up here and there.

Next in line I’d have these ten contenders (just sans my commentary here) for Best Supporting Actor:

11. John Lithgow (Love is Strange)
12. Oscar Isaac (A Most Violent Year) *could go Lead
13. Logan Lerman (Fury)
14. Joaquin Phoenix (The Immigrant)
15. Paul Dano (Love & Mercy) *could go Lead
16. Ray Liotta (Kill the Messenger)
17. Domhnall Gleeson (Unbroken)
18. James Gandolfini (The Drop)
19. Robert Pattinson (Maps to the Stars)
20. Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars) *could go Lead

Finally, here are ten more possibilities to give us a top 30 to cull from, just sans commentary as well:

21. Michael Shannon (99 Homes)
22. Philip Seymour Hoffman (A Most Wanted Man)
23. Peter Sarsgaard (Pawn Sacrifice)
24. Christopher Walken (Jersey Boys)
25. Gary Oldman (Child 44)
26. John Cusack (Love & Mercy or Maps to the Stars) *could go Lead
27. Matt Damon (Interstellar)
28. Steve Buscemi (The Cobbler)
29. Michael Fassbender (Frank or Slow West) *could go Lead for Frank
30. Joel Edgerton (Exodus: Gods and Kings)

That’s what the Best Supporting Actor race could very well be made up of folks. Stay tuned next week (same awards time, same awards channel) for my look at the Best Supporting Actress race!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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