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Taking a look at potential Best Supporting Actor contenders

Before this piece gets started, a quick note. As you probably heard yesterday, the Academy will not be adding their controversial new Popular Film category for the upcoming Oscar ceremony. That’s been reflected in my analysis here. Just wanted to make sure that was known. Now, on to the regularly scheduled Best Supporting Actor fun…

Here we go once again, now with September firmly upon us. Dear readers, as you might well have guessed already, it’s time to dive into another yes. Yes, one more Oscar field will get a somewhat in depth look at what/who its top contenders might be. I’ve gone over what this is a number of times, but in case you’re new to it all, here it is in short: it’s one thing to read early Academy Award predictions at this point in the year in order to see what folks like myself think will happen six or so months from now, but it’s a whole other thing entirely to actually know something about what will be in contention. To help out in that regard, I’m once again running 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/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 take a shine to. Consider this a sort of before the awards season cheat sheet that you can use as you see fit in the months to come.

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

Here now 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. Sam Elliott (A Star is Born) – Best Supporting Actor is another wide open category right now, so it’s easy to see Elliott being a potential winner for his well liked turn in A Star is Born. If the film is as beloved by the Academy as we suspect, the veteran actor will finally become an Oscar nominee. From there, depending on his competition, an Academy Award wouldn’t be hard to come by. As such, he’s in the top spot right now.

2. Timothee Chalamet (Beautiful Boy) *Could Go Lead – Depending on category placement, Chalamet may be in the running for a second consecutive nomination. Right now, I have him in Supporting and Steve Carell in Lead for Beautiful Boy, but that remains to be seen. You could just as easily see Carell in this position before long. If Chalamet stays and the reviews are strong, it’ll be interesting to see how he fares against veteran competition…

3. Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) – Among contenders in Supporting Actor, none have gotten scene stealing buzz like Grant has. In fact, it almost sounds like he could even be a threat to win. Can You Ever Forgive Me? is clearly an acting play for Grant and Melissa McCarthy. Perhaps they’re joined at the hip, nomination wise?

4. Ben Foster (Leave No Trace) – As I noted yesterday, Foster is going to be campaigned Supporting for his performance in Leave No Trace. This puts him firmly in place for his first nomination. In fact, as you can see, I currently have him breaking into the lineup. The film is small and needs to be remembered, but if it is, there’s no reason not to assume Foster will make it in.

5. Robert Forster (What They Had) – Watch out for Forster. You may be surprised he’s in this slot for me, but his work in What They Had is top notch. The movie gives him an excellent Supporting role, one that could very well get him into the lineup. If he does make it, then he’ll even be a dark horse to win it all. Stay tuned there!

6. Sam Rockwell (Untitled Dick Cheney Biopic) – The one true question mark remaining this season. Rockwell just won this category last year, so a repeat is unlikely, but another nomination isn’t out of the question at all. We just don’t know what to make of this flick yet, so it’s all in a holding pattern…

7. Oscar Isaac (At Eternity’s Gate) – Could this be just the Willem Dafoe show? If not, Isaac is right there, looking for his first Oscar citation. At Eternity’s Gate might be a hard sell for some voters, but Dafoe and Isaac may be able to overcome that. As such, both are currently knocking on the nomination door.

8. Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther) – Now that we know the Academy is postponing the Popular Film category, Black Panther can once again legitimately compete in the major categories, with no asterisks. One of the chief beneficiaries is Jordan. Early on, he seemed like a solid bet to be nominated. Perhaps now that will remain true?

9. Armie Hammer (On the Basis of Sex) – Hammer playing a famous supportive husband? It’s kind of what Supporting Actor is made for, in a way. A lot will ride on if On the Basis of Sex is awards worthy or not, but after missing last year for Call Me By Your Name, voters might be keen to reward him.

10. Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman) – There are other potential contenders to consider, like Mahershala Ali for Green Book or Jason Clarke for First Man, but for now, Driver is in this position. BlacKkKlansman may well turn out to be one of the bigger players this year, and if so, could take him along for the ride. Don’t count him out.

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

11. Jason Clarke (First Man)
12. J.K. Simmons (The Front Runner)
13. Russell Crowe (Boy Erased)
14. Mahershala Ali (Green Book) *Could Go Lead
15. Jake Gyllenhaal (Wildlife)
16. Matthew McConaughey (White Boy Rick) *Could Go Lead
17. Joel Edgerton (Boy Erased)
18. Corey Stoll (First Man)
19. Dominic West (Colette)
20. Casey Affleck (The Old Man and the Gun)

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

21. Kyle Chandler (First Man)
22. Sylvester Stallone (Creed II)
23. Daniel Kaluuya (Widows)
24. Topher Grace (BlacKkKlansman)
25. Lin-Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns)
26. Bill Camp (Wildlife)
27. Bruce Dern (White Boy Rick)
28. Alessandro Nivola (Disobedience)
29. Common (All About Nina)
30. Josh Brolin (Avengers: Infinity War)

That’s what the Best Supporting Actor race could very well be made up of when all is said and done folks. Stay tuned next week, at the same awards time and 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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