Oscar 2012 Predictions: Best Supporting Actor

A frustrated actor/director, a former alcoholic and bad father, an old man coming out as he approaches death, a mysterious and gentle mute, and a young whiz kid who may shake up the world of baseball — all in all, that’s a pretty eclectic bunch of nominees. Of course, there’s no real surprises in this category. With the exception of Jonah Hill, my personal favorite of the nominees, these are all safe and understandable nominations.

I, for one, am still baffled at how Albert Brooks didn’t get nominated. Who did he piss off to cause this? Someone must be behind this grave injustice! Are the nerds of the world still crying over this? They have reason to, I suppose. While they’re at it, they should continue to shed a few tears for — and sing the praises of – Patton Oswalt (Young Adult), Shea Whigham (Take Shelter), Ben Kingsley (Hugo), John Hawkes (Martha Marcy May Marlene), and just about everyone who wasn’t Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Like most of their respected nominees, they all gave tremendous performances.

Without further ado and less whining, here are the nominations for Best Supporting Actor, with my predicted winner in red

Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn 

Why He Was Nominated:

Branagh’s playing Laurence Frickin’ Olivier, and who doesn’t love seeing a classic figure portrayed, not impersonated? Branagh made Olivier a character, not a laughable impersonation. Oh, it also helps that Branagh totally kicks ass in general.

Why He Might Win:

Branagh is My Week with Marilyn. He made a decent film a ton of fun to watch. All the interactions between Branagh and Williams are gold, everything else in the film is trying to keep up with the duo. Branagh has always been regarded with respect and acclaim. He’s the type of guy who can do it all, so perhaps that’ll give him a fighting chance?

Why He Might Not Win:

That older gentleman who gave Terrence Malick “shit” is a lock.

Previous Nominations: 4

Previous Wins: 0

Jonah Hill, Moneyball 

Why He Was Nominated:

This was a new type of performance from Hill, something most people, especially older folk, wouldn’t expect from him. Hill showed off some great dramatic chops in Cyrus, but that performance was overlooked, awards-wise. Moneyball was a through and through crowd-pleaser, and Hill’s presence is a part of the reason why.

Why He Might Win: 

The Academy decides to show some appreciation for understated performances, one that doesn’t deal with shouting, crying, or overcoming a major life obstacle. Further more, maybe they’ll recognize that plenty of Hill’s dialogue involves discussing statistics and trades, which isn’t usually the most exciting topics for conversation. Hill, thanks to the wonderful rapport he struck with Pitt, infused energy and charm into Aaron Sorkin’s and Steve Zaillian’s already lively dialogue.

Why He Might Not Win:

On the showy performance scale, this ranks the lowest out the nominees. Hill’s role did not rely on grand emotions. He just played an average guy doing a job, which isn’t the type of performance that wins awards, let alone get nominated, as often as it should. Also, the guy from Priest and Dracula 2000 is going to win.

Previous Nominations: 0

Previous Wins: 0

Nick Nolte, Warrior

Why He Was Nominated:

The breakdown scene. I’m calling it now, that is the clip the Academy will show.

Why He Might Win:

Nick Nolte’s respected. Everyone knows his past and could talk about how personal the role is for him. Nolte gives the type of old school and loud performance the Academy loves. There’s the tears, the yelling, and the sorrowful regrets, a.k.a. the depressing adjectives award show voters eat up.

Why He Might Not Win:

Look no further than the next listed nominee…

Previous Nominations: 3

Previous Wins: 0

Christopher Plummer, Beginners 

Why He Was Nominated:

Everyone loves Christopher Plummer, and there’s nothing not to love about the performance he gives in Beginners. Whether you’re a fan of Mike Mills’ film or not, just about everyone has recognized Plummer’s work as being nothing short of beautiful.

Why He Might Win:

There is no “might” or “maybe” when it comes to Plummer, he’s going to win. There’s no doubt about it. He’s been cleaning house at every other awards show to date, and with charm , style, and class. When Plummer gets up to that podium, everyone is prepared for a slice of witty and heartfelt remarks. Who wouldn’t want to see him do that while wielding an oscar in hand?

Why He Might Not Win:

The apocalypse happens right before the show…or the Westboro Baptist Church pops up to protest his performance and decides to burn down the Kodak theater. There’s a 50/50 chance of both these events.

Previous Nominations: 2

Previous Wins: 0

Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close 

Why He Was Nominated:

Sydow’s nomination, most likely, comes down to his legendary status and how he gives a silent performance. The character’s silence is a half-baked idea in the film, but Sydow did manage to overcome weak material.

Why He Might Win:

Someone sabotages the show? Who knows, maybe there’s more fans of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close than we all assume. Most of the voters are older white men, and this film definitely plays to that crowd. If there is anything worth rewarding to this adaptation, it’s to Sydow.

Why He Might Not Win:

Once again, General Chang has this one in the bag. Need another reason? Well, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close not being particularly good certainly doesn’t help Sydow’s case. It’s a divisive film, with only a few lovers and defenders at its side. If Stephen Daldry’s drama was unanimously adored, then Sydow would have been a real threat in this category.

Previous Nominations: 2

Previous Wins: 0

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