These are always the most interesting categories for me. Supporting characters can be hilarious, weird, and completely unrealistic without ruining the overall feel of a film. That is why the most eccentric parts are usually supporting parts. I love nothing more than seeing an A-lister dive into some weird part just for the hell of it and ending up with an Oscar for it. Both these races have their frontrunners but are still up in the air to an extent. It’s also anybody’s guess who grabs the last few slots.
Check the archives for other predictions.
Let’s start with the men, because Jared Leto is a man (I think), and damnit Jared Leto is awesome.
And the predicted nominees are…
1. J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Simmons emerged as the frontrunner long ago and his recent victories from a few critics awards have only elevated his status. This really the perfect role for him, an intimidating music teacher. This is also a category that loves to awards veterans in semi-comedic roles. J.K. Simmons has stolen all the headlines from Whiplash that many thought would go to Miles Teller.
Simmons has never been nominated.
2. Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
Ethan Hawke has been in the race from the start and the Academy going all-in on Boyhood may be the only thing that can prevent Simmons from winning. Hawke has been nominated a couple of times for writing and was also a nominee in this category for Training Day.
He seems to be a safe bet for a nomination but the individual buzz around Boyhood is mostly for its director and Patricia Arquette (we’ll get to her in a second). This is probably too quiet of a role to win an Oscar with.
3. Edward Norton (Birdman)
The NBR giving this to Norton only confirmed what everyone was already speculating, that he is a real contender in this category. He was outstanding in Birdman, and he’s playing an actor, which likely helps his chances with that branch.
Norton has two nominations, for Primal Fear and American History X. The only thing standing in his way of actually winning is J.K. Simmons.
4. Tom Wilkinson (Selma)
Wilkinson, a two-time nominee, plays Lyndon B. Johnson in Selma. Playing a president is a surefire nomination if you nail the little mannerisms and big speeches (which Wilkinson apparently does). However, Wilkinson is far from a sure thing though as the critics awards have been ignoring him despite going heavy on Selma.
5. Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)
The entire Foxcatcher cast, Ruffalo included, is being praised and thrown into awards talk. Something to look out for is Sony campaigning Carell for supporting (only announcement is that Tatum is definitely in lead). If that happens, Carell will surely steal votes from Ruffalo and vice versa. Many critics at Cannes singled out Ruffalo’s performance as the best in the film, despite the other two being a little more juicy on paper.
UPDATE: Sony doesn’t appear to be campaigning Carell for supporting, good news for Ruffalo.
Ruffalo has one nomination in supporting, for The Kids are All Right. The SAG and Globe nominations he just received are huge for his Oscar chances.
Didn’t make the cut this time…
6. Robert Duvall (The Judge)
He’s a legend and he’s supposedly pretty good here but the movie just did soooooo bad, both critically and commercially, that it’s hard to see anything from it receiving a nomination. Warners will be pushing him hard as he is their only real horse in any race this year, and he got the SAG nomination, which keeps him in the hunt.
7. Christoph Waltz (Big Eyes)
Waltz has won two Oscars recently and has become much more recognizable to Americans, therefore he’s always in the hunt. Most don’t see Big Eyes making a huge awards impact, though, Waltz has been heralded as the best part of the film.
8. Josh Brolin (Inherent Vice)
This a perfect role for Josh Brolin. I won’t give anything away beyond that. I’ve said it in all these predictions; Inherent Vice might be too weird for the Academy, but if it lands with them, Brolin will surely be swept in.
Brolin was nominated once in this category before (Milk).
9. Miyavi (Unbroken)
He’s apparently a scene-stealer as the main antagonist, but he’s a relative nobody in a category that loves rewarding veterans. Also, the film is receiving mixed early responses overall. He’ll need it to make a strong overall impact to have a chance.
10. Tim Roth (Selma)
Roth’s only nomination was in 1995 for Rob Roy. He’s playing real-life villain George Wallace in Selma. The problem: any Selma votes in this category are probably going to go Wilkinson.
11. Chris Pine (Into the Woods)
Early word is that he’s a scene-stealer and knocks it out of the park in every regard. He’s obviously a big star at the moment and he’s found a nice balance of franchises and personal passion projects (check out Stretch). He’s highly unlikely to crack the top five, however.
12. Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes)
Won’t get nominated. But he’s the best at what he does in the business. He’s deserving.
Now for the ladies.
And the predicted nominees are…
1. Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
There is a plethora of quality candidates in this category this year, but Arquette seems to be running away with this one. She’s been winning all the critics awards and whenever anyone points to the acting in Boyhood, she’s the first name they bring up. She’s a shoe-in for a nomination and a very good bet to win unless one of the ladies below here can grab some late momentum via SAG or the Globes.
Arquette has never been nominated before.
2. Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
Other than Cumberbatch, she’s the most notable part of the film. She’s had a lot of good press over the last few months, got a SAG nomination, and has had a big year altogether with another acclaimed performance in Laggies and an appearance in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.
There’s concern that she could split votes with herself due to Laggies, but I don’t think that movie is going to even be sent to voters. Knightley was nominated once before (Pride and Prejudice).
3. Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year)
Chastain has also had a big year and continues to be a growing force in Hollywood. She missed out on the SAG nomination but that may very be because people just haven’t seen A Most Violent Year yet. Along with co-star Oscar Isaac, she’s receiving loads of critical praise for her turn. Most importantly, the Academy has proven that they like her.
Chastain is a two-time nominee for The Help and Zero Dark Thirty.
4. Emma Stone (Birdman)
This was just a great performance by her that required her to step way out of her comfort zone. She nailed it. Stone is really starting to gain respect as a young actress: her next two projects are Cameron Crowe and Woody Allen films, and she got the SAG nomination.
While Birdman might be more about the men and technical achievements, Stone seems like a pretty safe bet to score a nomination.
5. Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)
A wild card along with the rest of Into the Woods, but early word is that she steals the show.
Oh yeah, she’s sort of a big deal, too. Streep is the Academy’s favorite actress. She has EIGHTEEN nominations; her first being in 1978 for The Deer Hunter, her most recent being in 2013 for August: Osage County. She’s won three times (Kramer vs Kramer, Sophie’s Choice, and The Iron Lady).
Didn’t make the cut this time…
6. Laura Dern (Wild)
She plays a small part in a small film that is likely going to be all about Reese Witherspoon. But the reviews for her have been so good and there isn’t a ton of competition here after the top four or five.
She was nominated for best actress at the age of 24 in 1992 for Rambling Rose.
7. Carrie Coon (Gone Girl)
She’s growing in popularity thanks to The Leftovers and she steals scenes in Gone Girl. She’s not just comedic relief, either. The movies popularity keeps her in the hunt, though her co-star Kim Dickens could steal a few votes from her in this category.
8. Carmen Ejogo (Selma)
Obviously, giving an acclaimed turn as Coretta Scott King puts her in the hunt. But she’s a much smaller name than everyone else here and Selma might make most of its awards bones outside of the acting categories.
9. Kristen Stewart (Still Alice)
Stewart has proved to people that she can actually act and she’s apparently great in Still Alice, though the movies only buzz is about Julianne Moore’s turn. She’ll likely have to prove herself as a serious actress even more before she has much of a chance at a nomination.
10. Tilda Swinton (Snowpiercer)
Swinton won this award for Michael Clayton and every performance she gives gets a lot of praise. She’s insane in Snowpiercer. Just a crazy physical and emotional turn. But it doesn’t seem like the film is going to get much, if any, awards attention.
11. Katherine Waterston (Inherent Vice)
As a reader of the book, I can confirm this is a great role, and she’s apparently great in it. But there are much bigger names in the hunt and in her own film.
12. Dorothy Atkinson (Mr. Turner)
A very emotional role but will enough people see it and does anybody know who she is?