Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Year in Advance Oscar Predictions 2012 Part 2: Supporting

The Supporting Categories are always a bit difficult to predict. Last year, I didn't even get a single one of my Supporting Actress Nominees right. I did have Viola Davis there, but she was nominated in Lead (that counts, right?). And that's the problem with Supporting. You never know how big the part is going be or if the actor is feeling they have a better shot at a nomination if they campaign in a certain category regardless of screen time. Ethan Hawke is the main character in Training Day, but he was nominated in Supporting to make way for Denzel in Lead. We'll have to wait and see where my picks land next year, but I'm feeling good about these. Take a look:

Best Supporting Actor
Bryan Cranston Argo
Russell Crowe Les Misérables
Tom Cruise Rock of Ages
Leonardo DiCaprio Django Unchained
Christopher Walken Seven Psychopaths

Bryan Cranston Argo The Role: I'm not really sure. IMDB lists his name as Jack O'Donnell, so that's helpful. But, the movie is the true life story of the rescue of 6 US diplomats held hostage in Iran in 1979. The United States and Canada collaborated to get them back by posing as a film crew scouting locations for a fictional film. Why Him: Well, it could really be anyone from this movie. (Alan Arkin is my second choice from this film.) This is Ben Affleck's third time as a director and both his previous films brought Supporting nominations (Amy Ryan for Gone Baby Gone and Jeremy Renner for The Town). But, I ultimately decided on Cranston because I feel like it's his time. He already has three Emmys for Breaking Bad, but has never received an Oscar nom. He was great in last year's Drive and this year appears in 5 films. This category was made for character actors and he's the man of the moment.
Russell Crowe Les Misérables The Role: 'And I am–Javert. Do not forget my name. Do not forget me, 24601!' He plays the inspector, Javert, who spends his life tracking down Jean Valjean. Why Him: In the early 2000's, Crowe was that rare combination of movie star and real actor. His Best Actor Oscar win for 2000's Gladiator seemed like a promise of things to come. But, he hasn't been nominated since 2001's A Beautiful Mind. Part of the problem is Crowe, himself. His temper and pompousness started to turn a lot of people off. It had looked like he was on his way to a nom for Cinderella Man, but then he had to go and throw a phone at a hotel clerk. That was 7 years ago, I feel like Hollywood is ready to embrace him again. Also, Javert is a great part–even better than Valjean, in my opinion. He's doing something new by appearing in a musical and he has a great number, 'Stars', that's an emotional powerhouse. 
Tom Cruise Rock of Ages The Role: Stacee Jaxx, a larger than life musical superstar in the film version of the Broadway musical. Why Him: The musical is set in the 80's and the songs used are all the songs you love from that decade (Journey! Bon Jovi!)–nothing about it really appeals to me. The only reason I'm predicting this role being nominated is because it's Cruise playing it. He's come a long way past the whole jumping on Oprah's couch incident. He had a huge hit with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, showing that he's still a big name draw. And his role in Tropic Thunder, which brought him a Golden Globe nomination, displayed a new side to him and showed he was ready to have fun. The three-time Oscar nominee has never won. I think people will be excited about him in such a different part and that the Academy will feel the need to reward him.
Leonardo DiCaprio Django Unchained The Role: DiCaprio steps out of his comfort zone playing the villain in Quentin Tarantino's latest. He's a sadistic plantation owner in the deep south who owns the titular character's wife. Why Him: Like Cruise, this three-time nominee has never won an Oscar. Long considered to be one of the best actors of his generation, many feel he's overdue. He was even being predicted for a nom for last year's snoozefest, J. Edgar, even after the film got bad reviews. Luckily, the Academy came to their senses and a nomination didn't happen. Christmas Day 2012 is a big day for the actor who not only has this film, but the title role in The Great Gatsby also being released. Two such high-profile roles are sure to be noticed, but I'm leaning toward Django for the fact that it's something we've never seen from him before and Tarantino has a way of getting actors nominated. 
Christopher Walken Seven Psychopaths The Role: A criminal named Hans that kidnaps a dog from a powerful gangster (Woody Harrelson). Why Him: Walken is teaming up on writer/director Martin McDonagh's second film. The two worked together on the Broadway play, A Behanding in Spokane, which brought Walken a Tony nomination. The combination of McDonagh's black comedy and Walken's...weirdness are a perfect pair. His surprise second nomination for Catch Me If You Can shows that the Academy likes Walken. I think they wouldn't mind giving him another nomination in something.

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams The Master
Samantha Barks Les Misérables
Annette Bening Imogene
Sally Field Lincoln
Anne Hathaway Les Misérables

Amy Adams The Master The Role: Mary Sue Dodd, wife to Philip Seymour Hoffman's religious leader. Why Her: With three nominations in this category over the past 7 years, it's safe to say the Academy likes her (they really like her–Sorry, Sally Field, stole your line). And playing the long- suffering wife (I'm just guessing the role is long-suffering. I'm also guessing she has an affair with Joaquin Phoenix's drifter character who becomes her husband's right-hand man) is one of the guaranteed ways of getting a nomination in this category. I was really skeptical of Adams taking on such a tough character in The Fighter after playing so many innocent ingenues, but I think she really pulled it off and showed her versatility. Working with Hoffman and director Paul Thomas Anderson are a really great way of showing what she's capable of.
Samantha Barks Les Misérables The Role: Eponine, the tragic waif whose love of Marius goes unrequited.  Why Her: Because it's not Taylor Swift! I've actually written a lot about the casting of this character because it really is the breakout role. When people think of Les Miz, I feel like Eponine and her song, 'On My Own', are the first things that come to mind. It's character we can all relate to. Who hasn't been in love with someone who didn't feel the same way? And when you're young, it seems like the most important thing in the world. I'm not really familiar with Miss Barks as an actress, but I'm glad that a musical theatre performer is playing this role. The Academy loves to honor young actresses in this category and give a nomination to a fresh face. This year, I think that part will be fulfilled here.
Annette Bening Imogene The Role: The gambling addict mother who has to take custody of her daughter (Academy Award Nominee, Kristen Wiig) after she fakes a suicide. Why Her: Because The Bening has never won! (Luckily, Bening-award-thief, Hilary Swank is nowhere to be seen this year.) The four-time nominee is highly regarded, but just can't seem to actually win the damn thing. Bening is usually seen as a very serious actress, so it'll be fun to see her cut loose with this trashy, comedic character. And having Wiig onboard after the huge success of Bridesmaids will only help her chances. I just hope she wins soon. Living in a world where Annette Bening doesn't have an Oscar just seems wrong.
Sally Field Lincoln The Role: Mary Todd Lincoln, the wife of President Lincoln. She sat next to her husband at his assassination and may have suffered bipolar disorder. See, I told you the long-suffering wife role is a reoccurring theme. Why Her: After a six year absence from film, the two-time Best Actress Oscar winner is making her way back to the big screen. It seemed like we lost her to television and Boniva commercials. Along with the sure-to-be summer blockbuster The Amazing Spiderman, Field is back to dramatic work with this role in Spielberg's film. I'm not sure how large the role will be in the film, but I feel like Sally as Mary Todd Lincoln is pretty great casting. The combination of Field, the subject material, and the film's high-profile, I think, will be hard to ignore. 
Anne Hathaway Les Misérables The Role: The poor, young mother, Fantine, who turns to prostitution to support her daughter. Why Her: The hooker with a heart of gold is another character in the Oscar wheelhouse. And this one (thanks to Susan Boyle) has another popular song to sing–'I Dreamed a Dream'. I feel like as a teenager you identify with Eponine, but as you get older you sympathize with Fantine. It's not just love that's a struggle, but all of life. 'Now life has killed the dream I dreamed'. And Miss Annie Hathaway, who will be bringing those lyrics to life, will be having a big year. In addition to Les Miz, she's also starring as Catwoman/Selina Kyle in a little film you may have heard of called The Dark Knight Rises, which will only raise her profile more. The one-time Oscar host (oh, god, why!? At least she tried her best. I blame Franco) and one-time nominee has been showcasing her singing voice on the ceremony for a couple years now. It was only a matter of time before she did a musical. The role of Fantine will certainly showcase both her singing and acting chops. Plus, over the past four years, this category has honored two actresses from the same movie. I'm fine with having Annie back at the Oscars, but keep her away from hosting duties... 
'I'm just a little confused why I haven't won yet. I'm really good.'

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