Mister Tee wrote
My question: is it possible the critics bring [Ralph Fiennes] into the race this year? Though the lead and supporting actress fields are quite full, and best actor at least has Affleck and (likely) Denzel heading it, supporting actor seems virtually empty.
My answer: Sure. Why not?
I'm trying to think of the last time Best Supporting Actor was this bare. No idea. I keep coming back to thinking about last year. All we know was:
FOR SURE: Rylance, Stallone.
AND SOME COMBINATION OF: Bale, Dano, Del Toro, Elba, Hardy, Ruffalo, Shannon, Tremblay.
I remember thinking "Wow, it's been a long time since I had less of an idea who will be nominated than this year." This year leaves 2015 in the dust.
Normally, we can't say anything for certain until the Golden Globes come out. This year, we can't say anything at all. There are no front-runners this year in this category. Liam Neeson could totally get a career Oscar for his work in Silence. Unless, his role is super small and he's not doing anything impressive, and Adam Driver gets nominated instead. Over twenty years after Forrest Gump, Mykelti Williamson could get in for Fences. Unless it goes to Stephen Henderson. Jeff Bridges could get his seventh nomination for Hell or High Water. Or Ben Foster gets his first.
What do we "know"? Mahershala Ali, Lucas Hedges, and Dev Patel give acclaimed performances in Academy-visible films. They don't seem to be splitting the vote with anybody else. They seem like pretty good bets.
Except I'm dubious of this positioning for Mahershala Ali because he only factors into the first third of a fiercely indie film, he doesn't have any huge scenes, and he plays a character whose cards are held close to the chest. He has Indie Spirit written all over him, except he wasn't nominated.
And Lucas Hedges is basically playing "The Kid." "The Kid" can be eight or eighteen. This "The Kid" has a better script, a better part, but The Kid doesn't always get nominated.
Dev Patel seems the likeliest to me because he's in a movie that the blue-hairs are going to love, the Weinsteins are pushing him, and it's an emotional role (from what I know). It's also pretty clearly the lead, which reeks of the same tokenism that saw Patel being pushed for Support in Slumdog Millionaire. It makes me wonder if Gandhi was made today, would we be talking about Sir Ben Kingsley, Best Supporting Actor? Maybe Patel will end up getting nominated for lead?
So here are my predictions. The nominees will be:
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel, Lion
Someone from Silence
Someone from Fences
...Or none of them.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver