Saturday, 5 January 2013

All the men, too many men; or, Supporting Actor problems

In some ways the Oscar race is bound to frustrate whatever happens. Take for example the seemingly wide open supporting category this year (thus far). It could be something positive because chances are when the nominees are announced on Thursday we’ll get some surprises which people are always accusing the nominations of being without. On the other hand, there is some solace ti take in races which are easily predictable. The knowledge of what the nominees are before hands allows you to temper your expectations and avoid any disappointments. Which is worse, the promise of bitter disappointment or the certainty of general (allegedly) tedious nominees?

Who even knows?

But, the supporting actors. Although I may possibly accede that as far as winners go it seems wide open, on the nomination front I wonder if it’s really such an open game. At this point I’m least interested in predicting winners, choosing the nominees is much more fun. And, so many options – although I do have to wonder how many are truly viable.

If you ask me on the spot who I think ends up nominated I’d be inclined to go – Arkin, DeNiro, DiCaprio, Hoffman, Jones.

It seems likely a viable group who would all make sense. And I look at it and I immediately think, no – this isn’t happening. Is it me and my general desire to make everything interesting by making it more complex or are we really assuming that it’s all cut-and-dry when it’s possibly not? Let’s wade through the possibilities….

I may sound facetious, but assuming the worst/best I could see a slate of nominees where the “locked” nominee appearing is Tommy Lee Jones. Even as I’m uncertain of his certainty of winning, he currently seems like the only nominee whose place on a ballot is truly assured. I could make an argument for either of the remaining four falling off. The case against DiCaprio is easiest. He suffers from internal competition, a late released film and the potentially foreboding lack of a SAG nod. DeNiro lacks the Globe nod (not as significant, but still something) and even as Silver Linings Playbook hasn’t fallen out of the race I remain – even in a minor way – sceptical of its full prowess. So much of DeNiro seems to me affable star in liked, but not loved, film that falls off just before the Oscar (Macy in Seabiscuit, for example). With Arkin, the small role itself and the possibility that the film’s ensemble nature doesn’t endorse him could be a threat and with Hoffman there’s no telling just how the The Master will be received.

But, if not these four, then who?

The likelihood of Waltz replacing Django is one I wrestle with. Most of it because even as he’s underwhelmed me lately I shall always be a strong advocate of DiCaprio and yes, I’d like to see him nominated. On one hand, I say Waltz is a recent winner, DiCaprio seems more ripe for the pickings – why not him? On the other hand, Waltz, too has a plum role and his potential co-lead status could up his chance at crashing the party. Common sense would say SAG and BFCA nod Javier Bardem is the obvious crasher but I remain staunch that it’s not happening.

Of course, I’m a bit ambivalent to the performance somewhat, but even then how many curves has SAG thrown us that have not made it to the Oscars (Highmore, Garner, Cheadle, Christensen) and logic would suggest that Skyfall’s commercial success ups Bardem’s status but I remain unconvinced. Below that we have McConaughey who would have been an obvious inclusion but for him not being anywhere lately, or Redmayne who could have been had Les Mis stuck its landing stronger, or Jackson had Waltz if the love for Django was truly overwhelming. Logically, either of these men could still surprise….but, I’m betting on another horse to shake things up, even if I’m being completely ridiculous and going with my heart and not my head. potentially insane prediction for a wildcard spot, and more Supporting musings....

Why can’t Ewan McGregor barrel through and surprise in the supporting category?

This category is not immune to surprises, and I feel there will be one and I just keep coming back to Ewan. Perhaps foolishly, the germ of this idea came when Angelina Jolie held that special screening to fĂȘte Ewan’s work – and that says little other than a specific person liking the film. He hasn’t been lucky with precursors…and yet…but surely those who see Naomi and nominate her will add him on? Sort of like Djimon getting in for In America from those who saw Morton? Perhaps I’m foolishly blathering, and perhaps I’ll change my mind Thursday, but I’ll chose Ewan as a wildcard spot.

PREDICTIONS (alpha): Alan Arkin in Argo; Robert DeNiro in Silver Linings Playbook; Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained; Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln; Ewan McGregor in The Impossible

ALTERNATES (probability): Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master; Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained; Samuel Jackson in Django Unchained; Javier Bardem in Skyfall

I scratch my head at ultimately nixing Hoffman, because even as he feels like the most likely nominee for the film I feel like the conversation around the film never begins with him. And even as he’s a likeable performer isn’t this just the type of year for him to be edged out by a performance shrouded in more passion? (Allow me my McGregor silliness, and my Bardem doubting.) From there, I have Django as a likely alternate just because if the film does take off, wouldn’t it be odd to have Tarantino’s “race picture” nominated but only two white guys being the nominees? The argument sounds insensitive, but in the case of that plus Jackson’s very significant character if stars align it wouldn’t shock me…

…but, really, what do I know? I tend to over think these things. Perhaps it’ll be Arkin, DeNiro, DiCaprio, Hoffman and Jones or even Arkin, Bardem, DeNiro, Hoffman and Jones. It could be a toss-up, and then again it might not.

What do you think?

1 comment:

Stevee Taylor said...

Ugh, this is the worst category because it is so hard! I put McConaughey in my predictions, as I think they could pull a wild card vote. So my ballot would go like this:

DiCaprio, Arkin, McConaughey, Jones and Hoffman. Though I could totally see Bardem getting in.

And I like your prediction of McGregor - I think that's a bigger possibility than some people realise.