With the Hollywood Foreign Press and the Screen Actor Guild already pulling back the curtain on this year’s group of nominees, it will soon be time for the Academy of Arts & Sciences to do the same. This six part series will look at each of the main categories and break down the frontrunners and dark horses of this Oscar season.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
-Christian Bale (“The Fighter”) – Bale has always been on the fringes of Academy consideration with the films “The Machinist” and “American Psycho,” but he was always lacking the mainstream appeal, which finaly came in 2005 when he donned the cowl of Batman. In “The Fighter” Bale not only portrays a real person, but his character is a hot-headed black sheep who runs afoul of the law; all character traits that Oscar voters tend to look for in a nominee.
-Geoffrey Rush (“The King’s Speech”) – Rush is a three-time nominee, who won in 1997 for his role in “Shine,” where he portrayed real life piano prodigy David Helfgott. This year he’s nominated for his role as real life speech therapist Lionel Logue in “The King Speech” opposite Colin Firth (a favorite himself). The movie is not only the front-runner to win Best Picture, but Rush is always a perennial Academy favorite.
-Michael Douglas (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) – A winner for the original “Wall Street,” many expect Douglas to once again get the nomination. With his battle with cancer front page news, Douglas may also be a sentimental favorite as well.
-Jeremy Renner (The Town) – His breakthrough role in 2008’s “The Hurt Locker” has made Renner a favorite to repeat this year for his work in Ben Affleck’s critically acclaimed drama “The Town.”
The Dark Horses:
-Andrew Garfield & Justin Timberlake (“The Social Network”) – Both Garfield and Timberlake has been slowly gathering award buzz, but to this point only Garfield has been singled out for a nomination.
-Jack Hawks (“Winter’s Bone”) – Winter’s what? Yep, like most people you’ve probably haven’t heard of this 2010 drama from Lionsgate which focuses on a teenage mother’s search through the Ozarks for her deadbeat bail-jumping father. Hawks gives a chilling performance as the teen’s uncle who unwilling aides her in her search.
-Mark Ruffalo (“The Kids Are Alright”) – Just like Bale, Ruffalo has remained on the Academy fringes, but has yet to find his breakthrough award role. Here he plays the sperm donor father of two children being raised by a lesbian couple, who finds his way back into their lives years later. Ruffalo, the film and his previously nominated co-stars Julianne Moore & Annette Bening are all being given strong consideration.
-Matt Damon (“True Grit”) – While Matt Damon is no stranger to Oscar nominations, his role in “True Grit,” just hasn’t gathered any traction in the early races.
-Sam Rockwell (“Conviction”) – Rockwell is an extremely talented actor, but he probably is the biggest longshot of the group, simply because “Conviction” bombed at the box office, which is generally a nomination deal breaker. Although Academy darling Hilary Swank did pull off a Screen Actor Guild nomination, so anything can happen.