I’m keeping track over on the Contender Tracker (work in progress) but I thought you might like to chew around supporting actor and actress for a spell.

Most of the films with the heat in these categories haven’t yet opened. How can that be, you might ask, if no one’s ever seen them. Well, you know how the internet works. Act now, explain later. But there are some that seem more likely that others.

Starting with Actor:

Most Likely so far:

Dwight Henry, Beasts of the Southern Wild


Nate Parker, Arbitrage
Guy Pierce, Lawless
Bill Nighy, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Most Likely Sight Unseen:

Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
John Goodman, Flight
Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Ian McKellen, The Hobbit
David Strathairn, Lincoln
Bryan Cranston, Argo
Russell Crowe, Les Miz
Ralph Fiennes, Great Expectations
Scoot McNairy, Killing Them Softly
Shia LaBoeuf,  Lawless
Sacha Baron Cohen, Les Miz


Most likely so far:

Anne Hathaway, The Dark Knight Rises
Jessica Chastain, Lawless
Susan Sarandon, Arbitrage

Best Bets Sight Unseen:

Amy Adams, The Master
Anne Hathaway, Les Miz
Olivia Williams, Hyde Park on Hudson
Sally Field Lincoln
Kerry Washington, Django Unchained
Jessica Chastain or Jennifer Ehle, Zero Dark Thirty
Jessica Lange, Therese
Judi Dench or Maggie Smith, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook
Helen Bonham Carter, Great Expectations
Kristen Stewart, On the Road

Research help from AwardsCircuit’s page

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  • Tye-Grr

    No Benicio Del Toro or John Travolta in Supporting Actor for ‘Savages’? Or Salma Hayek in Supporting Actress? I think they’re definitely worthy of inclusion.

  • Joseph

    Matthew McConaughey!

  • phantom

    I wouldn’t count out

    Reese Witherspoon (Mud)
    Kirsten Dunst (On the Road)
    Annette Bening (Imogene)
    Holly Hunter (Won’t Back Down)
    Olivia Wilde (Butter)
    Yara Shahidi (Butter)
    Alicia Vikander (Anna Karenina)
    Kelly Macdonald (Anna Karenina)
    Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
    Julia Stiles (Silver Linings Playbook)
    Olivia Colman (Hyde Park on Hudson)
    Amanda Seyfried (Les Miserables)
    Samantha Barks (Les Miserables)
    Helena Bonham Carter (Les Miserables)
    Nicole Kidman (The Paperboy)

    William H. Macy (The Surrogate)
    Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike)
    Michael Fassbender (Prometheus)
    Steve Carrell (Hope Springs)
    Don Cheadle (Flight)
    Jude Law / Domhnall Gleeson / Matthew Macfadyen (Anna Karenina)
    Robert de Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)
    Samuel West (Hyde Park on Hudson)
    Kyle Chandler / Mark Strong / Edgar Ramirez (Zero Dark Thirty)
    Tom Hardy / Michael Caine(The Dark Knight Rises)

    Also, considering Hathaway’s people are probably painfully aware of the oh-so-unfortunate case of the split votes, I wouldn’t be surprised at all, if her Catwoman got a lead campaign and Fantine the expected supporting. They probably know that if it comes down to these two performances, the Academy will go with the latter even if the film is a disaster, so they probably won’t risk split votes by entering BOTH turns in the same category. Clearly her ‘Selina’ doesn’t have a shot at the lead top5, but this way at least it wouldn’t risk cancelling out ‘Fantine’ in supporting. Ugh, this sounds complicated.

  • Jon

    The buzz for William H. Macy in THE SESSIONS is very, very strong. I also agree with the poster about McConaughey in MAGIC MIKE.

  • Kevin Klawitter

    I always find the supporting categories to be the most interesting, because there’s so much variety to be had.

    I’d like to think there’s still a chance for Tom Cruise to get some recognition for “Rock of Ages”.

  • himynameiscole

    mcconaughey possible for magic mike but not for killer joe? goddamn nc-17 rating.

  • I had no idea “On the Road” hadn’t opened there yet.

  • I definitely think Matthew McConaughey will be in there for MAGIC MIKE. N question. A stupendous performance. And I wouldn’t count out Michael Fassbender for PROMETHEUS, even though it’s ultimately a long shot.

  • jared

    Michael Fassbender for Prometheus.

  • Yibbet

    I love ya Sasha, but I don’t understand why you keep ignoring Matthew McConaughey’s performance in MAGIC MIKE. Just because you choose not to see it doesn’t mean it might not happen. Also, I saw a screening of LAWLESS last night and I don’t see anyone, let alone Guy Pearce, getting nomintated.

  • julian the emperor

    Yeah, Macy for The Sessions is a strong contender, I think. Based on the trailer he seems like the heart as well as the comic relief of a very charming, yet serious, movie. I think Macy, Hunt and Hawkes are all going the Oscar route this year…

    Reviews for Lawless haven’t been strong so far, so I don’t think Pearce will enter the conversation at all. The same goes for the ladies in On the Road, who got mixed reviews at best in Cannes, as far as I can tell.

  • Max

    Michael Caine, The Dark Knight Rises. Should at least be in the “Possible” category. I can just see all those FYC ads with his tear-stricken face in a big close-up…oh yeah.

  • the ghost of easter

    Isn’t Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master the clear frontrunner in that category on the moment?

  • Julian Walker

    I can’t really see anyone from Lawless making it in. But given Matthew’s track record this year I could see him pulling a nomination for MAGIC MIKE or KILLER JOE, with the latter having lesser chances due to its NC-17 rating. I am also kinda glad that Sasha include Scoot McNairy from Killing Them Softly. I kinda want Ben Mendelsohn to get in there too, but maybe he’ll get it with The Place Beyond The Pines. I can’t see any of the actors from Batman getting a nomination. The category is too crowded for them. Maybe Holly Hunter for The Sessions?

  • TOM

    Dwight Henry…his performance hasn’t remained on my memory longer than his daughter’s. Seems clear that the frontrunners in his category are being ignored so that he can make the top 5.

  • keifer

    Three other possibilities I would like to see included:

    Penelope Wilton – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
    Charlize Theron – Snow White and the Huntsman (a really terrific performance)
    Tom Wilkinson – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

    . . . I would be very happy to see these three on the list (I know, I know . . . dream on Keifer)

    And I agree with the support for Michael Fassbender in Prometheus. Upon second viewing, his performance still haunts; “subtle” acting a la Gary Oldman.

  • Jay

    Don’t rule out Matthew McConaughy in Magic Mike. He’s had a strong run this year and more films coming. This could be his time.

  • ChrisFlick

    I think Matthew McConaughey is a nomination lock for Magic Mike with the right campaign. Plus the dad from Beasts of the Southern Wild. As for the ladies, and only going by what I’ve seen, I agree Salma Hayek comes to mind at this stage of the game. The Dames from Marigold Hotel can give those wonderful performsnces in their sleep so not sure that work really stands out. Actually Wilton and Celia Imrie would be valid picks, but that would require a sophisticated understanding of what that category is meant to celebrate but rarely does any longer due to A List category collusion.

  • Harry

    Samantha Barks for the win!

  • Loody

    McConaughey I think gets in for MAGIC MIKE but I wouldn’t be surprised to see William H. Macy take it for THE SESSIONS. Would be a nice way to reward a well respected character actor. Oh yeah and he is suppose to be terrific in the film.

  • Pat

    If only Paul Giamatti and Charlotte Sullivan could be contenders. (For Cosmopolis and Edwin Boyd: Citizen Gangster, respectively.) Great work by those two.
    I’d bump Maggie Smith up a little higher for Marigold, unless Dench (a lead) goes supporting. And after seeing that Great Expectations trailer, I think Helena Bonham Carter could be one to watch. Great casting choice for Miss Havisham.
    -Slim pickings otherwise for the year so far, I think…

  • Evan

    Shia LaBeouf for Lawless: if he’s not the lead in that film, who is?! It’s told completely from his point of view and he has tons of scenes to himself, as oppose to Hardy who’s only there when the whole gang (no pun intended) is.

  • tonyr

    Hoping Dicaprio finally gets his Oscar this year.

  • rufussondheim

    I think for the men the clear favorite at this point is Russell Crowe for Les Miz. He’s obviously a brilliant actor (probably the best male actor since the 1990’s. Even though he hasn’t had a great role in awhile, this is a great role and it could be seen as a comeback. Plus, he can sing! (Let’s hope he can) and when he gets to “Stars” he could really knock it out of the park (although I think “Confrontation” is also a great possibility to show some chops. I can just see Jackman and Crowe being utterly spellbinding in that 2 minute number. I think the singing will really push him to the forefront. And, as I’m going to say over and over again, I think Les Miz is poised for a sweep. And it’s entirely possible that it could win the most Oscars ever. The only categories I don’t think it will get nominated for will be Best Actress, Best Visual Effects and Best Score (although, I did read there is a new song, so there might be some new scoring for it too). It might be overlooked in the Adapted Screenplay category, but after Brannagh’s Hamlet got in, well you never know.

    I wouldn’t count out Aaron Tveit for a nomination. He’s not gotten the Tony nominations to back this up, but the role he is playing, Enjolras, did get Michael Maguire and Tony win. It’s not the most major minor part, but he’s featured at some key moments, and he gets to sing “Do You Hear the People Sing?” which is probably the most hummable song of the show. I wouldn’t count him out at this point.

    For the women, well, it’s Anne Hathaway. I’m not even going to consider someone else at this point.

  • I think I’m going to not bother trying to see the future and I’m just going to go with what I’ve seen. Therefore, my potential guys and gals are:

    Michael Caine (The Dark Knight Rises)
    Joseph Gordon Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises)
    Tom Cruise (Rock of Ages)
    Benicio Del Toro (Savages)
    John Travolta (Savages)
    Demain Bechir (Savages)
    Salma Hayek (Savages)
    Frank Grillo (The Grey)
    Roberto Benigni (To Rome with Love)
    Penelope Cruz (To Rome with Love)
    Ellen Page (To Rome with Love)
    Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike)
    Charlize Theron (Snow White and the Huntsman)
    Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games)
    Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games)
    Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games)
    Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers)
    Bruce Willis (Moonrise Kingdom)
    Edward Norton (Moonrise Kingdom)
    Julia Roberts (Mirror, Mirror)*
    Michael Fassbender (Prometheus)
    Charlize Theron (Prometheus)

    The ones I’d push for I’ve bolded. I agree that they should push Catwoman as lead. And I do realize I already have 6 supporting actors. lol I always have about a dozen in that category. XD

    *I can’t believe I said it either.

  • Wait. It’s seven. I can’t count either. lolololol

  • Casey

    I desperately want Michael fassbinder for Prometheus

  • Eoin Daly

    Could Jessica Chastain be a double nominee this year. I think that she at least will get one nomination (Probably Lead for Zero Dark Thirty) supporting for Lawless will be hard but I’ve heard out of the actor’s in that film she is the best.

  • micah

    you dont think jeremy renner for “low life” or whatever its gonna be called will be considered?

  • Winston

    Michelle Pfeiffer in People like Us

  • tony r

    Supporting Actress:
    Amy Adams – The Master
    Annette Bening – Imogene
    Anne Hathaway – Les Miserables
    Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
    Kerry Washington – Django Unchained

    Alternate: Sally Field – Lincoln

    Supporting Actor:
    Leonardo Dicaprio – Django Unchained
    Woody Harrelson – Seven Psychopaths
    Phillip Seymour Hoffman – The Master
    Matthew McConaughey – Magic Mike
    David Strathairn – Lincoln

    Alternate: Russell Crowe – Les Miserables

  • John

    Purely of what I’ve seen so far… (yeah, good luck. But I liked them)

    Frank Grillo had the most interesting character arc in THE GREY with a genuinely beaitful final scene. I had no idea that this was the same guy who played the trainer so wonderfully in WARRIOR last year.

    Susan Sarandon and Rae Dawn Chong had a tender, heartfelt subplot in JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME.

    Scarlett Johansen proved she could more than hold her own against the boys in THE AVENGERS

    Elizabeth Banks had never shown chameleon-like tendencies until THE HUNGER GAMES.

    Eva Green was one ubervampy villainess in DARK SHADOWS.

  • Supporting Actor

    1. Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master
    2. Russell Crowe for Les Miserables
    3. Keith David for Cloud Atlas (though I might switch him out for Hugo Weaving in the same film)
    4. Jude Law for Anna Karenina
    5. Tom Courtenay for Quartet

    6. Dwight Henry for Beasts of the Southern Wild
    7. John Goodman for Argo – lots of films out this year, respected actor who’s never been nominated, and this film seems more Oscar-bound than his others this year

    Supporting Actress – I’m the idiot predicting Amy Adams will go Lead The Master, so that’s why she’s not in my Supporting lineup. However, if she ends up going Supporting, I’m sure she’ll win there

    1. Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables
    2. Helena Bonham Carter for Les Miserables
    3. Samantha Barks for Les Miserables
    4. Pauline Collins for Quartet
    5. Helen Hunt for The Sessions

    6. Olivia Williams for Hyde Park on Hudson
    7. Dame Maggie Smith for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

  • Tim

    If the movie is at all like the stage version, Samantha Barks has the best female role in Les Miz. She’s probably not a contender, though, since she’s not already famous.

  • micab

    There is just one thing, I can’t see Hataway having a a nomination for the dark knight if les misérables is good. I just don’t see the academy praising the dark knight rises outside the tech awards. Maybe I’m wrong, just wait until les miz is released, we’ll see !

  • m

    Nicole Kidman “Paperboy” (lead?)
    Maggie Smith “Marigold Hotel”

  • rufussondheim

    A lot of unfamous people have gotten Oscar Noms, especially in the supporting categories. Many have even gone on to win, even when they were considered underdogs.

    Hilary Swank for Boys Don’t Cry is the easiest to remember (at least for me.) But I am sure I could get a lengthy list if I truly cared about the point I am currently making.

  • Beth Stevens

    Irrfan Khan might be a possibility for Life of Pi.

  • steve50

    I’d really like to see Jackie Weaver come thru with Silver Linings Playbook. She was the worthiest the year she was nominated.

  • Simon Warrasch

    In the category Supporting Actor there will be a race between Phillip Seymour Hoffman who could win his second Academy Award for his stunning work in “The Master” and Leonardo DiCaprio who could win his overdue first Academy Award for his role in Tarantinos “Django Unchained”.

    In the Supporting Actress i think the race is over! I have this feeling that Anne Hathaway will win for her work in Tom Hooper’s “Les Miserables”! Anne Hathaway has also a boxoffice hit (“The Dark Knight Rises”) on her side. And in that movie she was by far the best! So with two great roles in two great movies in one year she will be the clear front runner. And by the way, Anne should have won the Oscar in 2009 for her stunning work in “Rachel getting Married”!. Her biggest contender will be Amy Adams who could also win for her role in “The Master” but right now i see Anne Hathaway walking up to the stage!

  • Johnn long

    Nate Parker in Arbitrage is a truly subtle and masterful performance. I am hoping he gets the performance he deserves

  • rufussondheim

    Steve50, Jackie Weaver was Amzing in Animal Kingdom, which was my favorite film from that year. I love movies where actual people do actual things rather than react to the CGI effects that are going on around them. And Animal Kingdom had that in spades, with more than a few characters all having motivations that conflicted with each other it was a smorgasboard of people doing actual things. There’s nothing more exciting than a real, authentic, unpredictable story. And I’m not talking about a hidden artificial twist (oh Usual Suspects, how you ruined movies for 17 years now!) I’m talking about actual unpredictability. Animal Kingdom is a genius of a film.

  • Question Mark

    If Hoffman really the supporting role in The Master? This could be one of those tricky situations where both he and Phoenix are co-leads, leading to PSH being nominated for a “not-really-supporting” performance.

    I’d say Hoffman and DiCaprio are the big favourites at this point in the year, but why no mention for Bill Murray (Hyde Park On The Hudson)?

    Supporting actress already seems like a two-horse race between Hathaway and Adams. Forget positioning Catwoman as a ‘lead’ role, that won’t fly.

  • Dangerfield

    Just to throw a little fun into the mix, what do we think about Whitney Houston getting a little love for her final film performance in Sparkle? Obviously, it depends if there is any love for the film, but I could at least see the Golden Globes wanting to nominate her just as a way to celebrate her.

    But for serious, here are my picks:

    Best Supporting Actress
    *Amy Adams, THE MASTER
    Annette Benning, IMOGENE
    Helena Bonham Carter, GREAT EXPECTATIONS
    **Anne Hathaway, LES MISERABLES
    Olivia Williams, HYDE PARK ON HUDSON

    Best Supporting Actor
    Russell Crowe, LES MISERABLES
    **Leonardo DiCaprio, DJANGO UNCHAINED
    Michael Fassbender, PROMETHEUS
    Matthew McConaughey, MAGIC MIKE

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