Oscars: Best Supporting Actor Anyone’s Game


The weird way the awards lined up this year, like someone moving the cat bowl, has set an unpredictability in motion most of us have never experienced.  “I just want unpredictability” people always say. Well, be careful what you wish for because when predictability goes out the window so does your ability to accurately predict the race.

Philip Seymour Hoffman won the Critics Choice award for Best Lead Supporting Actor, Christoph Waltz won the Best Lead Supporting Actor for the Golden Globes and Tommy Lee Jones won the Best Supporting Supporting Actor from the Screen Actors Guild.  Usually, only one wins all three and then wins the Oscar. That makes it a totally wide open race.  Coming on strong, and maybe the only contender who is doing so, is Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook. It had been expected, Silver Linings, with its four acting nominations would have handily won the SAG ensemble, taking De Niro with it.  But Tommy Lee Jones was the surprise winner there.

Funnily enough, Supporting Actor, like Adapted Screenplay, pits three movies against each other once again: Lincoln, Argo and Silver Linings Playbook.  You might think that what wins in this category could be an early sign of what will win Best Picture. But it also might be that what wins here wins precisely because it isn’t going to win Best Picture.  One thing’s for sure, for the first time in a very long time the name that gets read at the Oscars will feel like a surprise.

The Globes and the SAGs tend to divide evenly as to which is the better precursor, with a slight edge given to SAG.  That would place the contenders sort of like this:

1. Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln (won 18 years ago for The Fugitive)
2. Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained (won 3 years ago for Inglorious Basterds)
3. Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master (won 6 years ago for Capote)
Even steven: Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook (won lead 31 years ago for Raging Bull and supporting 37 years ago for Godfather II)
Alan Arkin, Argo  (won 5 years ago for Little Miss Sunshine)

All five of these, it must be said, are equally brilliant. There is really no other way to say it. In a year with so many wonderful supporting turns these are a good representation — but let’s not forget Dwight Henry in Beasts of the Southern Wild, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson in Django Unchained, James Spader in Lincoln, Eddie Redmayne in Les Miserables, John Goodman in Argo and in Flight, and Jason Clarke in Zero Dark Thirty.

It’s difficult to measure the lead performances — Hoffman and Waltz — against the supporting ones but that’s the situation we’re in.  Waltz, in particular, feels ludicrous in this category.  And let it be said you have Weinstein vs. Weinstein. vs. Weinstein. Three supporting actors from Weinstein.  It’s not a surprise that Hoffman is nowhere to be seen, Waltz very rarely seen and Robert De Niro EVERYWHERE.  Check out Hollywood-Elsewhere’s coverage of De Niro EVERYWHERE.

Doing less publicity, or no publicity, is Alan Arkin (“You can go fuck yourself … with all due respect”) and Jones, who showed up at the Globes, did his part, and then got turned into a grumpy cat meme, and then was a no-show at the SAGs.  How it all ends up, I don’t know.  Are they really not going to give it to De Niro when he’s doing the Jeff Bridges-Meryl Streep hardcore campaigning?

I still say it’s anyone’s game but let’s talk about the performances.

1. Tommy Lee Jones plays Thaddeus Stevens, an abolitionist who stands at the opposing end from President Lincoln, doesn’t agree with him in any way but is forced to work with him in order to help pass the 13th Amendment, which felt like insurmountable task. Jones has many great scenes (“It’s late, I’m old.”) but probably his best scene is when he’s forced to say: “I don’t hold with equality in all things only with equality before the law and nothing more.” He is then confronted with “That’s not so! You believe that Negroes are entirely equal to white men. You’ve said it a thousand times.” And Stevens must repeat, “I don’t hold with equality in all things only with equality before the law and nothing more.”  Like many of Jones’ best scenes in Lincoln what happens happens internally; we see how hard it is for him to have this chance to say what he really believes to be true but he has a higher goal in mind. He knows if he comes off as a raving abolitionist the cause is finished. But he does get this in:

“How can I hold that all men are created equal, when here before me  stands stinking the moral carcass of the gentleman from Ohio, proof that some men are inferior, endowed by their Maker with dim wits impermeable to reason with cold pallid slime in their veins instead of hot red blood! You are more reptile than man, George, so low and flat that the foot of man is incapable of crushing you!”

And that is probably why he’s such a powerful supporting actor contender: he comes to us like a warm embrace, the only one who is allowed the opportunity to lay into one of the most staunch racists in Congress.  Even if Lincoln hovered somewhere in between Thaddeus Stevens did not.  Jones also quietly gave probably one of the best performances of his career this year in Hope Springs opposite Meryl Streep. Tender, revealing, moving — it was all but ignored.  But that performance helps this performance because the two are so different.  Jones’ Stevens is a hard-shelled politician who wants to change the world.  His husband in Hope Springs had to be unearthed from years of hiding his feelings. It was quite a year for Mr. Jones all around.  I think he is the frontrunner to win this, whether Lincoln wins any other Oscars or not.

2. Robert De Niro — De Niro gets bumped not because he’s won anything but because he’s getting the Meryl Streep treatment from last year and when the Weinstein Co goes after Oscar this hard it rarely fails.  They’re now going for two of the three acting Oscars they’re nominated for — Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro, in addition to continuing to push hard for Silver Linings to win Best Picture.  De Niro plays Bradley Cooper’s OCD dad who believes in the juju of football, gambles and tries to help his son control his bi-polar mood disorder.  He is someone who has lived with it and really just wants his son to have a happy life.  De Niro is a great actor but usually he’s rewarded for playing more serious roles, like Jake LaMotta (“A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse, I haven’t had a winner in six months.”) and the young Vito Corleone in The Godfather II.  He’s never really been rewarded for his comedic work, and for me, at the top of the list was his Rupert Pupkin in King of Comedy (“What about when I gave you my SPOT!”) One of the reasons I don’t think he’s won yet for Silver Linings is because people confuse this part with his work in Meet the Parents.  But the old Dave Karger rule could apply here, which is, “if they want to give the movie something,” De Niro could be that something.   Usually there is only room for one major standout and in Silver Linings it’s Jennifer Lawrence. That’s another reason.  Still, hardcore campaigning can close the gap.

3. Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained — One of the most delightful things about Django, though pause to reflect how the film’s best performance, Jamie Foxx, was roundly ignored.  To me, Foxx was the standout.  Waltz was great but doing what he always does — charm the pants off of us with funny, elaborate stories.  “And this is my horse Fritz!” The collaboration between Quentin Tarantino and Christoph Waltz is so good it’s on the level of Scorsese and De Niro even.  Waltz just knows how to say those lines.  But the Weinstein Co. ain’t going to campaign against themselves with Waltz so if he wins it won’t be because of that.  Waltz is funny throughout Django Unchained and offers the film much of its heart as he seems to speak about things no one else does — the notion of owning another human being and then being the person who frees him.  Waltz’ best scene is the one where he and Django are hidden in a saloon and waiting for the town’s sheriff.  The whole scene is just so brilliantly written.  What he does for a living — bounty hunter — juxtaposes with his gentle nature and makes for a very complex character, albeit a lead.

4. Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master — It’s a shame that The Master was sort of overlooked by the awards community.  In fact, it was hated by many. It’s not really a plug and play movie and requires an active viewer, like many of the year’s best films. But Hoffman’s bizarre L. Ron Hubbard incarnation is one of his best ever.   His job to put one over on his followers, to make them think he knows what he’s talking about. Hoffman’s job is to let us know that he doesn’t.  But again, it’s a Weinstein Co. campaign and they’re not going to push hard for it with De Niro out front like that.  There are so many wonderful films that were swallowed this year because they didn’t fit into this year’s themes in the films that struck a chord with voters.  The Master was one of those.  Amour seemed to overshadow it in terms of critics’ love and Django Unchained took the There Will Be Blood slot this year and The Master dangles in the periphery, soon to be discovered long after the dust settles where it will remain, admired for years to come.  “Admired not loved,” if there ever was a phrase during awards season I hated above all others, that would be it.

5. Alan Arkin in Argo — It’s hard not love to Alan Arkin even when he’s just playing Alan Arkin as he always does.  He slips right into Argo as neatly as a glove and of course, along with John Goodman, has all of the film’s best lines.  “I took a leak next to him at the Golden Globes.” It is a charming, likable performance but not a particularly deep one. He’s probably the one contender that you might think, well if he wins, that signals Argo is about to win Best Picture.  His best scene, of course, is when he’s talking to the agent to try to get the rights to the screenplay for Argo, and gets to say my favorite line, “If I’m going to produce a fake movie it’s going to be a fake hit.”

But it really does feel like a wide open race. For the first time ever since I’ve been covering the awards, save for the days when the Oscars were held in March, like back before 2003, there is more time to ruminate on the frontrunners as ballots don’t even go out until the 8th, three days from now.  That seems like a long time for voters to ruminate — which means campaigning is going to go into overdrive.

With supporting actor, like many of the other categories, it’s a cliffhanger, my friends. I don’t expect to do very well at all with my predictions but for now I’m sticking with Mr. Jones.


De Niro Steps out – a Man About Town

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  1. February 5, 2013

    I can’t blame you for sticking with the SAG winner Tommy Lee Jones here, though it’s clear enough that both Christophe Waltz, Robert DeNiro and Phillip Seymour Hoffmann are firmly in the race. Arkin as you rightly note was very good in ARGO, but I am thinking he is the longshot despite the film’s sustained winning streak in the top category.

    I would also say Jones is the probable winner, based on the evidence you have provided in this excellent post. I see that DeNiro is really pushing hard. But I wonder what Harvey does here with both De Niro and Waltz under his wing. Ha!

    There are three actors, all young, who in my view were sadly left off the nomination shortlist: Tom Holland, Eddie Redmayne and Ezra Miller.

  2. Casey
    February 5, 2013

    This should be Phillips… No question

  3. F.
    February 5, 2013

    Alan Arking does absolutely NOTHING in Argo. Such an undeserving nomination.

    Philip Seymour Hoffman is by far, really far, the best in the category, but unfortunately I don’t think he’s gonna win.

  4. Thomas
    February 5, 2013

    In a very different Oscar season we are witnessing I am going to go with De Niro all the way. His character has depth, emotion and chemistry with his other cast members. Something that Tommy Lee Jones did not show with Lincoln and personally think his is merely along for the ride with the push of the movie. Especially since no actor has ever won an Oscar from a movie directed by Steven Speilberg makes the odds staked against Mr. Jones. The only other actor nominated in this category that could take this award is Phillip Seymour Hoffman who just is amazing every time.

  5. February 5, 2013

    It’s de Niro vs. jones.

  6. February 5, 2013

    But Thomas, you say the odds are stacked against Jones because he acted in a Spielberg film. How then would you access the situation with Daniel-Day Lewis, who is also in a Spielberg film, and is almost a sure thing to win?

    If Day-Lewis will be breaking the ice, why can’t two do it at once?

  7. Akumax
    February 5, 2013

    “Alan Arking does absolutely NOTHING in Argo. Such an undeserving nomination.”

    So NOT true. Arkin deliver and support most of the comedy in Argo, one of the things that make Argo so good it’s the balance between suspense and docu-reconstruction, between tense drama and comedy. Arkin is fulcrum of the comedy.

  8. The Dude
    February 5, 2013

    If De Niro didn’t win the SAG, which he never won, I don’t think he can win a 3rd Oscar. And I don’t think people will forget that easily nearly two decades of mediocre performances.

    Arkin is hilarious, but only has a chance if they really, really love Argo.

    Waltz has a chance because his character probably has more screen time than all the others combined. But I think he’s won too recently, and they don’t seem all that in love for Django.

    So, I’m thinking it’s between TLJ and PSH. If they are not giving Lincoln Best Picture and Director (and possibly not screenplay too), then I think TLJ will win. If they are, then PSH will take it.

  9. steve50
    February 5, 2013

    The best performance came from Hoffmann, but it’s defintely a lead and he’s obviously not interested (neither is TWC). TWC appears to have abandoned Waltz, as well, and he’ll probably be taking public transit to the ceremony. Arkin is just along for the ride on the Argo train.

    Jones should have this in the bag, but DeNiro (and the above-mentioned TWC) are campaigning their asses off, not unlike they what they did for Michael Caine in The Cider House Rules. Very unlike the younger DeNiro, like the whole star on the Walk of Fame thing (what have they done to ya, Bobby?), but it might work.

    It could go either way. Jones? DeNiro? Jones? DeNiro? *face hits desk* zzzzzz

  10. February 5, 2013

    If De Niro didn’t win the SAG, which he never won, I don’t think he can win a 3rd Oscar. And I don’t think people will forget that easily nearly two decades of mediocre performances.

    People love a comeback. He cried on Katie Couric’s show. He might cry at the podium. If they’re choosing between five former winners, I think they might pick their favourite of their favourites: Robert De Niro!

    I don’t think Philip Seymour Hoffman has much of a chance. Not a single other branch nominated The Master. He won the BFCA, but they’re critics(-ish), and the critics broadly liked The Master. If the ‘lead performance in supporting category’ is gonna benefit anybody, I think it’ll be Christoph Waltz.

    Here’s a point: In 18 years of SAG, only ONE Oscar winner was not nominated at SAG – Marcia Gay Harden. That’s 1/72 acting winners. Should Christoph Waltz win, he’d become the second in 76. Should Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Jacki Weaver, Quvenzhane Wallis or Emmanuelle Riva (certainly possible) also win, it’d be the first time in 19 years that there was more than one non-SAG-nominated winner, and only the second time that there was any at all.

  11. KT
    February 5, 2013

    The BAFTAs will be key, especially in making it clear where support is. Waltz could take it…maybe Hoffman. Jones may not be as likely with the British contingent–if he wins, he probably has the Oscar. But De Niro isn’t nominated there, which makes it still harder to predict, unlike the Tilda Swinton and Marion Cotillard and Meryl Streep wins. Gah this is confusing. I’m still picking Jones for now. I think De Niro’s subpar work really hurts him–and Hope Springs also helps Jones, good noting that.

    ALSO, I’m wondering about Daniel Day-Lewis’ chances at BAFTA. Anyone have an opinion or idea? Is he a solid bet, or could Hugh Jackman beat him there??

  12. Henry Z.
    February 5, 2013

    I like how you are always going back to tradition and history, and you claim Tommy Lee Jones is the winner for Best Supporting Actor along with Daniel Day-Lewis for Best Actor. Yet – films do not always pick up Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor.

    Mystic River became only the 4th film in Oscar history to have won both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. The other three were Going My Way, Best Years of Our Lives and Ben-Hur. With that said, it is the only one of the four not to win Best Picture. Can Lincoln become the fifth, and second film to not win Best Picture?

    Consider it, please.

  13. PJ
    February 5, 2013

    I originally gave up on DeNiro after SAG but I don’t know something seems well off. I mean, even some pundits that didn’t even really like SLP are still predicting him. And there was this article on Gold Derby about 5 reasons why he will win and one of them was that, and I am paraphrasing, was that even the ‘haters’ would vote for him just in order to give SLP something. So if even the haters have a reason to vote for him and add the fans and people just voting for his name then he got a chance.

    And then add that along with some pundits who continue to predict Spielberg but are very lukewarm on TLJ and race does not seem over yet. It depends on how BAFTA turns out. I think if Waltz wins, then DeNiro has a fighting chance. Or if TLJ wins then it will be over.

    I think only one without a strong shot is Hoffman since his film is divisive. But Arkin winning scares me like no other!

  14. Question Mark
    February 5, 2013

    Fascinating category, not to mention the fact that they’re ALL former winners, which I think is the first time this has happened in Oscar history. It kind of reminds me of the supporting actress race in 2007 when all five nominees seemed to have and lose momentum during the nomination period and Tilda Swinton was left with the hot potato and award on Oscar night.

    It’s funny, in the months leading up to Django Unchained, everyone was looking to DiCaprio as the potential big Supporting favourite coming from that film. Then when the movie actually opened, here was Samuel L. Jackson stealing the movie with his controversial and amazing character. Django’s one acting nomination, however, went to Waltz, who was just fine, but I can’t be the only one who thought his performance didn’t compare to Jackson or DiCaprio.

    If Arkin wins, then Argo is a lock for Best Picture.

    It’s a testament to De Niro’s ability and legend that he’s still ROBERT DE NIRO even though he’s made almost nothing but lousy movies in the last 15 years. If he wins, it could be both an effect of him doing the circuit and also a bit of the “hey, Bobby’s actually properly acting again!” momentum.

  15. Question Mark
    February 5, 2013

    Also, from the “history” perspective…

    * Will voters give Waltz two Oscars in four years for somewhat similar performances? And, in this case, an inferior performance — not that Waltz was bad as King Schultz or anything, but Hans Landa was one of the great characters and most deserving Oscar wins in recent years.

    * Will voters induct De Niro into the ‘three Oscar club’ in the same year that Day-Lewis (and possibly even Sally Field) could also get their third? How crazy would it be if the Three Oscar Club had four members for so long and then suddenly added four new members within just two years?

    * I wonder if any of these guys would have momentum if they weren’t former winners. As in, would the ‘story’ of any of these great actors going for their first Oscar be enough to push them to victory? If Jones had lost to Fiennes, or if Arkin had lost to Eddie Murphy or if Hoffman had lost to Ledger or Straitharn, for example, I wonder if they’d be favourites now since voters would feel that they were overdue for Oscars.

  16. James
    February 5, 2013

    Going with De Niro. I don’t know. Not a fan of SLP or the character De Niro played, but his performance in 2nd viewing got a bit better.

    Personally my choice would be Hoffman with Waltz right behind. I don’t see them winning. Arkin is great, but its not a substantial enough role.

    Will win: De Niro
    Want to win: Hoffman
    Who could still take it: Jones(he’s be a fine winner too)

  17. rufussondheim
    February 5, 2013

    Yeah, even though I didn’t like the Master too much, the only thing that made it watchable was Philip Seymour Hoffman. Without his performance, The Master would have been unbearable. But he was phenomenal and whenever he was on screen I was captivated. Sad he couldn’t be on in every scene.

    So I’m hoping that Academy members will feel the same way. Waltz was good, but I don’t think he’ll win again so soon for another Tarantino film. DeNiro was decent but nothing special in SLP, but my opinion of that film is so low it’s hard for me to judge his peformance fairly. Tommy Lee Jones gave a fine performance, but I think the words he was given made up at least half of that performance. I think any quality actor could have gotten as good a performance. Arkin was fine, unlike many, I don’t mind the nomination. But to win, compared to Hoffman, I don’t think so.

    I really want it to go to PSH. He deserves it. And he’s an actor that’s shown enough range over the years to be worthy of having two Oscars. Not sure Arkin, Jones nor Waltz has the range of characters that Hoffman has created.

  18. February 5, 2013

    but let’s not forget Dwight Henry in Beasts of the Southern Wild, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson in Django Unchained, James Spader in Lincoln, Eddie Redmayne in Les Miserables,

    How much more fun would it be if that was that category? Pfft.

    Anyhoo, I’ve still only seen half of THE MASTER, but I’d still give it to Phillip Seymour Hoffman. In that half I was more impressed with him than Joaquin. That’s not to say Joaquin wasn’t great. It was just that PSH seemed to get that creepy powerful thing of the cult leader down. I’ve always been interested in that stuff, like Jim Jones, Charles Manson, those guys. He totes tapped into that dark charisma that they have.

    TWC appears to have abandoned Waltz, as well, and he’ll probably be taking public transit to the ceremony.

    They shouldn’t have blown up that tooth wagon. :D

  19. Cyrus
    February 5, 2013

    This year reminds me a lot of the 1998 films and actresses vying for best supporting actress. Recall…

    Lynn Redgrave won the Golden Globe for Gods and Monsters
    Joan Allen and Kathy Bates tied for the Critics Choice for Pleasantville and Primary Colors
    Kathy Bates won the SAG
    and Dame Judi Dench rode the Shakespeare in Love win for the Oscar

    Alan Arkin really truly does NOTHING in Argo and I rather had seen someone else nominated, like Dwight Henry for Beasts or Bruce Willis for Moonrise or John Goodman for Flight or Ezra Miller for Perks

    I do not see Christoph Waltz winning for another Tarantino character.

    Philip Seymour Hoffman though the best of the bunch unfortunately is in a film that the Oscar voters did not like enough to give it deserving nods in art direction, score, cinematography, writing and directing, Poor PTA.

    It is pretty much between Tommy Lee Jones vs Robert De Niro both in films that the Academy voters loved and both well respected actors. I think though that De Niro has the edge. He has the Killer Weinstein behind the film, Silver Linings is getting more press than Lincoln lately and seeing De Niro cry in a Katie Couric interview is just what the voters love ;)

    Plus, I do not think that Jennifer Lawrence will be the acting win for SLP, it will be De Niro.

  20. Someone
    February 5, 2013

    How was Lee Jones ‘suprising winner’ at SAG? I’ve predicted him winning more than two months ago. DeNiro wasn’t nominated for Globe, isn’t nominated for BAFTA, fights for THIRD Oscar and this isn’t easy for anybody (ask Streep if you don’t believe, and one Day-Lewis with the third Oscar is probably enough for them for this year) so it was obvious that he won’t win. Hoffman is great but played in the movie that SAG didn’t like (Phoenix and Adams weren’t nominated). Bardem wasn’t nominated for Academy Award. So this left only Lee Jones and Arkin. But if they didn’t give Arkin award for LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE (in which he was far better than in ARGO)…
    So Lee Jones was the only possibility. And he will get the Academy Award unless Arkin pulls his second Oscar in a way he did few years ago with his first one.

    Though obviously the only nominees that really DESERVE to win are Hoffman and Waltz. But Waltz wasn’t nominated for SAG and won just 3 years ago and Hoffman plays in a movie that only actors’ branch liked – so they have no chance at all. Unless BAFTA helps them this Sunday. Though I doubt it.

  21. Odee
    February 5, 2013

    I say DeNiro wins here and if he does, as I suspect he will, then watch out for Riva for Best Actress. Only one person is winning for Silver Linings and DeNiro is it. Of all of the others, he’s the only one who really makes sense. Yes, he has two but, like Streep, he’s due, more so than any of the others. And, it’s a DeNiro unlike his other Oscar winning turns and makes you forget Taxi Driver and shows a side of him, no one would have been ready for 31 years ago.

    I see this:

    Supporting Actor: DeNiro (should be Hoffman)
    Supporting Actress: Hathaway (should be Field)
    Actor: Day-Lewis (should be Phoenix)
    Actress: Riva(should be Riva)

  22. Someone
    February 5, 2013

    If anything was suprising so far in this category – than I would say that the most suprising was the fact that Lee Jones didn’t win BFCA and HFPA (and that BFCA and HFPA did it right, choosing far better roles).

    And I’m not so sure that Day-Lewis will get his 3rd Oscar. :) They didn’t give him one for GANGS OF NEW YORK and there is still place for someone winning in a way Adrien Brody won. :) I would be more than happy if Phoenix won (who simply deserves it more than Day-Lewis) but I suspect that only Jackman can be this year’s Adrien Brody.

  23. Thomas
    February 5, 2013

    Sam Juliano, while I do believe Daniel Day Lewis will win the Oscar for best actor we may be in for a surprise in this category as well. Something I have been saying periodically this award season is academy voters are very stingy with their choice of who they want to see win the award on Oscar night. For example, this happened to Daniel Day Lewis back in 2002 with his villianous performance in Gangs of New York that made him the frontrunner for the entire Oscar season, only to lose to dark horse Ardian Brody. This occurred as academy voters could not decide to give Day Lewis his second win or Nicholson his third win for best actor in the movie About Schmid. We can see a Hugh Jackman win on Oscar night as he did win at the Golden Globes. An award show that is 50% correct on who will win on Oscar night. On the other hand, with this crazy oscar season we are witnessing we could see another dark horse win as seen in 2002 with a win by Bradley Cooper or Joaquin Phoenix. If this were to occur then the Steven Spielberg curse will live on with no actor ever winning an academy award for their performance in one of his films.

  24. The Dude
    February 5, 2013

    I forgot De Niro wasn’t BAFTA nominated either, another point against him. Even Bradley Cooper managed a nomination there in a tougher category.

  25. JP
    February 5, 2013

    I dont buy this argument that the script was responsible for part of the performance. So… Christoph Waltz for Basterds and Helen Mirren for The Queen, two of the greatest wins in the history of their categories… Actors who worked with two of the best screenplays of the past decade… I really dont think their merits are diminushed by that.

  26. PaulinJapan
    February 5, 2013

    As others have posted, this has clearly come down to De Niro vs TLJ. It’s a toss-up at the moment, but momentum is with De Niro. I personally think it could be the only Oscar SLP wins.

  27. steve50
    February 5, 2013

    “the Steven Spielberg curse will live on”

    If Jones, Day Lewis and Sally ALL lose on Oscar night, that will be proof positive that such a thing exists. I always thought it was just bad luck when Fiennes, probably the best performance in any Spielberg film, lost.

    Field probably won’t win, unfortunately. Jones probably will, but it’s getting closer every day and we have two weeks of shameless campaigning to go. And if they call out Jackman’s name, or Cooper’s or almost anybody else’s on Oscar night, the skies will open and the oceans will catch fire. I just don’t see that happening.

  28. Jack Traven II
    February 5, 2013

    Since I’m on that train no. 12 (maybe to nowhere, but who really knows) I have to stick with Jones winning here (not meaning he wouldn’t deserve it; the entire cast was extraordinarily great).

    Apart from that I think that De Niro gave a very good performance as well. But good enough for winning his 3rd Oscar? Well, I don’t know about that.

  29. ChrisFlick
    February 5, 2013

    I like TLJ for this category, primarily because I don’t want Lincoln going down on the books as the Daniel Day Lewis show, and it has turned out to be so vulnerable in all other categories despite its excellence. TLJ was fine and it was a good part. He is in the right category, unlike Hoffman and Waltz who belong in lead; which might have made THAT category more interesting. As for DeNiro I can see it happening but oh there is SO much crap under the bridge in the last decade or so. If this leads him to better scripts that will be the victory, for him and the audience. Unlike most I support the Arkin nomination, glad he is in the mix, imagine the movie without him.

  30. rufussondheim
    February 5, 2013

    JP, when has a bad script resulted in an Oscar Winning Performance? Of course scripts are part of the performance, without a well-defined character and good dialogue what would an actor have to work with?

  31. drake
    February 5, 2013

    fascinating category this year. i’d go with PSH or Waltz. I wouldn’t be mad if tommy lee jones won either. he’s third for me. I’d be disappointed if de niro or arkin won- i wish dwight henry in “beasts” had one of those spots with the other maybe going to Leo or Samuel L.

  32. SeattleMoviegoer
    February 5, 2013

    i’m for Tommy Lee. he was wonderful. if anything, he deserves the vote for those bags under his eyes. they were practically a character in themselves.

  33. February 5, 2013

    some of you forget one particular detail: Christoph Waltz had no chance to get a SAG Nod! Why? Because SAG Memebrs didn’t get any Django Screeners. So the argument “Waltz can’t win without SAG Nod” doesn’t really count.

  34. JP
    February 5, 2013

    A bad script… Well Im definitely not a fan of monsters ball, dreamgirls…. But it depends… If Alexander is the parameter of bad script we dont have one of those. A beautifull mind and ray are not the best exemples of how to create a great biopic for me but are not bad scripts. And thats my point: a great script doesnt diminushes TLJ merits.

  35. Daveylow
    February 5, 2013

    I absolutely hated The Master and I’m not always a Hoffman fan but I have to say, this is one of Hoffman’s better performances. So I guess I would like to see him or Tommy Lee Jones get it. I quite frankly don’t care in the long run who wins. This is boring category, strangely enough. I wish Ewan McGregor, Jude Law and Ezra Miller had gotten nominations, it would be much more interesting to follow. If they are putting lead actors in this category, then Tom Holland should have been nominated here too.

  36. Zach
    February 5, 2013

    I haven’t seen The Master yet, but TLJ is superb in Lincoln and features in the film’s most rousing, moving scenes. I could live without him winning again and never would have voted for him for The Fugitive the first time, but on the other hand, he’s so richly deserving this year. And his post-Oscar career has been stellar.

    I loved Waltz in Django, with the only drawback being that, yes, it’s similar in style to Inglourious and, more importantly, it’s a wonderful character, but he doesn’t have much room to grow. On the other hand, for me, he WAS the movie. And if De Niro gets credit for crying (and playing a father…that isn’t a Focker?), then Waltz deserves accolades for playing a shrewd but warm hero as well as he played the villain. Jamie Foxx? Sorry, but he was a dud in Django. He couldn’t carry the film by himself, not that Tarantino’s script did him any favors. It’s like Quentin focused all his energy on Waltz’s lines and gave Leo and Sam Jackson something to work with, while Foxx and Washington are ciphers. That the Academy took to the film as much as it did, what with the controversy, is a remarkable achievement and probably owes a lot to the fact that Tarantino is finally “established.”

    If De Niro were winning, he would have already Ruby Deed at the SAGs. Then again, it’s the Academy that nominated Jacki Weaver. It’s the Academy that nominated David O. Russell. It’s the Academy that Harvey focuses his energy on. De Niro missed out on BAFTA and Globe nominations — and they saw the film and liked it enough to recognize Bradley and JLaw — so that’s never a good sign. Still, better to miss the Globe and BAFTA than SAG and arguably BFCA (Waltz). Backlash against Jones or Lincoln or a desire to give De Niro his third rather than any of the others their second could result in some Silver Linings on Oscar night.

    I’m OK with Arkin’s nomination, though there were more challenging portrayals in film that missed out for the various political factors one can always count on in an Oscar race. I think it’s highly unlikely Arkin wins (again for Argo), even if the voters are feeling anti-Lincoln or desperate to award Argo where they can.

    Usually one’s second or especially third Oscar must be earned, but where all 5 nominees are previous winners, and De Niro a double winner, I truly hope they focus on the best performance. And that to me, by traditional standards, is Jones, with Waltz a very close second. (Again, I only fault Tarantino’s script for giving Waltz so much and yet so little in the way of a traditional winning supporting performance. Waltz was certainly game.)

    On the other hand, De Niro was deserving for Taxi Driver and Awakenings (never saw Reversal of Fortune though), so it would be nice to see him win again in his lifetime…just not for SLP.

  37. Zach
    February 5, 2013

    What’s the deal with SAG, if they don’t get the screeners, they can’t see the movie? What did people ever do in the olden days? Well, the SAGs aren’t that old and Marcia Gay Harden not being nominated is another example of “if they had only gotten the screeners…”

    To be fair, all the hype for Django was surrounding Leo, so you couldn’t have easily written in Waltz’s name without having seen the film.

  38. Zach
    February 5, 2013

    @rufussondheim “when has a bad script resulted in an Oscar Winning Performance?”

    It’s happened at least once: Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady.

  39. steve50
    February 5, 2013

    Zach – I was just going to say the same thing.

  40. Reno
    February 5, 2013

    The greatest category fraud ever committed by the Academy was in 1962 when they nominated Terrence Stamp in the best supporting actor category for Billy Budd. Stamp played the protagonist title character who, unlike Julia 1977 or Georgia 1995, was the center of the story. He also had the lengthiest screening time by a very long mile ahead of top-billed villain Robert Ryan.

  41. Mac
    February 5, 2013

    I’m hoping Jones gets the award.

    This category is lame. However, even if McConaughey and Ezra Miller were nominated instead of Waltz and Arkin, I would still say that Jones should win.

    As much as the Academy dislikes old actresses, it shuns young actors and Supporting Actor nearly always underlines this characteristic.

  42. kasper
    February 5, 2013

    Sasha- you’re so right about Jones’ performance in Hope Springs.

  43. Ryan B
    February 5, 2013

    DeNiro was my favorite part of Silver Linings Playbook. I loved all five performances, but the only one about whom I can say, “He was my favorite part,” is DeNiro.

  44. February 5, 2013

    The best performance, who deserves win more than anyone, is ny Hoffman.
    But I’ll be very happy if Arkin wins.
    Argo fuck yourself.

    But, above all five noms, Tom Holland shines as the real best performance of the year.

  45. Mac
    February 5, 2013

    @Zach – DeNiro wasn’t in Reversal of Fortune – you may be thinking of Jeremy Irons, perhaps? Reversal of Fortune should have at least resulted in a nomination for Glenn Close. Her narration is perfection.

    Supporting Actress was pretty tight that year, althogh Close was better than Diane Ladd in Wild at Heart, one of David Lynch’s lesser movies. Goldberg, McDonnell, Bracco, and Bening each provide memorable characters.

  46. Jason Travis
    February 5, 2013

    Tommy Lee Jones is a good bet, but it’s a close call.

    I don’t think Robert De Niro will win. If he couldn’t win SAG, and not even get crucial nominations from other precursors, I don’t see it happening. Unless this was a really REALLY great performance (ala Marcia Gay Harden, Adrien Brody) I don’t see him pulling it off, it would be a major upset. Silver Linings Playbook’s best bet for an Oscar for acting is in Best Actress, and Lawrence- who DID win the SAG- is set up to do that, unless Riva spoils.

    Waltz is also close, but I think Jones holds more power. Hoffman also holds power, in a dark and smaller film; I would say its between him and Jones, and not De Niro. I understand campaigning helps, but really- I think De Niro should have won something up to this point then.

  47. Zach
    February 5, 2013

    @Mac, no, I just meant I haven’t seen Reversal of Fortune to know whether I would have awarded Jeremy Irons over De Niro in Awakenings that same year. (Honestly, had anybody else but a two-time winner done Awakenings, which was also up for BP, wouldn’t they have won?)

  48. Josh L
    February 5, 2013

    The Academy has made a habit of NOT honoring actors who perform for Spielberg. Daniel Day-Lewis will win, making him the first actor to win in a Spielberg film. I cannot imagine two actors will win for Spielberg in the same night – if that does happen, Spielberg could be ascending the stage to pick up his third Direction Oscar. I’m predicting Robert De Niro wins for SLP. He’s making the rounds like he wants it. Actors, Directors and most of the voters will align with De Niro.

  49. Zach
    February 5, 2013

    Though I should add, gun to my head or balls, I would have picked Peter Finch in Network, one of my all-time faves, over De Niro in Taxi Driver. But damn if there was ever a category for a tie, Barbra Streisand!

  50. Zach
    February 5, 2013

    I don’t know how Russell could win Director without a DGA nomination (which shouldn’t have been so hard; everyone was already trashing Hooper, even fans of the film acknowledged he was not great).

    But if Jones or De Niro wins Supporting Actor, then since actors love directors who can turn out great performances, then that might be the tell for either Spielberg or Russell winning later on in the night. Unless De Niro takes but Riva wins, and then all bets are off.

    But if Lincoln loses for Screenplay AND Jones, I don’t think Spielberg will win. Because then it’s the voters saying it’s just the DDL show.

  51. Paul Gibbs
    February 5, 2013

    Several great perfomances here, buy only one which may be the greatest performancein the long career of one of the greats. Only who who steals every scene he’s in from the sure Best Actor winner who gave THE performance of the decade, then shows the restraint to let a supporting actress nominee steal a scene from him. Who stands out as the obvious supporting actor nominee in a phenomenal cast full of nomination worthy performances. I do not hold with equality in all things, because this year Tommy Lee Jones has no equal.

  52. February 5, 2013

    Does anybody really liked that Henry in BOTSW?
    I really hate that movie, but he’s by far the worst thing there. Overacting, crying as a crazy… He’s terrible!
    Goodman, Aaron Tveit (the best think in Les Mis after Hathaway) and above all Tom Holland deserves noms.

  53. Archie
    February 5, 2013

    If Tommy Lee Jones wins, then he will be the first ever actor to win an Oscar directed by Spielberg. If Daniel Day Lewis wins later on in the night, then he will be the second. Im pointing this out because I find it amazing as great a director Spielberg is he has not directed an actor who won the Oscar ever……….And just for fun if Sally Field upsets/shocks and wins BSA all three would be 3 time winners and the 3 first ever to win in one night directed by Spielberg. How amazing would that be!…….Also, Sally Field will keep her perfect track record!

  54. Jerry
    February 5, 2013

    I really wish Phillip Seymour Hoffman would take the win but the lack of love for The Master has been disappointing so I think Tommy Lee Jones is the safe bet. I don’t see DeNiro winning for SLP.

  55. Archie
    February 5, 2013

    Correction: I was wrong it will only be the second time for Tommy Lee Jones if he wins for BSA Oscar

  56. Mike
    February 5, 2013

    I’m going with jones on this. He will be a Melvyn Douglas, 2 supporting wins with many years in between. I would have said Hoffman, and I would luv to see him win, but don’t think the academy luvs andersons films as much as they should.

  57. JFromAZ
    February 5, 2013

    I think Jones will win and it will be a good omen for LINCOLN. My personal choice is Hoffman, but everyone in this category is excellent.

  58. Linc4jess
    February 5, 2013

    If they vote “Argo” best pic look for Alan Arkin to win supporting actor. If they vote “Lincoln” best pic look for Jones to win. Otherwise I am thinking that Christoph Waltz is going to win this one. Waltz just might win this one whoever wins best pic.

    Maybe will win: Christoph Waltz
    Should win: Christoph Waltz

  59. daveinprogress
    February 5, 2013

    A conundrum when you have 5 previous winners, and so no sentimental votes or career Oscars. Still not an even playing field, though – i have felt for some time that Robert De Niro could win it this year. I always take umbridge when people diss him for ‘average’ performances for however long. Like with Streep, folk hold De Niro up to such lofty expectations that every role must be a Raging Bull or a Sophie’s Choice. If there is any sentiment that plays into this category this year, it’s with him.

    Hoffman is always wonderful, even in the sketchiest of parts like Ides Of March. I would love to see AMPAS give him a 2nd Oscar, but others here seem to agree that although 3 of the cast were nominated, The Master did not get the reception that early predictions were hpying. I personally found it an enigmatic film and a somewhat unsatisfying one with that engima. But Phoenix was outstanding.

    Tommy Lee Jones is still my pick.

    ***Apropos not a whole lot, but pertaining to the Supp Acting categories. Someone else may have mentioned it, but it occurred to me that for the 2nd time, Amy Adams and Philip Seymour Hoffman are BOTH nominated for supporting roles in the same movie (Doubt, The Master). I am always dazzled by the commenters that wheel out the stats – Phantom, Paddy et al – has this ever occurred before that a pair of actors have both been nominated for the same film in the side by side acting categories? I couldn’t think of any.

  60. February 5, 2013

    Earlier, one user mentioned Judi Dench in “Shakespeare in Love” as a winner to base Arkin’s potential win on.

    For me, Dench’s win there is actually more indicative of DE NIRO’s win. Why? Harvey. If Harvey could help that performance win as part of Shakespeare’s path to victory, surely his magic can work for De Niro.

    TLJ’s loss can, I think, be justified via Geoffrey Rush’s loss two years back — Best Actor frontrunner takes the votes and attention away from the Supporting Actor.

    But we’re all just kinda spitting in the wind right now. Really enjoying all the theories on this post, by the way.

  61. Jack
    February 5, 2013

    Philip Seymour Hoffman should win. Hands down, but for him to win, he’ll have to garner a ton of support.

    DeNiro and Lewis both winning their 3rd Oscars? As amazing as that sounds, I doubt think it’ll happen. Lawrence will be the lone acting winner. DeNiro’s wonderful, but losing SAG hurt. He can maybe pick up steam again after his emotional interview. Plus DeNiro is the only nominee here who hasn’t won an award this year.

    Honestly, I don’t think Jones should have even been nominated, but he won SAG. Seems the buzz for Lincoln is slowing down, but I’ll still stick with him winning for the moment.

    Arkin only wins if Argo cleans house.

    Waltz has the Globe and can win BAFTA. He plays a good white guy against slavery. But will he win again for another QT film?

  62. marlonbrando020
    February 5, 2013

    ” James Spader in Lincoln”

    All I could think about was Alan Shore in historical garb. I couldn’t take him seriously. He’s just so weird looking, and not in a Christopher Walken-kind of way either…

  63. daveinprogress
    February 5, 2013

    Dianne Wiest won 2 Oscars for two Woody Allen movies, granted they were nearly a decade apart – it can happen. Anything could still happen really in the Supp Actor race this year. With 4 nominees from Best Picture contenders, it is a tricky one. If i were the telecast producer i would start with Supp Actress and come to this one later….

  64. Newyorker27
    February 5, 2013

    I don’t think De Niro is due the same way Meryl was last year. Meryl was consistently delivering f

  65. Newyorker27
    February 5, 2013

    As I was saying… Meryl was consistently delivering fine performances and got nominated 12 times between Sophie’s Choice and TIL. De Niro was almost always phoning it in since Raging Bull.

  66. christiannnw
    February 5, 2013

    Gee golly what a weird category. I’m shying away from De Niro because of his lack of Golden Globe and BAFTA noms, but since the stats have been threw into a tizzy this season, I might be misleading myself.

    Oh well, current predictions:
    Will win: Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)
    Could win: Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)
    Should win: Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)

  67. kasper
    February 5, 2013

    I wish they would do a redo and trade DeNiro, Waltz, and Arkin for Scoot McNairy, Matthew McConaughey, Simon Russell Beale. Thus, I’d love it if Philip Seymour Hoffman or Tommy Lee Jones wins, even if PSH is definitely category fraud, more so than Waltz even.

  68. Pierre de Plume
    February 5, 2013

    This is a strong field and I think it’s a close race. But with Jones winning SAG and De Niro not even nominated for a BAFTA, I’ll have to go with Jones because lack of BAFTA support means something in a close race.

    I think Waltz was nominated not only because he was good in Django but because of the nature of his character (he was on the right side of race relations compared with the other bad guys in that film).

    Hoffman, in my view, should win, but I don’t think that’s possible given the film’s lack of popularity and the nature of his character (not very lovable/not very hateable).

    Arkin’s first win, IMO, was largely because of his body of work and because the flap over Eddie Murphy worked in Arkin’s favor. I don’t think the Academy is ready to award him again for a comedic, though charming, performance.

    In the end, though, Jones’ character is the most compelling — and that counts for something in a tight race. And as Sasha points out, his work in Hope Springs will be remembered by voters.

  69. Stoner Sam
    February 5, 2013

    Well, be careful what you wish for because when predictability goes out the window so does your ability to accurately predict the race.

    Whoa….you just blew my mind, dude….

  70. parker
    February 5, 2013

    @ Jim_on_film: For me, Dench’s win there is actually more indicative of DE NIRO’s win. Why? Harvey. If Harvey could help that performance win as part of Shakespeare’s path to victory, surely his magic can work for De Niro.

    Dench won in part because she lost the previous year; De Niro doesn’t have the same “robbed!” cache with two Oscars rusting on his mantle.

  71. David Lindsey
    February 5, 2013

    I think SILVER LINING’S PLAYBOOK might get completely snubbed Oscar night. No Deniro. No Lawrence. No Russell.

  72. Someone
    February 6, 2013

    Waltz and DiCaprio were the best performancs in DJANGO UNCHAINED, Foxx was the worst, and that’s obvious. I wonder how anybody can think otherwise…

    And I don’t understand this ‘curse-talking’. If there was ever a role from Spielberg movie that deserved Oscar for acting, than this was Ralph Fiennes in SCHINDLER’S LIST. He should have won but lost to Lee Jones. And that’s all. Day-Lewis is maybe the second one (though I prefer Phoenix). Spielberg isn’t actually an “actors’ director”, is he? So this is not suprising that his actors don’t win any Oscars.

  73. The J Viewer
    February 6, 2013

    The way I see it for now:

    1) Jones; 2) Waltz


    3) De Niro

  74. 3.14
    February 6, 2013

    Shame that richard parker got snubbed

  75. Scott (the other one)
    February 6, 2013

    Isn’t TLJ exactly the same in every movie? DDL and SF were great, but TLJ just seemed to be the usual TLJ — crusty, grouchy, grumpy, with an occasional twinkle in his eye. Like Arkin, he is likeable, but he already got an Oscar for playing the one role he always plays.

  76. Spacey
    February 6, 2013

    De Niro’s going to get it. They wont be able to resist the standing O he’ll receive when he wins the award, and honestly it will be a nice moment.

    It would also be nice if three of the acting winners all won their third Oscars — Day Lewis, Field, and De Niro.

    My choice for best supporting performance is James Spader in Lincoln, but since he’s not nominated I’d vote for Tommy Lee Jones who is also superb.

  77. Spacey
    February 6, 2013

    Thank you for mentioning Simon Russell Beale, Kasper. That was wonderful work by a great actor.

  78. KC
    February 6, 2013

    Why do people keep pointing to The Master’s “lack of love” as a reason why PSH won’t win? The film has acting nominations across three categories! Is that not love? And this is the most likely category for the film to achieve some recognition…

    I love this category. Supporting Actor is always my favourite category, but this year is fantastic. I love that they’ve all won before so no one has the “overdue” card to play. I love that it’s full of nominees who basically don’t want to win or even show up to these awards things at all. More than ever before, the Oscar politics have been removed from this category. Voters can only vote for the performance they genuinely think is the best.

    I’m going PSH.

  79. Zach
    February 6, 2013

    Yeah, but three acting nominations and nothing else in a year with 9 BP nominees puts The Master in Doubt territory. And even that had a script nomination. I think The Master is DOA. They just won’t go for that. PSH is a brilliant actor, but like De Niro, he already won for a really great character turn, and unlike De Niro, he’s not in a film they love, so why would he win this time?

    He must be really brilliant in the film, though, because many posters want him to win. I never doubt that he’s great, but without having seen the film, it looks like Joaquin is its selling point. Hoffman doesn’t look like he’s doing much, even if he’s a powerhouse. Of course, that’s just an uninformed opinion, but I wonder how many voters agree?

  80. Someone
    February 6, 2013

    DeNiro is this year’s Max von Sydow, I think. :) Yeah, DeNiro was nominated for SAG and von Sydow wasn’t but apart from that it looks to me that people overestimate his chances in the same way as they did last year with von Sydow. DeNiro lost SAG, BFCA, wasn’t nominated for Globe and isn’t nominated for BAFTA – how can he win Oscar? Yeah, I know that sometimes there are BIG suprises but Brody won because he was the only man without Oscar (and Nicholson already had three, and Caine – two). Marcia Gay Harden won because Dench won just two years earlier and McDormand – 4 years earlier. Dench won for SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE because she should have won one year earlier and she played in the movie that Academy liked the most that year. And DeNiro? No, he has anything beside him. SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK won’t win best picture (it might if it won SAG but now it has no chance) and Lawrence looks like more possible winner from this movie. And if she loses to Riva – than SLP might go empty-handed. It’s not impossible. MY MAN GODFREY and SUNSET BLV. had nominations in all acting categories but didn’t win in any of them.
    And all those BIG suprises were in favour of people who hadn’t had Oscars yet. Yeah, I know that in DeNiro’s category this year all people have Oscars – but it looks to me that they will give second Oscar to someone before they will give him 3rd. :)
    To me Lee Jones is favourite, Arkin is second (both won SAG), Hoffman is 3rd (he was nominated for all important awards and won BFCA), Waltz is 4th (he won Globe but wasn’t nominated for SAG) and DeNiro is 5th (he hasn’t won anything so far, he wasn’t nominated for many important awards, he fights for 3rd Oscar).

  81. julian the emperor
    February 6, 2013

    Someone: Last year was very different since there was a very clear frontrunner in Plummer. This year all five of them can win, which naturally leads to some speculation. Since De Niro, furthermore, seems like the one most inclined to campaign heavily, he has a clear shot at winning the trophy. I still think it is Lee Jones’ to lose, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of De Niro coming from behind and snatching it (Alan Arkin-style…)

    In my opinion, this one really belongs to PSH, but I think he is the least likely winner right now (apart from Arkin, maybe). Waltz is a real threat as well, Django is bound to win something, I guess (and let’s not hope it beats Amour or ZD30 for original screenplay!)

  82. rufussondheim
    February 6, 2013

    Zach, PSH is so good in The Master, he’s really a co-lead. He’s not in the first 20 minutes or so, but when his character gets introduced he’s in virtually every scene, and he’s great in every scene. It’s really a stunningly good performance, and when you compare it to his work in Boogie Nights and Capote (for starters) you really realize that he just might be the best actor working today.

  83. himynameiscole
    February 6, 2013

    this is sort of out there i suppose, but i think that bruce willis should have been nominated (and won) for looper. i thought he was amazing in it.

    back on topic, i think de niro will be going in as the frontrunner, even with no wins, but if he ends up losing, he will lose to waltz.

  84. Robert A.
    February 6, 2013

    In a category that’s this much of a clusterfuck, I think any of the five nominees have a shot at winning. I can’t fully discount any of them. Tommy Lee Jones seems like the marginal frontrunner, but DeNiro could win on campaigning/sentiment, Waltz could win for giving another stand-out/co-lead performance, Arkin could win on an Argo surge (which I doubt, but it’s not impossible), and Philip Seymour Hoffman could win just for being damned good. I know AMPAS doesn’t seem huge on The Master, but Hoffman was excellent in The Master and he has racked up several supporting nominations since Capote, so he could win out of respect and admiration. (Sort of like how James Broadbent for Iris won over people like SAG winner Ian McKellan for Lord of the Rings.)

    This is one category where I won’t be that surprised no matter what name is announced.

  85. Jerry Grant
    February 6, 2013

    I agree with most here that Philip Seymour Hoffman gave the best performance of the five. In a just world, he would win this. (Though his performance is still not as extraordinary as Joaquin Phoenix’s.)

    But the award probably will go to Tommy Lee Jones, which I am absolutely fine with. He is, in many ways, the heart of “Lincoln”, and delivers a wonderful performance. The Academy admires “Lincoln” and “Silver Linings” both, but Jones gives the superior performance in relation to DeNiro.

    Christoph Waltz won too recently for too similar a role. It’s not happening. And if Arkin wins, all my respect for the Oscars will instantly collapse.

  86. Sammy
    February 6, 2013

    Yeah, this is the category which is still open to surprises. Other categories are pretty much solid – DDL, Riva and Hathaway. I think PSH deserves most but Waltz’s performance is very good. Jones’s chances pretty much depend on Lincoln’s performance. If it fails to win BP then Jones would take this.

    I do not understand why Arkin is nominated. Last year they snubbed a SUPERB Fassbender performance (better than Dujardin imo) and this year you have Arkin with a mediocre performance. Politics?

  87. -
    February 6, 2013

    Will win: Tommy Lee Jones
    Should win: Philip Seymour Hoffman

  88. February 6, 2013

    Wow “Sammy.”

    You really do believe that Riva is rock solid for the win?

    You know what. I really am holding a candle that you are right as she richly deserve the Oscar. But it appears few are mapping out such a scenario.

  89. comedywontwin
    February 6, 2013

    Tommy lee Jones lock….he will win it easily….they will reward Licoln in the acting and directing category since Argo will win best picture. They didn’t like The Master, Di Niro’s nom was rubbish, Waltz was leading and Di Caprio stole the scenes.

  90. Sammy
    February 6, 2013

    @Sam Juliano – I do not mean rock solid. I mean nobody would be surprised if Riva wins. Normal result.

  91. Sammy
    February 6, 2013

    @Sam Juliano – The reason behind my assumption is that Riva’s biggest opponent (Lawrence) performed in a romantic comedy – or so called “light” movie. This is obviously a big advantage for Riva as the Academy tends not to award such performances.

  92. Robert A.
    February 6, 2013

    “The reason behind my assumption is that Riva’s biggest opponent (Lawrence) performed in a romantic comedy – or so called “light” movie. This is obviously a big advantage for Riva as the Academy tends not to award such performances.”

    Not necessarily. Helen Hunt, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Reese Witherspoon have all won for “lighter” performances over competition that had “heavier” performances.

    Do you know what’s even more rare than an actress winning an Oscar for a “light” performance? An 86-year-old woman winning for a foreign language performance. (With that said, I would love for Riva to win. She would be my choice if I had a vote.)

  93. Sammy
    February 6, 2013

    @Robert A. – Drama performer always has the edge over its competition. You have to accept this fact.

  94. Bryce Forestieri
    February 6, 2013

    Gosh there’s nothing going on until BAFTA?

    Best Actor – Will and should win: Daniel Day-Lewis, LINCOLN
    *Snubbed: Jean-Louis Trintignant, AMOUR
    *Shouldn’t be there: Hugh Jackman, LES MIZ

    Best Actress – Will and should win: Emmanuelle Riva, AMOUR
    *Snubbed: Ann Dowd, COMPLIANCE
    *Shouldn’t be there: I’m fine with everyone, but I didn’t thing THE IMPOSSIBLE was a good movie at all

    Best Supporting Actor – Will and should win: Tommy Lee Jones, LINCOLN
    *Snubbed: Ezra Miller, THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER; Michael Fassbender, PROMETHEUS; Michael Peña, END OF WATCH; Matthew McConaughey, MAGIC MIKE; Jason Clarke, ZERO DARK THIRTY; Samuel L. Jackson, DJANGO UNCHAINED; Leonardo DiCaprio, DJANGO UNCHAINED; Tom Hardy, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES; Christopher Walken, SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS
    *Shouldn’t be there: Alan Arkin, ARGO

    Best S. Actress – Will win: Anne Hathaway, LES MIZ
    *Should win: Amy Adams, THE MASTER
    *Snubbed: Nicole Kidman, THE PAPERBOY; Jennifer Ehle, ZERO DARK THIRTY
    *Shouldn’t be there: Anne Hathaway, LES MIZ; Helen Hunt, THE SESSIONS

  95. Kane
    February 6, 2013

    De Niro’s chances, to me, aren’t that great because he hasn’t won anything this year (if I’m wrong please correct me). Even Marcia Gay Harden won the NYFCC. As for a comeback performance, Mickey Rourke and Jackie Earl Haley both lost and they at last were the critics darlings.

    I think Waltz will be overlook as Django might take the sound award or original screenplay. Arkin won’t win it either for the same reason as De Niro, no previous wins.

    I believe it’s between Jones and Hoffman. Jones is in a monumental movie and could win. Hoffman gives the best of his career and in this category. I think the academy knows it fucked up with The Master and might want to throw something that way. With snubs (for The Master) such as music, cinematography, original screenplay to say the least, a win for PSH would right a load of wrong.

  96. Mobyz
    February 6, 2013

    I’ve seen all of the acting nominees in this category with the exception of PSH in The Master. Christophe Waltz would get my vote, but I feel that his role is not supporting, and is more like a co-lead with Jamie Foxx. I don’t understand why Alan Arkin and Robert Deniro were nominated for less than stellar performances. I think Leonardo Dicaprio and Samuel L. Jackson should have been nominated instead.

  97. Kane
    February 6, 2013

    I know I’m late to the party, Rufus, but The Blind Side didn’t really have a good script.

  98. Nick K.
    February 6, 2013

    Alan Arkin playing Alan Arkin does not merit an Oscar nomination. John Goodman (“Argo”, Jim Broadbent (“Cloud Atlas”), and half the supporting cast of the severely overlooked “Seven Psychopaths” were all far more deserving of nominations than Arkin with his schtick.

  99. February 6, 2013

    Glad to see my comment yesterday about how this was the toughest Oscar category to predict led t this great piece by Sasha!

    It’s really a nailbiter, I think. I had no idea it was so long since De Niro had been first nominated an won (37 years is a hella long time). I think the Academy will just go for the “lifetime achievement” win there, especially since he is campaigning like his life depends on it (what, he wants to up his quote for Fockers 4: The Revenge of the Grandkids?

    I agree that Waltz should have been overlooked in place of either Samuel L. Jackson or Leonard DiCaprio in Django Unchained. I truly do not understand you people who say Jamie Foxx was the worst actor in the movie–hello, Don Johnson, anyone? I thought Foxx, was fine, if a bit monotonic.

    I think DeNiro has a clear edge, with Jones a close behind for the Lincoln love. Honestly, Waltz and Arkin have no chance. It’s possible Hoffman may squeak away with it. One thing is sure, whoever wins will be surprised (unless the name is DeNiro).

  100. Tero Heikkinen
    February 6, 2013

    Will win:

    Should win:
    DDL or Phoenix (really can’t decide here)

    IMO, the “shoulds” tell an awful lot about the snubbed talent that is PTA.

  101. steve50
    February 6, 2013

    Wish I shared the confidence in Riva here – I do hope you guys are right.

  102. hcu
    February 6, 2013

    I also would like to share some of this optimism concerning Riva, but even the most foreign actress friendly voting body L.A. critics tied Riva and Lawrence. Well, maybe BAFTA will give us some hope but I’m still doubtful.

  103. Tero Heikkinen
    February 6, 2013

    To me it’s all about just watching the 9 BP nominees and Actress winner is cleared.

    It’s only nine films, no big deal. You just pop them in and watch. Emmanuelle Riva, what a performance in Amour. She goes into town, on a horse. And she looks at the town people and says: “Allez-vous-en!”.

  104. Uncle Jay
    February 6, 2013

    Waltz will win.

  105. rufussondheim
    February 6, 2013

    I liked that bit, Tero, thanks for the reference! So happy to see you return. Now if only we can get some good movies in the theaters soon, this rehashing of 2012 is getting really old, really quickly.

  106. John
    February 6, 2013

    I feel like its between TLJ and DeNiro.

    PSH is loved by actors, but the academy at large did not go for The Master.

    TLJ won critics awards and won SAG.
    DeNiro did not have critics, no GG nom, no BAFTA nom, and didnt win SAG.

    And yet, I feeeeeeel like its DeNiro because of the hard campaign and because Lawrence MAY be eclipsed by Riva.

    But TLJ has so much going in.

    Gah. Hard, hard decision, right?

  107. Oscar
    February 6, 2013

    And the Oscar goes to… Robert De Niro

  108. Manuel
    February 7, 2013

    The ones that say Alan Arkin is briliant or great on Argo, are delusional. Any actor around his age could easily have done the same: Christopher Walken, Robert De Niro, Ian McKellen, Nick Nolte…etc

    Havent seen Lincoln yet, but Jones looks mighty powerful. But Im still pissed of that he won over Fiennes back in 94….still hurts

  109. keifer
    February 7, 2013

    Commenting on the Spielberg acting curse, I always thought that Robert Shaw should have been nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1975, along with Richard Dreyfuss.

    TITANIC performances!

    Can anyone remember (from memory) who won that year?

    I’m an Oscar buff, so I do remember.

    It was George Burns (yawn) in “The Sunshine Boys”. Dreyfuss and Shaw? Not even a nomination.

  110. Moviefan
    February 7, 2013

    Hoffman is clearly the best. I can’t believe he’s not the frontrunner here. Jones will win yet another undeserved Oscar for playing TLJ.

  111. February 10, 2013

    Oscar has always been unpredictable and the best man has always made his way to it. But for this years run I think there gonna be a tight fight. Blog about movies online .

  112. Snooby Dooby Doo
    March 2, 2013

    And the Oscar goes to… Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained. No bragging or anything, but I totally predicted him.

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