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Are Sean Penn, Leonardo DiCaprio & Vanessa Redgrave Headed For The Oscars? Predicting Best Supporting Actor & Actress 2013

Are Sean Penn, Leonardo DiCaprio & Vanessa Redgrave Headed For The Oscars? Predicting Best Supporting Actor & Actress 2013

When it came to our super-early Oscar predictions last year, we weren’t too far off when it came to Best Picture, or even the lead acting categories. But Supporting Actor & Actress? That was something of a disaster. Ok, so we called Christopher Plummer’s victory, but aside from that, we were way off.

But that’s something inherent in the categories: whereas many of the films that the lead actor and actress star in are designed from the ground up to attract nominations, those who get nominated for Supporting Actor & Actress are often surprise breakouts. Who saw Jonah Hill or Nick Nolte as potential nomination threats a year ago? Or Melissa McCarthy and Janet McTeer?

Nevertheless, on the back of our 2013 Best Picture guesses yesterday, and our Actor & Actress predictions earlier, we’re casting our eyes on Supporting Actor & Actress again, to see if we do a little better.

Best Supporting Actor

Strong Contenders
Leonardo DiCaprio – “Django Unchained”
Despite several nominations, DiCaprio remains Oscar-less, but if a Quentin Tarantino villain, a la Christoph Waltz two years ago, can’t get him a win, we don’t know what can. Calvin Candie isn’t necessarily as well written a part as Hans Landa was, but DiCaprio will be playing so firmly against type that he should have a good shot here. But could the controversial subject matter be his undoing?

Sean Penn – “Gangster Squad”
Our feeling is that period actioner “Gangster Squad” isn’t really going to be an Oscar kind of movie — it’s a commercial proposition first and foremost. But Sean Penn playing Mickey Cohen is the kind of colorful supporting turn that could be a major player in this category. Penn won his second Oscar in 2008 for “Milk” so he might not be a major threat to win, but a nomination is certainly feasible — think Connery in the tonally similar “The Untouchables” or Al Pacino in “Dick Tracy.”

Russell Crowe – “Les Miserables”
Probably the biggest gamble of the 2012 awards season, Tom Hooper‘s decision to get his cast to sing live on the set of “Les Miserables” might turn out to be a disaster, or might be a stroke of genius. But if any actor stands to benefit, it’s Russell Crowe: the three-time nominee has been looking to show new facets to his personality, and as the antagonist, who gets several key numbers to sing, this could be it. He could also turn out to sing like Pierce Brosnan in “Mamma Mia!,” but until proven otherwise, we think Crowe is the big awards play here.

Joaquin Phoenix – “The Master”
Having been away from the limelight for some time, Joaquin Phoenix returns in a big way in 2012, and while he’s the nominal lead in Paul Thomas Anderson‘s latest, we suspect any awards campaign will push him in supporting (so as not compete with Philip Seymour Hoffman). He’s been nominated in the past, for “Gladiator” and “Walk The Line,” so the Academy could well welcome him back with open arms, but the overall tone of the film may be the deciding factor here.

John Goodman/Alan Arkin – “Argo”
We have a feeling that Ben Affleck‘s latest is going to play big with the Academy this year, and we have think that someone from the impressive supporting cast could break out. It’s hard to say who at this point, but good bets would be John Goodman, who plays “Planet of the Apes” make-up artist John Chambers, and Alan Arkin, who plays spy-turned-movie producer Lester Siegel. The latter part sounds more colorful, but Arkin won recently (2006 for “Little Miss Sunshine“), whereas Goodman has never been nominated. Time will tell which, if either, emerges as a frontrunner.   

Guy Pearce – “The Wettest County”
While it’s probably more palatable than the director’s previous works, and a mooted Venice premiere means that the Weinsteins are taking the film’s awards prospects seriously, we suspect that John Hillcoat‘s “The Wettest County” isn’t going to play super well with the Academy. But that doesn’t rule out a nomination or two, and the word we’ve heard from test screenings is that Guy Pearce, as a lawman tracking the three moonshining brothers the film focuses on, is the standout. That doesn’t necessarily mean awards play, but this far out, it’s more rock solid info than most.

Albert Brooks – “This Is Forty”
Generally deemed to have been snubbed this year for “Drive,” comeback kid Albert Brooks could well have another chance next time around, back more in comedic territory for Judd Apatow‘s latest, “This Is Forty.” Playing the father of Paul Rudd‘s character, we can see that the Academy might well feel happier about rewarding him for something like this, in part as commiseration for missing out this year. That being said, it depends entirely on the part: it’ll need to be bigger than Harold Ramis‘ role in “Knocked Up,” and ideally be an important aspect of the plot.

Robert De Niro – “The Silver-Linings Playbook”
Another father figure role, playing the dad of Bradley Cooper’s mentally troubled protagonist is Robert De Niro, who hasn’t been nominated since “Cape Fear” twenty years ago. He’s seemingly taking more interesting roles of late and he could have a good shot here, particularly now that David O. Russell has made an awards breakthrough with “The Fighter.” Again, it’s dependent on the material, but this is likely De Niro’s best chance in years.

Long Shots
Ray Liotta/James Gandolfini – “Cogan’s Trade”
Given how “The Assassination of Jesse James” played with the Academy, we’re not holding our breath for the pulpier “Cogan’s Trade” to sweep the Oscars. That being said, Brad Pitt holds a lot of sway, and again, the cast is full of character actor veterans who could end up with a good showcase here. We won’t know for some time who’ll emerge from the pack, but veteran Ray Liotta, who plays a mobster, and James Gandolfini, who plays a troubled hitman, could be the ones.

Domnhal Gleeson – “Anna Karenina”
Who? Well, Domnhal Gleeson is the son of veteran Brendan Gleeson, who’s cropped up in films like “Never Let Me Go,” “True Grit” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” so far. But he gets his best showcase to date in “Anna Karenina” as Levin, the most sympathetic character in Tolstoy’s novel, and one who seems to take a central role in Joe Wright’s take. It feels like a more awards-worthy part than Jude Law or Aaron Johnson‘s, but it’s still a wild shot at the moment.

Tom Hardy – “The Dark Knight Rises”
Can Tom Hardy follow the path of previous Bat-villain Heath Ledger to Oscar glory? Probably not, to be honest. We suspect Ledger would have been nominated even if he hadn’t passed away beforehand, but that was a colorful part, a real actor’s showcase. From what we’ve seen of the threequel, Hardy’s part isn’t nearly as voter-friendly, what with the mask and the Vincent Price voice and all. But who knows?

Also In The Mix: Either Joel Edgerton or Tobey Maguire in “The Great Gatsby” are plausible, Alec Baldwin or Roberto Benigni could emerge from Woody Allen’s “Nero Fiddled,” Bradley Cooper has got a meaty role in “The Place Beyond The Pines,” there’s a few possibilites in Kathryn Bigelow‘s next, including Jason Clarke, Mark Strong and Edgar Ramirez, and virtually anyone could emerge from “Lincoln,” but it’s impossible to tell at this point who it could be. From Sundance, there’s William H. Macy in “The Surrogate” or Nick Offerman in “Smashed” to keep an eye on, while “The Company You Keep” or “Cloud Atlas” might provide an actor or two. And a possible surprise to look out for? Matthew Goode in “Stoker.”

Best Supporting Actress

Strong Contenders
Vanessa Redgrave – “Song For Marion”
A year ago, after the Berlin premiere at “Coriolanus,” it seemed like Vanessa Redgrave was on the path for her seventh Oscar nomination. But the mixed reception for the film caused the momentum to ebb away, and it never came to pass. Fortunately, she’s got another shot this year, with Paul Andrew Williams‘ “Song For Marion.” The role, as a British housewife in a choir who’s diagnosed with a terminal illness, couldn’t be more in the Academy’s remit, and she’ll have the support of the Weinstein Company for the film too.   

Samantha Barks/Anne Hathaway – “Les Miserables”
There’s plenty of supporting roles in Tom Hooper‘s musical that could end up leading to the Academy Awards; anyone from Eddie Redmayne to Helena Bonham Carter and Amanda Seyfried could end up with a nod, assuming the film turns out well. But as Jennifer Hudson and John C. Reilly have proved in recent years, all it takes is one barnburner of a number to get a nod, and Anne Hathaway, as the tragic Fantine, and newcomer Samantha Barks, as Eponine, have the two key ones, in “I Dreamed A Dream” and “On My Own.” It won’t be both, but one or the other has a good chance.  

Amy Adams – “The Master”
While two-time nominee Amy Adams has a decent chance at Best Actress with “Trouble With The Curve,” we think her real shot at gold comes with Paul Thomas Anderson‘s latest. The wife of Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s charismatic relgiious leader seems to be the most obvious female part for awards attention, particularly given her past nominations (if you ask us, she was robbed for her turn in “The Fighter“). That being said, Laura Dern might emerge from the film as the one, or newcomer Ambyr Childers, as Hoffman’s daughter.

Isla Fisher – “The Great Gatsby”
Assuming that Carey Mulligan competes as a lead rather than supporting for Daisy in Baz Luhrmann‘s film, that offers a real opportunity for Australian actress Isla Fisher to pick up her first nomination. She’s best known for her comedy work, most notably in “Wedding Crashers,” but Mrs. Baron Cohen has always seemed capable of more, and the role of Myrtle, the unstable, tragic mistress of Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton), Daisy’s husband, will allow her to show some range. If the film doesn’t connect in general, it likely won’t happen, but we think Fisher has a real shot to break out.

Kelly Macdonald – “Anna Karenina”
Even given the offbeat way in which Joe Wright is approaching the Russian literary classic, there’s more than a few great roles in play. And while he’s attracted a spectacular line-up of actresses, including Emily Watson, Olivia Williams, Holliday Grainger, Ruth Wilson and Michelle Dockery, we’ve got a feeling that the one that might emerge from the pack is Kelly MacDonald. The Scottish actress was unlucky not to get more attention for “No Country For Old Men,” but she’s a more familiar face these days thanks to “Boardwalk Empire” and Pixar‘s upcoming “Brave,” and she’s got a key role here as Dolly, the wife of Prince Oblonsky (Matthew Macfadyen). But don’t count out Swedish actress Alicia Vikander as her sister, Kitty, either.

Sally Field – “Lincoln”
As a Civil War-era political drama, Steven Spielberg‘s “Lincoln” isn’t exactly going to be overrun with women. But there is one key female: Sally Field, as the president’s other half, Mary Todd Lincoln. With Tony Kushner‘s script kept under wraps, there’s no word on the size of the role, but our guess is that it’ll be one of the more substantial ones. Field has won twice previously, but with the bulk of her work being on television recently, she’s been out of the spotlight for a little while; might this be her glorious return?

Olivia Williams/Olivia Colman – “Hyde Park On Hudson”
We’ve already pointed to Bill Murray and Laura Linney as major threats in the lead acting categories for “Hyde Park On Hudson,” but there are a couple of supporting roles that show real potential as well. Despite a string of great performances since “Rushmore,” Olivia Williams has never been nominated, but as Eleanor Roosevelt, she’s got both a famous figure to impersonate and some strong material to play, as she watches her presidential husband conduct an affair. But don’t ignore Olivia Colman either: she didn’t get much traction last year for “Tyrannosaur,” but it put her on the radar, and as Queen Elizabeth, she’s taking up the mantle that saw Helena Bonham-Carter nominated for two years ago.

Long Shots
Olga Kurylenko – “Untitled Terrence Malick Project”
As we’ve said more than once, while Terrence Malick has never been an acting branch favorite, his latest holds more potential than usual, and a potential dark horse in the supporting category could be Olga Kurylenko. Right now, the actress is best known as a Bond girl, but she’s got chops that go beyond that, and might well be one to keep an eye on here, as the other side of Ben Affleck’s faltering marriage.

Carey Mulligan – “Inside Llewyn Davis”
Last year, Carey Mulligan had two possibilites for a nomination with “Drive” and “Shame,” but both proved too tough to connect with voters. But a period picture about the 1960s Greenwich Village folk scene, from unlikely Oscar favorites the Coen Brothers seems like far better material. She’s the most established name in a young cast, although only time will tell if the part is nomination material. However, if she ends up with momentum for “The Great Gatsby,” or if that performance is campaigned in supporting, this will fall by the wayside.  

Frances McDormand – “Moonrise Kingdom”
Wes Anderson‘s characters have always been a little too offbeat to manage to breakthrough to the Oscars, but as we said yesterday, we think this might have the potential to be the one to break through, and the performances might follow. From what we’ve read and seen, we think that former winner Frances McDormand (who’s managed two additional nominations since “Fargo“) might have the best chance. But if the film turns out to be more “The Darjeeling Limited” than “Rushmore,” count her out.  

Also In The Mix: After a nomination last year, Jessica Chastain has two possibilities: Kathryn Bigelow‘s Bin Laden movie, and “The Wettest County.” Neither seem like obvious material, but she’s clearly going to be an awards favorite for years to come. Mia Wasikowska could also turn up from “The Wettest County,” or even “Stoker,” while either Rose Byrne or Eva Mendes might break out from “A Place Beyond The Pines.” If the film works, Maggie Gyllenhaal might get a second nomination for her work with Viola Davis in “Won’t Back Down” as well. Finally, in a cast full of veterans, Julie Christie or Susan Sarandon might work in Robert Redford‘s “The Company You Keep.”

And, for the record, our definitive early picks.

Best Supporting Actor
Russell Crowe – “Les Miserables
Leonardo DiCaprio – “Django Unchained”
John Goodman – “Argo”
Sean Penn – “Gangster Squad”
Joaquin Phoenix – “The Master”

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams – “The Master”
Samantha Barks – “Les Miserables”
Isla Fisher – “The Great Gatsby”
Kelly Macdonald – “Anna Karenina”
Vanessa Redgrave – “Song For Marion”

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I think DiCaprio will be victorious. Joaquin Phoenix will be a very strong second. The buzz surrounding Russell Crowe is very new to me, although I do not doubt his screen presence. With his singing and brilliant acting, he might as well get nominated.

Joe H

Helena Bonahm Carter could also be a contender for Great Expectations


Tom Cruise should win for supporting role in RoA. He has completely taken over the character of Stacee Jaxx


If Crowe can pull of the singing, Best Supporting Actor is his to lose. Javert is not so much a supporting role, but a co-lead, and one that has all of the highs of the other co-lead, and none of the lows (not unlike Catherine Zeta-Jones's Velma Kelly in Chicago). Plus, he commits suicide out of self-loathing and guilt = Academy catnip.

I think, also, that depending on what Hooper does with the role, Sacha Baron Cohen's Thernadier could also be a contender.


Amy Adams WAS nominated for The Fighter. You should really fix that.


Judy Davis for Nero Fiddled.

Domi Arcangeli

While it seems way and way too early to make some of these anticipations, most of the films listed to my knowledge, have not even been completed yet, others don't even have set in stone, releases dates and they may be switched over to 2013!
What amazes me, is how often, these predictions always favor the names a little more popular at the Time, and leave, let's say, someone potent and always highly respected by the Academy and everyone else, like Julie Christie, just.. in the Mix!!!
Given that "The Company you Keep" will be in fact released before the end of 2012, and having read the great book,and hoping the film by Robert Redford and penned by the great Lem Dobbs, is just even a half that great, well, Julie Christie, finally matched opposite Redford (it was meant to happen since the times of "Butch Cassidy&the Sundance Kid" a film that Christie had to turn down in 1968) playing the haunting, key role of Mimi Lurie, in what could be one of the best turns and casting choices ever, if the Film allows,I believe Julie Christie should be the Front runner! And considering also that anytime she makes a movie these days (not too often, unfortunately) she seems to win them all,besides loosing the Academy Award,at the last minute, and very ashamedly so (see "Afterglow" in 1997 for which she should have really won over everyone else, and also for the recent,unforgettable portrait of Fiona in Sarah Polley's "Away from Her" in 2008). She is so amazing, so wonderful and iconic to get a movie just to next level of Class, just because she is in it! Yet, because she avoids publicity, and does not hire a Publicist like all Others, her amazing performances are validated only once she starts winning every virtual possible Critics' Award available!
I appreciate being creative (Samantha Barks for "Les Mirables" uh???) but, let's give some justice, not to only a veteran, as you call her, but most likely an Icon, who does not miss a beat!
Thank you very much! lol


Would you like to see Holliday Grainger nominated in the category of Best Supporting Actress for Great Expectations?

Nik Grape

Coriolanus reviews were mixed? Really? I thought it's generally considered to be great…I don't have much hope for Redgrave after the Coriolanus snub..


Russell Crowe used to sing in a band!!! He can sing.


I think it's DiCaprio's to lose.


Amy Adams is actually a THREE time nominee (Junebug/Doubt/Fighter) not a TWO time nominee. Just so u know.


I'm really hoping Cloud Atlas isn't a shit show and that Ben Whishaw picks up a supporting nom. Though the film is so stacked with Oscar Winnera I doubt they would campaign for him.


As I posted elsewhere under a similar Playlist blog post:

Gina Gershon and Juno Temple are both extraordinary in "Killer Joe." Whether they Academy will be able to stomach, let alone reward, such scabrous material remains to be seen, but both of those ladies will deservedly be part of the conversation next year.


What about Tom Cruise for Rock of Ages?


Here's my Best Actress & Best Supporting Actress suggestion lists for the 85th Academy Awards:

Best Actress

Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby)
Melanie Lynskey (Hello I Must Be Going)
Keira Knightley (Anna Karenina)
Helena Bonham Carter (Great Expectations)
Lily Collins (Mirror Mirror)
Andrea Riseborough (Shadow Dancer)

Best Supporting Actress

Kelly MacDonald (Anna Karenina)
Samantha Barks (Les Miserables)
Amy Adams (The Master)
Holliday Grainger (Great Expectations)
Isla Fisher (The Great Gatsby)


I hope Isla Fisher gets nominated ! I'm predicting her too! and Olivia Williams for Hyde Park on Hudson or Anna Karenina


re: Vanessa Redgrave's lack of a nomination for Coriolanus. I don't think it can be explained with a vague "mixed reception" for the film. A 90+ Rotten Tomatoes score is not "mixed". Even when the film wasn't praised, Redgrave was. Frankly I think it has more to do with Harvey Weinstein putting all of his eggs into one Artist-sized basket. He bought the film with an eye toward awards contention but then gave it very little support. It sounds like her 2012 role will be more Academy voter friendly but if she's nominated this year it will be at least in part to write the wrong of 2011.


Scoot McNairy for Coogan's Trade could be a possibility. And what about Christolph Waltz for Django Unchained. Is that a lead or supporting part?


Olga Kurylenko said in an interview in the french magazine "Numéro" this month that she has a lead part in the Untitled Malick project saying she was on set every day for 2 months in a half, week-ends included… She could be in the lead actress category…

Oogle monster

Am I crazy for considering Anne Hathaway in TDKR? Yep, I am. No need to confirm. Maybe if it were someone else… Rachel Weiz? What about Marion Cotilard in TDKR? Is that as cray cray? By the way, I love these prediction articles. Keep up the good work Playlisters!


I bet only one of them on the best sup actor and actress list will end up being nominated .


amy adams has three nominations to date.

good lists though!!!

Nik Grape

David Strathairn for Lincoln is the only one I can predict with any confidence at this point and you guys don't even mention him! Apart from DDL, his part is the meatiest by far, very respected guy, previous nominee etc. I'm a little stunned that you didn't predict him actually. Apart from DiCaprio (who would be my second one) I think Samuel Jackson has a great shot at being nominated for Django. From the script alone his role is probably the best of all and he is sorely in need of some Academy love.


Not gonna lie never heard of Song For Marion but you guys seem to think Stamp and Redgrave could get traction for it. Might need to look into it


The Domhnall Gleeson (two l's, Oliver!) mention kind of delights me because he's been consistently great in the last few years, and with the way Joe Wright's been talking about Anna Karenina, it sounds like they're keeping true to the spirit of the book with Levin's story being a reflection of Anna's. The media focus of course is on the starrier and more famous half of the story/cast, but his part could be very compelling. Good call!


I wonder if Pearce uglies up at all for "The Wettest County". The character as described in the novel is pretty fug, and we all know how the Academy loves good-looking actors who cover it up. (And "The Road" already demonstrated his willingness to do that for Hillcoat.)


It is highly possible for Samantha Banks & Anne Hathaway ( I heard her audition for her role was absolutely sensational beating out Amy Adams & Jessica Biel ) to be both nominated. This year both Octavia Spenser & Jessica Chastain were both nominated for " The Help." And , the year before , Melissa Leo & Amy Adams were also nominated together for , " The Fighter ."

It would be cool to see Russell Crowe, Sally Fields , & Albert Brooks comeback with Oscar nominations. Even though I feel Crowe doesn't have the singing chops to sing theatre songs. What about the love for Joseph Gordon Levitt ?


Also in the mix:

Robert De Niro in The Silver Linings Playbook (playing a charismatic, yet funny and eccentric dad)
James Gandolfini in Not Fade Away (playing a father in conflict with his son's dreams)
Kristin Scott-Thomas in Only God Forgives (playing against-type as a crazy mob boss)

And Ryan Gosling is only supporting in The Place Beyond the Pines; Bradley Cooper is definitely more the lead of the two.

Kyle D

Is there a link anywhere for their premature predictions for the supporting acting races? I can't find it

Jacques DeMolay

God DAMN if Leo DiCaprio doesn't get a statue soon. Him and Gary Oldman both just fucking need to be given one. Even if it's just someone saying "hey, we had one of these left over after the last show, thought you'd like to have it."

Bob Morton

Being a mostly subjective narrative following Phoenix as Freddie Sutton, it's hard to imagine a successful push for Hoffman as Best Actor even if he is the bigger name. Don't do a Gangs of New York. Push the actors in their respective categories. Phoenix for Best Actor, Hoffman for Best Supporting. Hoffman can win that category & maybe Phoenix can relaunch his career with a nom/win.


Amy Adams has 3 nominations. junebug, Doubt, the fighter.

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