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2018 Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actor

Anne Thompson’s assessment of the Oscar race includes Sam Rockwell, Armie Hammer, Willem Dafoe, Woody Harrelson and more. Updated 1/18/18.

“Call Me by Your Name”

Biopics, comedies, period pieces and intimate dramas: films that yield Best Supporting Actor nods come in all shapes and sizes. Recent years have shown that they come at all times of the calendar year, too.

READ MORE: 2018 Oscar Predictions

This year, Sundance yielded a good crop of contenders. Ray Romano impressed among the crowd-pleasing charms of “The Big Sick.” The biggest challenges facing nominations for anyone from “Mudbound” and “Call Me By Your Name” might be their fellow cast members. Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg could knock each other out of contention.

L1005610 - Charles (Patrick Stewart) and Logan (Hugh Jackman) in LOGAN. Photo Credit: James Mangold.


Photo Credit: James Mangold

For a beloved actor in his farewell outing in a role he made iconic, don’t count out Patrick Stewart’s grizzled work in “Logan.” At Cannes, A24 snapped up hot title “The Florida Project,” starring Willem Dafoe as a budget motel manager trying to look out for poor kids running wild near Orlando’s Disney World; he landed Globe and SAG nods.

"The Florida Project"

“The Florida Project”

At the fall festivals, SAG nominees Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson impressed as law enforcement targets of an angry mother’s (Frances McDormand) wrath about the unsolved mystery of her daughter’s murder. Rockwell won both the Globe and the Critics Choice awards.

SAG nominee Steve Carrell as tennis clown Bobby Riggs ably supports Emma Stone as feminist star Billie Jean King in the hugely entertaining 70s “Battle of the Sexes,” which is a commercial comedy that has picked up nominations from the Critics Choice, Globes Comedy and SAG, but may not look serious enough for Academy voters.

Among the long shots are Australian Ben Mendelsohn’s turn as King George VI  in Joe Wright’s “Darkest Hour.” As for that other World War II Oscar frontrunner “Dunkirk,” among its sprawling (and excellent) ensemble, only Oscar-winner Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”) and Kenneth Branagh have enough dialogue to sustain a nomination.

A list of early (alphabetical) possibilities is below. No one will be deemed a frontrunner until I have seen the film.


Willem Dafoe (“The Florida Project”)
Woody Harrelson (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”)
Richard Jenkins (“The Shape of Water”)
Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”)
Michael Stuhlbarg (“Call Me By Your Name”)


Steve Carell (“Battle of the Sexes”)
Armie Hammer (“Call Me By Your Name”)

Long Shots

Kenneth Branagh (“Dunkirk”)
Ben Mendelsohn (“Darkest Hour”)
Jason Mitchell (“Mudbound”)
Ray Romano (“The Big Sick”)
Mark Rylance (“Dunkirk”)
Patrick Stewart (“Logan”)

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