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.
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 very well be their fellow cast members. Time (and wider audience reactions) will tell how Netflix and Sony Pictures Classics position the candidates from their respective ensembles.
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.” And Kevin Kline could sneak in for his touching singing role as Belle’s father in Disney blockbuster musical “Beauty and the Beast.”
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.
At the fall festivals, 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. 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 may not look serious enough for Academy voters.
Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird” (A24) is picking up momentum at fall festivals and could go all the way, pulling with it not only Saoirse Ronan as a younger version of Gerwig but the actors playing her parents, theater stars Laurie Metcalf and Tracy Letts.
Mark your calendar for Thanksgiving and Joe Wright’s “Darkest Hour.” Australian Ben Mendelsohn’s turn as King George VI could crack this actor’s actor into the Oscar nominee ranks. As for that other World War II Oscar frontrunner “Dunkirk,” along its sprawling (and excellent) ensemble, only Oscar-winner Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”) has 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”)
Ben Mendelsohn (“Darkest Hour”)
Jason Mitchell (“Mudbound”)
Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”)
Michael Stuhlbarg (“Call Me By Your Name”)
Steve Carell (“Last Flag Flying”)
Armie Hammer (“Call Me By Your Name”)
Woody Harrelson (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”)
Richard Jenkins (“The Shape of Water”)
Tracy Letts (“Lady Bird”)
Ray Romano (“The Big Sick”)
Mark Rylance (“Dunkirk”)
Sterling K. Brown (“Marshall”)
Josh Gad (“Marshall”)
Tom Hardy (“Dunkirk”)
Garrett Hedlund (“Mudbound”)
Dustin Hoffman (“Meyerowitz Stories”)
Kevin Kline (“Beauty and the Beast”)
Patrick Stewart (“Logan”)