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‘The Fabelmans’ and ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ Fill the Best Supporting Actor Oscar Race

"The Fabelmans" and "The Banshees of Inisherin" boast multiple Best Supporting Actor possibilities, plus a few dark horse contenders emerge.

THE FABELMANS, from left: Gabriel LaBelle, Judd Hirsch, 2022. ph: Merie Weismiller Wallace / © Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

“The Fabelmans”

©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

This article contains IndieWire’s past Best Supporting Actor predictions for the 2023 Oscars. We regularly update our predictions throughout awards season, and republish previous versions (like this one) for readers to track changes in how the Oscar race has changed. For the latest update on the frontrunners for the 95th Academy Awards, see our 2023 Oscars predictions hub.

We will update all our Oscar predictions throughout the season, so keep checking IndieWire for the latest news from the 2023 Oscar race. The nomination round of voting will take place from January 12 to January 17, 2023, with the official Oscar nominations announced on January 24, 2023. The final voting is between March 2 and 7, 2023. Finally, the 95th Oscars telecast will be broadcast on Sunday, March 12 and air live on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT.

See our previous thoughts for what to expect at the 95th Academy Awards here.

The State of the Race

As awards season continues on, the Best Supporting Actor race has been whittled down to a handful of favored projects. The question is just how many actors from each film will squeak into the category on Oscar nominations morning.

“The Fabelmans,” the frontrunner for Best Picture, currently has the most potential to receive more than one Best Supporting Actor nomination. Judd Hirsch is getting the biggest push. The veteran actor has worked steadily in the 40 years after his first Oscar nomination in 1981 for “Ordinary People” (he lost Supporting Actor to co-star Timothy Hutton), and now his showstopper moment as an intimidating uncle with sage advice puts him on the road toward a long-deserved win. During the U.S. premiere of “The Fabelmans” at AFI Fest, the audience actually clapped for Hirsch after the scene.

Steven Spielberg’s auto-fiction of a kid falling in love with moviemaking as his parents drift apart could also yield a long overdue first nomination for Paul Dano’s subtle and restrained performance as his tech-savvy father. Will the actors branch reward such a quiet role?

They could go for the more noisy, brusque, and always unpredictable Irish stalwart Brendan Gleeson, who stars opposite Best Actor favorite Colin Farrell in Martin McDonagh’s mythic story of a broken friendship, “The Banshees of Inisherin,” which is chugging away at the specialty box office with $7.3 million in North America and counting. Shockingly, neither man has been nominated. If “Inisherin” proves a popular choice with Oscar voters, its coattails could pull in their younger co-star as well, the extraordinary Barry Keoghan.

Meanwhile, two dark horse contenders have emerged—one for a nomination, and one for the win. Though the AppleTV+ film “Causeway” is small, it has proven mighty with audiences. Jennifer Lawrence’s soulful lead performance (reminiscent of her Oscar-nominated turn in “Winter’s Bone”) certainly helps, but costar Brian Tyree Henry is the standout. The character actor comes off the end of “Atlanta,” the project that launched his TV and film career, with a heartrending role that provides the best showcase yet of his immense acting talent. Henry has been in the Best Supporting Actor conversation before, most notably for his pivotal scene in Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” follow-up “If Beale Street Could Talk,” but has never had the momentum he does now with both Indie Spirit and Gotham Awards nominations.

Ke Huy Quan also shares those recent accolades, but his film “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” which dominated the Indie Spirit Awards with eight nominations, is anything but small. The March release has become not only A24’s highest-grossing film yet ($70 million domestic), but now that more Academy members have seen it, a real contender across more Oscar categories than one might have anticipated. Momentum is building, especially among actors. Quan returned from a long break from the industry stronger than ever to play husband to powerhouse Michelle Yeoh in the multiversal action-comedy. His Waymond Wang is tender, philosophical, and easy to root for—a reflection of Quan himself.

If there are any Supporting contenders who could still catch a second wind, it would be Ben Whishaw of “Women Talking” and Micheal Ward of “Empire of Light,” who await their films’ release to general audiences.

Contenders are listed in alphabetical order, below. No actor will be deemed a frontrunner until we have seen the film.

Paul Dano (“The Fabelmans”)
Brendan Gleeson (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)
Brian Tyree Henry (“Causeway”)
Judd Hirsch (“The Fabelmans”)
Ke Huy Quan (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)

Woody Harrelson (“Triangle of Sadness”)
Barry Keoghan (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)
Mark Rylance (“Bones and All”)
Jeremy Strong (“Armageddon Time”)
Micheal Ward (“Empire of Light”)
Ben Whishaw (“Women Talking”)

Long Shots:
Ralph Fiennes (“The Menu”)
Tom Hanks (“Elvis”)
Anthony Hopkins (“Armageddon Time”)
Ben Foster (“Emancipation”)
Brad Pitt (“Babylon”)
Glen Powell (“Devotion”)
Eddie Redmayne (“The Good Nurse”)
Miles Teller (“Top Gun: Maverick”)

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