OSCAR BREAKDOWN: Best Supporting Actor
There are many ways this year’s Best Supporting Actor race can go. While one performance remains to be a standout for me, this is the one acting category this year where any one of the nominees stand a good chance of winning. There are a couple of actors that many critics and viewers feel are overdue for an Oscar and there are also a couple who delivered some of their best work and many are expecting them to be acknowledged for it come March 4th.
Despite the difficult task of ranking these performances, I was able to select my personal choice for the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award of 2017, starting with my least likely to win to my favorite performance. At the end of this post, I will share who I think the Academy will select to win the award this year.
So, let’s get to it! Starting with…
All the Money in the World
You can’t really blast Plummer’s work in this film after he came on board to replace Kevin Spacey who completed his role as J. Paul Getty and was featured in the first trailer promo for All the Money in the World. Shortly before the film’s release, allegations towards Kevin Spacey’s sexual misconduct in the past began circulating and due to the controversy, Director Ridley Scott brought in Christopher Plummer to quickly reshoot his role in the film. I suppose avoiding controversy from The Academy worked in this instance as Plummer’s performance was highly praised among critics. Christopher Plummer is currently the oldest recipient of the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Beginners in 2011 (He was 82 years old at the time). While his performance in All the Money in the World was some of his best work, especially considering the short amount of time he had to prepare for the role, I am not expecting a second win for Plummer this year.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
I must admit, I was very surprised to see Woody Harrelson be recognized by The Academy for his work in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri because this film is just loaded with top-notch performances that I thought he might get lost in the crowd. Fortunately, The Academy acknowledged Harrelson’s work and I’m glad to see him in this year’s list of nominees. As Sheriff Willoughby, Harrelson creates a brutally honest character that while you may not trust his judgment, you can understand and sympathize with his situation. He isn’t much of a fighter but more of a realist given his troubling circumstance. Woody Harrelson was fully committed to this character.
The Florida Project
When the 2017 awards season was just starting to begin, one of the first names brought up was veteran actor Willem Dafoe whose work on this small independent film seemed to speak to audiences and critics. The Florida Project is centered around a young girl living in a motel in Orlando with her stubborn mother. Willem Dafoe plays Bobby, the manager of The Magic Castle Motel. While the entire cast is very authentic in their work, Dafoe delivers a very powerful performance as a controlling and yet protective adult. He delivers one of his best performances in recent years and although other actors in this category are receiving a lot of Oscar buzz, Dafoe still stands a good chance of winning as he has yet to win an Academy Award despite being nominated for his work in this past.
The Shape of Water
Out of all the performances on this list, Richard Jenkins’s portrayal of Giles in the highly praised fantasy film The Shape of Water spoke the most to me. This is the man we see sitting alone at the diner. Giles is afraid. Afraid of living because the world outside is so new and so intimidating that he chooses to hide away. His only real connection to the world is through his only friend, a mute woman. The few instances he attempts at outside human contact, he fails. This is what is so gripping to me. The general theme of The Shape of Water is acceptance of unusual things. Richard Jenkins plays a gay man in the 1960s and the world was a much different place in those times than it is today. In a film full of great performances, Jenkins’s performance really made the biggest impact on me.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Every now and then, an actor or actress will receive an Oscar nomination and it doesn’t hit you until much later just how overlooked their past work has been. This is the first Oscar nomination for Sam Rockwell and I am completely puzzled by that. Here is an actor who has been turning out brilliant performances for years. But in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Rockwell is at his absolute best. We all know that guy. The one who still lives with his mom, who drinks a little too much, and can’t handle any real responsibility. Sam Rockwell plays this highly done character archetype better than any actor I’ve seen. Although the film is more centered on Frances McDormand's character, it’s Sam Rockwell’s portrayal of Officer Jason Dixon that exemplifies a character in a film that by the finale comes full circle. What I really liked about Rockwell’s performance was that to me, there was not a moment where I felt I was watching an actor deliver an “Oscar-bait” performance. He was in full character mode and didn’t rest on what critics might think of his work. And that is what puts Sam Rockwell at the top of my list.
Here is how I think the Academy will vote for Best Supporting Actor:
Best Supporting Actor 2017 – Sam Rockwell for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
2nd - Willem Dafoe for The Florida Project
3rd - Richard Jenkins for The Shape of Water
4th - Woody Harrelson for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
5th - Christopher Plummer for All the Money in the World
Who do you think will win?
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Be sure to watch the 90th Academy Awards on March 4th!