The only acting category to remain in a perpetual state of flux this year is Best Supporting Actor. Believe it or not there's but one sure thing. Eddie Murphy is the only contender to score in all the precursory ways (BFCA, GG, SAG and a critics awards). Beyond him, any combo of men seem possible. How did this happen?
The NBR and the BFCA
The two early groups started the drum rolling for 'best overachievement in screaming' by Djimon Hounsou in Blood Diamond (perhaps edging out Brad Pitt's yell-a-thon in Babel?)
Djimon Hounsou -Blood DiamondThe BFCA, which itself practices Oscar Prediction overachievement, also noted that they thought the following performers had a shot @ the Kodak theater in February:
Ben Affleck - Hollywoodland
Alan Arkin -Little Miss Sunshine
Adam Beach - Flags Of Our Fathers
Eddie Murphy -Dreamgirls
Jack Nicholson -The Departed
The Big Three Critics Groups (NYFCC, LAFCA, NSFC)
The plot thickened when the three most important critical bodies didn't agree. Los Angeles said Michael Sheen for The Queen. New York gave their kudos to comeback kid Jackie Earle Haley in Little Children. The National Society of Film Critics, the final major critics groups, enjoyed the s***-talking stylings of Mark Wahlberg. More names for Oscar to think about.
Jackie Earle Haley -Little Children
Michael Sheen -The Queen
Mark Wahlberg -The Departed
Mark Wahlberg -The Departed
The many smaller critical organizations tend to color within the already set Oscar lines. This year six men divvied up the wealth. The overall tally of prizes from the critics so far --yes there's more to come-- is as follows (if I'm counting correctly): Haley: 8. Sheen: 4. Nicholson: 3. Hounsou: 3. Wahlberg: 2.Murphy: 2.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, who love themselves some movie star wattage, so they went with the biggest names: Affleck, Murphy, Nicholson, Wahlberg and then they added another celebrity to the supporting actor mix
Brad Pitt -Babel
Screen Actors Guild
The massive actors union went with the previously honored Arkin, Haley, Hounsou, and Murphy. But for their final trick, in a truly confusing move, they threw a lead actor into the supporting ool of names...
Leonardo DiCaprio -The Departed
In case you haven't figured out where this is going: that's a lot of names for AMPAS voters to think about. That's especially weird when you consider that it wasn't a banner year for supporting actors. Raise your hand if you think this list of performances is truly special. Meanwhile in the Best Actress race, with at least a dozen fine portrayals to choose from, there's virtually no variety. Oh the mysteries of Oscar season.
Beyond the lack of agreement from precursors lives more doubt. Many of the performers have strikes against them: Alan Arkin is a veteran but he's also from a big cast who can siphon votes. Hounsou could ride that damn Blood Diamond wave but he's one of the very few who can't get a boost from being in a buzzy Best Picture. Jack Nicholson is an Oscar fav but some feel he's just playing "Jack" again. Pitt is a massive star but reaction to the film and his performance is mixed. Haley, the critical leader, is playing the kind of role that Oscar almost never recognizes. In fact, I can't think of a single time when such a role has been nominated. If deviant roles are nominated they are almost always in easily digestable "love to hate" form which his is not. He does have that great "comeback" hook but so to, to a lesser degree, have Affleck and Murphy.
This, awards junkies, is the only truly volatile acting race. Balloting will be tight. Who will prevail? Dozens of heads are better than one --try and figure this out in the comments.
Related Pages and Posts:
Oscar Pages * Globes * SAG * My Top Ten * Critics Awards * Djimon Hounsou * Brad Pitt * Brad in Blue. Jack in the Green * Brangelina in Wax * Brad Pitt's Girls in Melissa Etheridge Videos *
Tags: movies, cinema, Brad Pitt, supporting actor, blood diamond, film, Eddie Murphy, Jack Nicholson,Oscars, Academy Awards, Babel, Leonardo DiCaprio