PART 5: THE MALE ACTING AWARDS
This hostless and apparently commercial-hampered and time-constrained 91st Academy Awards arrive on Sunday, February 25th. It’s time to breakdown each category and put some stone cold predictions into digital ink. Throughout the busy awards season, this website’s 2019 Awards Tracker has been my workspace to tally all the early award winners. That prognostication data is cited in these predictions. This column examines the races for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. As I say every year, stick with me and I will win you your Oscar pool!
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
The nominees: Mahershala Ali for Green Book, Adam Driver for BlacKkKlansman, Sam Elliott for A Star is Born, Richard E. Grant for Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Sam Rockwell for Vice
AWARDS TRACKER DATA: 20- Grant, 14- Ali, 5- Elliott, 5- Steven Yeun for Burning, 4- Michael B. Jordan for Black Panther, 2- Hugh Grant for Paddington 2,
2- Russell Hornsby for The Hate U Give, 1- Timothee Chalamet for Beautiful Boy,
1- Josh Hamilton for Eighth Grade
Who was snubbed: It feels like every year, you could double these acting fields to ten and still have five additional quality nominees. I’ve been a big Hugh Grant supporter for Paddington 2 all year. Michael B. Jordan was no Heath Ledger, but his Black Panther villain was outstanding. I know I was rooting for a second consecutive Oscar nomination for the young Timothee Chalamet for Beautiful Boy. On top of all those, there’s no refuting Steven Yeun’s number of award season wins.
Happy to be there: The reigning Best Supporting Actor Sam Rockwell, last year’s winner for (and I thought I wouldn’t have to write this long title anymore) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri had one good scene of caricature as the 44th President of the United States of America. His performance is easily the least and slightest of the nominees.
Who should win: The Road House and Big Lebowski fanboy in me wants to pick Sam Elliott, but even he’s not the best here. The fullest and most affecting performance of these final five belongs to Richard E. Grant of Can You Ever Forgive Me? He’s a respected actor and was the potent spike of Nicole Holofcener’s little film. As a career actor of stage and screen, this was his best and he deserves this.
Who will win: Grant and everyone else are going to lose to who will become a new and formidable two-time Oscar winner in Mahershala Ali for Green Book. It’s rare, even for a supporting award, for such a recent winner (two years ago for Moonlight) to be chosen right back again, but Ali’s BAFTA, Golden Globe, and SAG wins (all over Grant) seal this second trophy for his mantle.
The nominees: Christian Bale for Vice, Bradley Cooper for A Star is Born, Willem Dafoe for At Eternity’s Gate, Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody, Viggo Mortensen for Green Book
AWARDS TRACKER DATA: 31- Ethan Hawke for First Reformed, 8- Bale, 8- Malek, 2- Cooper, 2- Mortensen, 2- Marcello Fonte for Dogman, and eight more with one win.
Who was snubbed: Right there on the same level of crime as Won’t You Be My Neighbor? not getting called, there is no denying the egregious slight of Ethan Hawke. In my seven years of doing this “awards tracker” data chasing, I’ve never seen an acting favorite on this level of season dominance be excluded from the field. It’s a shame for Hawke and his career-best performance. Over and over, I’ve been saying it in these prediction columns. First Reformed is an underseen and lesser-marketed indie film going up against studio dollars. Another argument could be made for John David Washington for BlacKkKlansman.
Happy to be there: Willem Dafoe looks like he got a makeup nomination to pad his resume after losing as the favorite for Best Supporting Actor two years ago for The Florida Project. His film has the smallest viewership and his performance the least accolades of anyone else here.
Who should win: I was impressed as much as anyone by Christian Bale’s transformation into Dick Cheney in Vice. As arguably one of the best actors of his generation, Bale deserves to have a lead actor Oscar win to go with his supporting trophy for The Fighter. But, do you know who here doesn’t have even one Oscar against seven total career nominations? Bradley Cooper. A Star is Born began this awards season as the popular public favorite. Short of Best Original Song and an upset somewhere else, it’s going to win nothing else Sunday night. This is the place I would award all that Bradley Cooper did to improve upon the well-worn story he adapted, directed, and starred.
Who will win: Without Hawke, this became one of the most interesting contests of the entire Oscars. Golden Globe winners Christian Bale and Rami Malek from Bohemian Rhapsody filled in the void. It’s odd in a small way that the dueling favorites are coming from two polarizing and lesser-regarded films where their negatives are outshining their positives, including their very deserving acting performances. The SAG Award is the nearly ironclad separator here. That huge win went to Rami Malek. Per tradition, I think 2018 Best Actress winner Frances McDormand calls his name Sunday night and seals it.
NEXT: The female acting awards!
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