Of the four acting categories, Best Supporting Actor is always my favorite. This is a category that is always up in the air in terms of who is going to be nominated. Will it be a past winner? A wily veteran looking for their due? A hot up-and-coming actor making a splash? A great character actor who is moving up the ranks from “that guy” status? Every year is full of a who’s who of actors and this year is no different. These actors have all been around for a while and have all given great performances over their careers. Here are my picks for the best performances from this year’s Best Supporting Actor nominees.
Nominated for – Green Book
Best Performance – Moonlight
- Mahershala Ali gave one of the very best performances in 2016 and of the decade in Moonlight. I’ve loved Ali for a few years now, ever since he graced the screen as Remy Danton in Netflix’s House of Cards (2013), but Moonlight is Ali like we’ve never seen in him before. Juan is a human enigma. On one hand, he’s a sweet, warm-hearted father figure to bullied Chiron, who takes him under his wing and shows him meaning in his life. On the other hand, he’s a tough drug dealer perpetuating Chiron’s mother’s own addiction. Ali walks this line of the film’s flawed hero expertly and gives a performance that lead him to Oscar gold.
Nominated for – BlackKklansman
Best Performance – Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
- I could argue that Adam Driver is my favorite working actor today. He always picks unique roles, working with directors from Jim Jarmusch to Martin Scorsese to The Coen Brothers. Every performance is different and good, so picking his best was genuinely hard to do. But I am going with his performance as Kylo Ren in Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, the most divisive Star Wars movie ever made. In what may be the best performance ever in a Star Wars film (sorry, Alec Guinness), Driver gives a complex performance as our troubled villain struggling with his identity. On the one end, he’s trying to live in the shadow Darth Vader and be the leader of the First Order. But on the other, his conversations and relationship with Rey (a magnificent Daisy Ridley) shows a glimmer of hope for him. This is a powerful performance and one that showed Driver’s talent as an actor and magnetism as a movie star.
Nominated for – A Star is Born
Best Performance – The Big Lebowski
- Sam Elliot is an icon. Sitting at a cool 99 acting credits, the man has been appearing in movies and T.V. for over 50 years. During that time, Elliot has given us a number of brilliant performances like in Tombstone, The Contender, Ang Lee’s Hulk, and his Oscar nominated performance in this year’s A Star is Born. But I will never forget the moment I saw Elliot in The Coen Brother classic, The Big Lebowski. Simply known as ‘THE STRANGER’, Elliot acts as our narrator for most of the movie, utilizing his silky smooth voice to introduce us to our ultra-chill hero. But it’s when we see The Stranger at the bowling alley where Elliot shines. The combination of his gigantic cowboy hat, perfectly groomed mustache, and his conversations with The Dude, Elliot makes his presence known in just a brief moment. In a film filled with memorable characters, Elliot’s The Stranger is one of the best and a character and performance I would love to watch drink some good sarsaparilla any time.
RICHARD E. GRANT
Nominated for – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Best Performance – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
- Much like Elliot, Grant has been working for decades. With over 100 credits to his name, Grant is a chameleon on screen and blends into whatever movie he is in. I’ll admit, I haven’t seen a lot of Grant’s work, but I doubt he’s ever given a performance like the one he gave in Can You Ever Forgive Me?. This is the kind of performance that turns a working actor into a star. Playing the classiest swindler you’ll ever meet, Grant portrays a man who’s life is in all sorts of shambles, yet he rocks it like nothing is bothering him. It is a heartbreaking performance, as he plays a man who’s pride and dignity is all he has left. Grant’s name could be called for the golden statue on Sunday and it would be a glorious victory.
Nominated for – Vice
Best Performance – The Way Way Back
- Since Galaxy Quest, I have loved Sam Rockwell. Whatever movie he is in, whether good or bad, Rockwell always shows up and gives the best performance he can give. He has given a number of masterful performances over the years, like his Oscar-winning turn in Three Billboards and his one-man-show Moon. But Rockwell in The Way, Way Back is a performance that I fell in love with when I saw the film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. This movie highlights all the things we love about Rockwell. It shows him as a great comedic actor loaded with charisma who can flip on the dramatic switch when needed. Criminally robbed of an Oscar nomination in 2013, Rockwell showed why he is one of Hollywood’s great talents in this one.
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