Steve’s Oscar Predictions, Part 3: Best Supporting Actor

Best Supporting Actor Nominations (odds of winning):

Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln) (3 to 1)

Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) (4 to 1)

Robert DeNiro (Silver Linings Playbook) (4 to 1)

Alan Arkin (Argo) (15 to 1)

Phillip Seymour Hoffman (The Master) (20 to 1)

BSActor

Will Win: Tommy Lee Jones

Should Win: Christoph Waltz

Should Have Been There: Bruce Willis (Looper or Moonrise Kingdom)

This is a tough one to call. At first it seemed that Jones would easily take this as part of a large haul by Lincoln. That large haul seems unlikely now, but Jones may still ride Daniel Day-Lewis’ Lincoln coattails to victory. His effort in presenting Thaddeus Stevens’ struggle to do what was right, while also doing what was necessary, had both depth and lightness. He is deserving of recognition (for both this and for Hope Springs), but his Oscar is far from a sure thing.

I would love to see Waltz follow his Golden Globe win with another one here. Django Unchained was one of my favorite movies of the year. Tarantino has a good shot at winning Best Original Screenplay, but I would be pleased if an Oscar for Waltz added to the film’s take. The movie has greater moral complexity than it is given credit for and that complexity comes to life in Waltz’ character as he moves from such delight early in the film to registering disgust and despair in response to the treatment of the slaves. Early on it seemed that he had the best chance at beating Jones, but now it seems as though DeNiro is coming on strong. If he wins, it could signal a strong run by Silver Linings Playbook over the rest of the evening. But, then again, it might not.

Arkin’s slim hopes rest on the fact that he was playing a Hollywood character, which may gain him some votes, and, more importantly, he played that part in Argo, which has had a strong showing during the awards season. However, Argo’s success hasn’t translated to wins for Arkin yet and that isn’t likely to change here. As for Hoffman, see what I said about Phoenix in the Best Actor category, because it applies here, too. The Master has been anything but masterful in gaining recognition and I think that is appropriate. I am a huge fan of Hoffman, loving him in a wide range of roles from small to large, so I had high hopes for this one. His performance as Lancaster Dodd felt strained, which is something I’ve never come close to thinking about Hoffman before. Maybe I need to see it again, but I’m not sure I want to!

Rather than being reminded of how disappointed I was with The Master, I wish Bruce Willis was here rather than PSH. I would have been pleased if he was nominated for either Looper or Moonrise Kingdom. Both of those films are in my top five and were virtually ignored by the Academy. Willis was wonderful (in very different ways) in both of them.

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