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Premature Oscar Predictions: The 2014 Best Supporting Actor & Actress Nominees

by Oliver Lyttelton
February 28, 2013 3:42 PM
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Benedict Cumberbatch August Osage County
Benedict Cumberbatch - "August: Osage County"
Right now, fast-rising star Benedict Cumberbatch has no Oscar nominations, but with five films on the way before the end of the year, it's entirely possible that by this time in 2014, he'll have two. We've already tipped him as a possibility in Best Actor as Julian Assange in "The Fifth Estate," but Cumberbatch could also figure into the supporting races. We suppose there's a slim chance of a nod for his "Star Trek Into Darkness" villain (only if it's a performance of Ledger-in-"The Dark Knight" or Bardem-in-"Skyfall" level genius), but much, much more likely is his role in the ensemble of "August: Osage County." The adaptation of Tracy Letts' Pulitzer Prize-winning play has plenty of actors who could make it in here (Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Dermot Mulroney), but probably the juiciest supporting role in the play is Cumberbatch's 'Little' Charles Aiken, the unemployed screw-up son of Margo Martindale and Chris Cooper's characters. Playing a midwestern slacker would be an impressive demonstration of his range, and if the film takes off, the role might well figure in as well as (or indeed, instead of) "The Fifth Estate."

Will Forte -"Nebraska"
Yes, it's entirely viable that this time next year, the ex-SNLer and "MacGruber" star will be an Oscar nominee. The casting of Will Forte in Alexander Payne's latest, a black-and-white road movie about a father and son, raised some eyebrows when it was announced, but the director has proved to be an expert at casting people against type in the past (Chris Klein in "Election," Dermot Mulroney in "About Schmidt," Thomas Haden Church in "Sideways," Matthew Lillard in "The Descendants"), and Forte's talent has never been in question, even if he's never had a role to test him like this one. He's likely a co-lead in the film, but we're pretty sure that the studio will push Dern, as the veteran, in the lead, and make Forte the supporting player, where he's likely to have a better chance at registering.

James Gray Low Life
Joaquin Phoenix - "Lowlife"
The star of 'The Master" made his feelings clear about awards season late last year, but still went on to get a nomination for the film, and even diligently sat and eye-rolled his way through the ceremony. As such, his comments don't seem to have done him much harm, so he could well figure into the race this year, with his best chance likely coming with James Gray's "Lowlife." His previous collaborations with the filmmaker haven't led to nominations, but the muscle of The Weinstein Company is behind it and expecting big things, and Phoenix gets to bring out his nasty streak (which previously got him a nod in the category for "Gladiator") as a pimp exploiting Marion Cotillard's immigrant. As we've said before in these pieces, the film may turn out to be a critic's favorite more than an awards player, but Phoenix's talents mean that he's always worth considering.

Serena Jennifer Lawrence Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper - "Serena"
A couple of years ago the idea that Bradley Cooper could get an Oscar nomination would have been laughable, but "The Hangover" star proved the doubters wrong when his excellent performance in "Silver Linings Playbook" was rightly given a nod. As such, Cooper's definitely in the club, and has multiple possibilities on the way (a turn in "The Place Beyond The Pines" that might be even better, though a longer shot to be nominated, and another movie with David O. Russell). But the one we've got our eye on is Susanne Bier's "Serena." A reteam with 'Silver Linings' star Jennifer Lawrence, it's a period piece about greed, ambition and murder, and about as different a follow-up to the comedy-drama as you could imagine. Lawrence's is definitely the juicier role, but Cooper will have plenty to play with as well, and if he can pull it off, he could be back for his second year in a row.

Javier Bardem The Counselor
Javier Bardem - "The Counselor"
Five years on from his victory in this category with "No Country For Old Men," Javier Bardem got some buzz for a possible nomination for another villain, in the shape of Silva in "Skyfall." It failed to materialize, but Bardem's still certainly a threat this time around, as the actor is appearing as another no-good type in a Cormac McCarthy work, this time in Ridley Scott's "The Counselor." The actor has a major supporting part as Reiner, a client of the title character (Michael Fassbender) who helps him get involved in the criminal world. It's not dissimilar to the kind of role that Bardem's played before, but there's lots of meat to it, and the actor's sure to find a new twist on it.
Also In Contention: One immediate thought we had was Casey Affleck in "Out Of The Furnace," but the role is a small one -- Woody Harrelson or Willem Dafoe might be better bets. Meanwhile, only a fool would discount someone from "Monuments Men" breaking out, though at this stage it's difficult to guess who it might be. Other possibilities include Michael Fassbender in "Twelve Years A Slave," Matthew McConaughey or Jonah Hill in "Wolf Of Wall Street," Tim Roth in "Grace of Monaco," Jared Leto in "Dallas Buyers Club," Philip Seymour Hoffman in "A Most Wanted Man," John Goodman in "Inside Llewyn Davis," one of the various presidents in "The Butler," Harrison Ford in "42" (though an April release suggests otherwise), Dane DeHaan in "The Place Beyond The Pines," or Joel Edgerton, Jason Clarke or Tobey Maguire in "The Great Gatsby." We'd love for either James Franco in "Spring Breakers" or Ben Foster in "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" to happen, but they're probably unlikely, while one to keep an eye on is Hiroyuki Sanada; the Japanese actor has a major role opposite Colin Firth in "The Railway Man."

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  • Edmond | August 4, 2013 3:30 AMReply

    Just saw "The Way, Way Back" today, and I was walking out saying Rockwell should earn a supporting nod for this. He reminded me of Renée Zellweger in "Cold Mountain", I remember saying the same thing about her goofy part in that. I also think Liam James deserves a best actor nomination for his work. This was a brilliant film. Love loved!

  • christopher loup | June 28, 2013 6:23 AMReply

    I think that Kristin Scott thomas has strong potential of being a contender in the best supp actress category. She plays a role out of her usual ones and with great success. I really hope she gets a nod.

  • GERARD KENNELLY | March 11, 2013 11:18 AMReply

    here are my very early predictions


    lindsay burdge A TEACHER
    shailene woodley THE SPECTACULAR NOW
    zoe saldana BLOOD TIES
    Trieste Kelly Dunn LOVES HER GUN
    kate winslet LABOR DAY
    ... rooney mara SIDE EFFECTS
    carey mulligan THE GREAT GATSBY
    noomi rapace DEAD MAN DOWN
    nicole kidman GRACE OF MONACO
    cate blanchett BLUE JASMINE
    carey mulligan INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
    jennifer lawrence SERENA
    naomi watts DIANA
    meryl streep AUGUSY OSAGE COUNTY
    michelle monaghan GUS
    michelle pfeiffer MALAVITA
    brie larson SHORT TERM 12
    julianne moore WHAT MAISIE KNEW


    robert deniro MALAVITA
    bruce dern NEBRASKA
    michael fassbender THE COUNSELOR
    casey affkleck AINT THEM BODIES SAINTS
    billy crudup BLOOD TIES
    benedict cumberbatch THE FIFTH ESTATE
    forest whitaker THE BUTLER
    tom hanks CAPTAIN PHILIPS
    leonardo dicaprio WOLF WALL STREET
    joseph gordon levitt DON JON
    robert redford ALL IS LOST
    ashton kutcher JOBS
    leonardo dicaprio THE GREAT GATSBY
    matthew mcconaughey MUD
    ryan gosling ONLY GOD FORGIVES
    paul walker HOURS
    edward james olmos GO FOR SISTERS
    robert redford THE COMPANY YOU KEEP
    josh brolin OLDBOY


    kristin scott thomas ONLY GOD FORGIVES
    sally hawkins BLUE JASMINE
    cameron diaz THE COUNSELOR
    radha mitchell GUS
    julie christie THE COMPAY YOU KEEP
    scarlett johansen DON JON
    hailee steinfeld CAN A SONG SAVE YOUR LIFE
    olga kurylenko TO THE WONDER
    julia roberts AUGUST OSAGE COUNTY
    elizabeth olsen OLDBOY


    tom hanks SAVING MR BANKS
    russell crowe RUSH
    james caan BLOOD TIES
    sam rockwell THE WAY WAY BACK
    brad pitt THE COUNSELOR
    will forte NEBRASKA
    tommy lee jones MALAVITA
    shia labeouf THE COMPANY YOU KEEP
    javier bardem TO THE WONDER
    chris cooper AUGUST OSAGE COUNTY
    tobey maguire THE GREAT GATSBY
    matthew mcconaughey DALLAS BUYERS CLUB
    terence howard DEAD MAN DOWN
    bradley cooper THE PLACE BEYON THE PINES
    sharlto copley OLDBOY
    matthew mcconaughey WOLF WALL STREET
    alan rickman THE BUTLER
    javier bardem THE COUNSELOR
    tony danza DON JON

  • Zena | March 4, 2013 6:34 PMReply

    I'm shocked that they're all white. That's so unlike the Academy Awards and Hollywood.

  • Josh | March 2, 2013 8:31 PMReply

    Nicole Kidman in The Railway Man

  • 23553 | March 2, 2013 3:10 PMReply

    I would love to see Will Forte get a nod, I really like him.

  • Josh | March 1, 2013 5:31 PMReply

    Barbara in 'August: Osage County' is definitely a lead role. Some would say it's even bigger than Violet (Streep). Amy Morton was in lead at the Tony Awards and it would be an incredible stretch to say that there are not two co-leads in the piece.

  • Tom | March 1, 2013 8:02 AMReply

    LOL! Cumberbatch is "Little Charles"?! This is gonna be awesome. From a genius dettective, a terrifying villain in Star Trek, Smaug the Dragon and "US enemy 1" in The Fifth Estate to a dumb, unemployed, man-child?! I am so looking forward to this!

  • droopy | February 28, 2013 7:26 PMReply

    im amazed at hoe much faith you guys seem to have in the great gatsby. seeing as luhrman is lady gaga-ing it up big time its obviously gonna be utter shit

  • Duddi | February 28, 2013 7:21 PMReply

    What about Pitt in "The Counselor" ... he's great in supporting roles (12 Monkeys; Burn After Reading,Babel and The Tree of Life come to mind)... and also Paul Giamatti in "Saving Mr. Banks" and maybe any member of "Last Vegas" can have a big time party in that movie (De Niro, Douglas, Freeman and Kline)... also worth mentioning "Mickey Rourke" in Sin City or

  • Ohh | February 28, 2013 6:00 PMReply

    Good god the what Bardem looks like in the counselor? Haha!

  • j bone | February 28, 2013 4:38 PMReply

    ruffalo,rockwell,renner,fassbender and bardem that's my list book it right now

  • IO | February 28, 2013 4:27 PMReply

    I suspect you have underrated Michael Fassbender. First feedback about his performance in "12 years slave" is very impressive.

  • wes | February 28, 2013 4:25 PMReply

    I usually hate when comments say "this post is dumb," "jeez, guys. don't you have anything better to write about?" or some other trollish comment. But these premature predictions are kind of ridiculous. Props if y'all are spot on though. :)

  • Lili | February 28, 2013 4:23 PMReply

    Why is there nobody from the cast of Blood Ties? Mila Kunis, Billy Crudup, James Caan, Marion Cotillard? At least one of them will be worth mentioning.

  • GERARD KENNELLY | March 11, 2013 11:13 AM

    i think billy crudup is a fearless actor
    ever since i saw him in ALMOST FAMOUS
    he was the best part of Public Enemies

    i love the french thriller RIVALS (which blood ties is a remake of )

    when you watch the french one
    you will see why they cast James Caan as the father
    he will be 100% perfect for that part

  • oogle monster | February 28, 2013 4:19 PMReply

    What about Cate Blanchett in Monuments Men?

  • paul | June 30, 2013 3:52 PM

    well said!!!

  • Shanon | February 28, 2013 7:49 PM

    Of course she should be considered, alongside Oprah for The Butler (Oprah !), Nicole Kidman for The Railway man (long-suffering wife) and even maybe Reese Witherspoon for The Devil's Knot (long-suffering mother). Oh, and we have learnt that Jackie Weaver is now always one to keep an eye on (she's in Parkland, Stoker and Labor Day).

  • Lou | February 28, 2013 4:13 PMReply

    Keep an eye out for Vithaya Pansringarm in "Only God Forgives."

  • GERARD KENNELLY | March 11, 2013 11:14 AM

    http://www.facebook. dot com/pages/Vithaya-Pansringarm-Best-Supporting-Actor-2014/350810541691865?fref=ts

  • Pluert | February 28, 2013 3:59 PMReply

    No actor/actress is getting a nomination for The Great Gatsby. Let it go, it's not an awards contender other than the technical categories.

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