The most exciting prize at The Oscars 2016: Best Supporting Actor

If Leonadro DiCarprio doesn’t win Best Actor at The Oscars, something is definitely wrong. Seeing as he has swept the board this awards’ season for his role in The Revenant, it doesn’t make the opening of the envelope that exciting. Personally, I’m looking forward to Best Supporting Actor being awarded, as it’s not a sure thing.

Christian Bale: The Big Short
Christian Bale took on another transformative role with fake teeth and a glass eye as the eccentrically bright Dr Michael Burry in The Big Short. This film had a strong ensemble cast, but I’m not sure if Bale was the standout for me. He is more like a cog in a greater machine.

Bale has already been awarded for this role with a Critics’ Choice Award, for Best Actor in a Comedy. Personally, I felt Ryan Gosling’s character got more laughs in the film. Bale is held in high regard with the Academy, having previously won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in 2011’s The Fighter. Comparing his performance in The Big Short to that in The Fighter: I don’t think this is his year.

Tom Hardy: The Revenant
Tom Hardy has had quite a year, with great turns in as both Kray twins in Legend, the ten-times Oscar nominated Mad Max: Fury Road, and one of the most talked about films of the year: The Revenant, for which he is nominated for Best Supporting Actor.
Hardy delivers an excellent role as Leonardo DiCaprio’s nemesis, John Fitzgerald, in the film and is definitely in the running for scooping the award. But his presence, of lack there of, has been noted on The Revenant’s campaign trail. He puts it down to filming for his next project, Taboo, but he has admitted before that he is not a fan of the award circuit. “It’s like putting a wig on a dog, or a tutu on a crocodile. It doesn’t look right, it’s not fair to the animal, and inevitably someone will get bitten and hurt,” he said in an interview in October. Unfortunately, the Academy likes actors to parade themselves, so may not look kindly on the fact that Hardy has chosen to withdraw from the campaign process.

Mark Ruffalo: Spotlight
Like Bale, I think Ruffalo is an essential part of a great ensemble cast for Spotlight, but I am unsure if his performance is worthy of an Oscar. I have always admired Ruffalo, and for a long time I thought he was one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood: he always delivers amazing performances (Zodiac, The Normal Heart) and seems like a generally nice guy. But thanks to a role in The Avengers blockbusters, and critically acclaimed films like The Kids Are Alright and Foxcatcher, he is now getting the attention he deserves.
Ruffalo delivers as strong performance alongside a great cast in Spotlight, which is in strong contention for Best Film. But what sets him apart from his co-stars is the compassion that his character portrays: in a scene with a shouting match, you can really feel his anger. But is it enough to win him the coveted award: the third Oscar he’s been nominated for?
Mark Rylance: Bridge of Spies
Next up is Mark Ryalance, the stage thespian turned screen star. He bagged the BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Rudolf Abel, the soviet spy in Spielberg’s Cold War epic, Bridge of Spies. Rylance first came to the fore on the small screen in Wolf Hall in 2015, where he played the shifty Thomas Cromwell with great depth. The same can be said for his turn as Abel in Bridge of Spies: he keeps his cards close to his chest opposite Tom Hanks’ lawyer. His acting is subtle, but sublime and is a stand out in the film.

But will he win the Oscar? He has all the qualifications: RADA, RSC-alumni and first artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe. But this doesn’t necessarily concern the Academy: look at Brie Larson, first time nominee, who (like DiCaprio) has won nearly every Best Actress award going this year. But he’s definitely in contention for Best Supporting Actor.
Sylvester Stallone: Creed
Finally, we have Sylvestor Stallone, reprising his role as Rocky Balboa for the seventh time. He was nominated for Best Actor and Best Screenplay for the original Rocky film but lost out in both categories. But since then, his films have remained a big box office draw, taking a combined total of over $1bn, proving his popularity with cinema-goers.

Stallone picked up Best Supporting Actor at the Golden Globes this year and even received a standing ovation: which gives a good indication of what those in the industry (and Oscar voters) think. However, the film itself, Creed, was not nominated for Best Picture, or any other awards for that matter: Stallone is its sole representative at the Oscars. The award should be judged on an actor’s performance alone, but back up from a strong cast and script always helps.

CBS are running an Oscar Poll. At present, Sylvester Stllone is in front with 34% of the votes, followed by Hardy at 26%, Rylance and Ruffalo are tied at 15%, and Christian Bale is in last place with 10%. But this doesn’t necessarily reflect the Academy’s decision. It also doesn’t entirely reflect the awards that have already been picked up.

Winners at (the big) 2016 ceremonies so far:

BAFTAs: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

SAGs: Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation

Golden Globes: Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Critics’ Choice: Sylvester Stallone, Creed

(Best Actor in a Comedy) Critics’ Choice: Christian Bale, The Big Short

Idris Elba was notably overlooked for a nomination at this year’s Oscars amid the #OscarsSoWhite race row. It seems like he should have been in the running, after standing a good chance at the BAFTAs and Globes and scooping the SAG Award.

Going on past winners and general opinion. Stallone is the favourite to win the award. But it’s not a sure thing. He has been overlooked by the academy since the original Rocky, and Creed itself was passed over for lots of nominations this year where many thought it was worthy. It is a great comeback story, and as ever, everyone loves the underdog story that Rocky embodies. So perhaps this is Sly’s year? Let’s wait and see…


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