Two major contenders fall hard this month as four rise. Previous #1 Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation) topples out of the top 5 after the dismal box office for Beasts. Now, that should come with a GIANT asterisk since it was a day and date release on Netflix but even the reviews are only good, not great. In a very rare turn, Netflix offered up viewership numbers for the film (“over 3 million”) in an effort to stave off the bad press it got but it’s probably too late. Tom Hardy (The Revenant) also finds himself down the list, tied with Elba for 6th place. Granted, it could be that so many new contenders emerged so strong. Robert De Niro (Joy) dominates in 1st place though, finding himself just one point away from a perfect score.
Mark Rylance returns, shooting all the way up to #2 (his highest spot) on the strength of Bridge of Spies‘ box office. Many feel the Emmy and Tony winner is a shoe-in even if his film’s star, Tom Hanks, is not. With all of the Spotlight actors (and actress) going supporting the two strongest fellas, Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton hold court at #3 and #4, respectively. This is an interesting dilemma as each have a good reason to be here. Ruffalo has the baitier part, two big monologues and some very actor-ly screaming. Keaton is far more subdued yet has a more traditional arc. He’s also the perfect candidate for the ‘afterglow’ nomination having just earned his first one this year for Birdman. There haven’t been two actors from the same film nominated in this category since Ben Kingsley and Harvey Keitel in 1991’s Bugsy. They both lost to Jack Palance in City Slickers.
The other newcomer is a real one. Jacob Tremblay in Room, who just turned 9-years old, could be the youngest actor nominated for an Oscar since Justin Henry in 1979’s Kramer vs. Kramer. His reviews have been stellar but what if the Academy doesn’t go for A24 putting him in the supporting category? He’s the true lead of the film; it’s told from his perspective with his narration and he even has more screen time than his co-star, Best Actress contender Brie Larson. It’s definitely easier for a child actor to get a supporting nomination than a leading one; you’d have to go all the way back to 1931 to find the only male child actor ever to get a leading nomination – Jackie Cooper for Skippy. Look at the case of Keisha Castle-Hughes in Whale Rider. The newcomer was put in supporting at the Screen Actors Guild (where she got nominated) but AMPAS was having none of that and she earned a Leading nomination at the Oscars.
Fellow Joy actor, Edgar Ramirez, has a single vote this month. That means that Bradley Cooper, who reportedly has minimal screen time, is a no-show here.
Another actor you’ll see missing this month is Samuel L. Jackson in The Hateful Eight. A former staple in the predictions for this category, rumors that he’ll be pushed lead (as well as co-star Kurt Russell) have dropped him from Best Supporting Actor…for now. Harvey Keitel (Youth), looking for his 2nd nomination, also tumbles off the list. This category is pretty highly competitive and if you look at the list of actors legitimately in the running it could end up far different than this list now. AW took a lot of grief from Jeff Wells for not including Paul Dano in Love & Mercy (“That’s not fair!”) in our predictions but there isn’t too much faith in Roadside Attractions ability to mount a strong enough campaign. He’s superb in the role, no doubt, but the Oscars are about campaigns more than performances much of the time. I don’t see a clamoring need by the Academy to reward Paul Dano right now. Elsewhere we have former top 5 candidate Benicio del Toro in Sicario, Christian Bale and Ryan Gosling in The Big Short, Sylvester Stallone in Creed and Tom Courtenay in 45 Years. All three are previous nominees and/or winners so they could easily topple this group and change it up big time.
Don’t forget, you can always get up to the minute Oscar predictions from the Gold Rush Gang on all of our 2016 Oscar Prediction Charts:
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
BEST FILM EDITING
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
BEST SOUND EDITING
BEST SOUND MIXING
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS