The top three in Best Supporting Actor this month remain unchanged in position and point total from last month. Liam Neeson (Silence) feels like an unstoppable force and will be if the film lives up to what is already a very high expectation. Steve Martin, an Honorary Oscar winner, seems primed for his first competitive Oscar nomination but there is still much debate about how much screen time and impact his character has in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk in the progression from book to film. Armie Hammer, while remaining strong on the list, feels a bit penciled in and as the main white character in a story about a slave revolt and the idea of nominating him might feel a bit odd. Or, with this Academy, the ‘white savior complex’ will feel just right.
The big move this month is from Mahershala Ali in Moonlight. He jumps from #8 to #4 and nearly doubles in point total in doing so. His co-star Andre Holland (#4 last month) falls to #6 but is still a strong contender. Since Moonlight is an unproduced play, we only know so much about potential screen time. As more unfolds we could see category movement with at least one of them.
A whopping five actors drop off the list this month. Brendan Gleeson by default as his film, Live By Night, is now a 2017 release. Jude Law (Genius) is out and if you’ve seen the trailer you know why. Oscar-winner J.K. Simmons (La La Land) could very well come back he’s gone for now. Michael Shannon had hit #5 last month with Loving but word from the actor himself that he filmed a mere cameo as a favor to director Jeff Nichols made Gold Rush Gang members less inclined to support a nomination for him there. Instead, his stock for the Jake Gyllenhaal-Amy Adams dramatic thriller Nocturnal Animals (from Tom Ford) rises up one.
Two newcomers this month come in the form of John Goodman in 10 Cloverfield Lane and Tadanobu Asano in Silence. For Goodman, his notices have been so strong that Oscar talk exploded. But, it’s only April and the film is a genre horror/thriller. How long can that buzz really last? For Asano he joins what is looking like a very busy category for the men of Silence. Like any number of the so far unseen films, screen time will be crucial as well as impact.
Looking at the ‘Other Contenders’ list there’s definitely potential in Lucas Hedges in Manchester by the Sea, especially if Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams continue their top tier placement. Alden Ehrenreich (Untitled Howard Hughes Film) could really break through this year – he has three films in contention with this as well as The Yellow Birds and Hail, Caesar! Aaron Eckhardt has two potential films to give him his first Oscar nomination, Sully and Bleed for This.
Here are the April 2016 predictions for BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR. Follow the Gold Rush Gang’s predictions in this category here.