UPDATE 10/21: Netflix announced late Wednesday morning that Chadwick Boseman will indeed be submitted and pushed in Best Actor for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. He has been removed from this month’s prediction chart for supporting actor for that film and added for Da 5 Bloods.
Supporting Actor and Lead Actor have become rife with potential category placement upheaval at the highest level and could really change both races immensely.
Both Chadwick Boseman (Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) and Steven Yeun (A24’s Minari) have mostly shown up in supporting but there is a solid argument for both of them being lead contenders.
Netflix is bullish on Boseman’s chances in both categories but they have a clear push in Delroy Lindo for Da 5 Bloods, which they officially announced would be pushed lead. Does that open the door for double Boseman nods? Possibly, but it’s really an outside shot. While Scarlett Johansson just did it last year, her supporting turn was substantial and each of her performances came from Best Picture nominees. So far, we’ve only seen the trailer for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom but the marketing, and the trailer itself, really seems to be pushing him as a co-lead. But whether it’s category fraud or not, we’ve seen way too many true co-leads knocked down to supporting to increase their odds. Boseman’s co-star here, Viola Davis, did it herself with another August Wilson adaptation, Fences.
For Yeun, I find it hard to keep him here in supporting, he is absolutely the film’s lead. I know the argument here is that youngster Alan Kim is/could be the film’s lead but from a strategic perspective, the Academy is really, really, really lousy at nominating young male actors in lead. But is the best scenario pushing Yeun lead and Kim supporting or is it to sacrifice the newcomer and go for a known entity like Yeun in supporting to increase overall chances? While it’s obviously not my decision to make, I’m also not one of those that rings the alarm at every potential case for category fraud. An Oscar is an Oscar, get it where you can and play the game if you need to.
UPDATE 10/23: It was announced by A24 on Friday, October 23 that Steven Yeun will be campaigned in lead for Minari. He is now off the supporting actor chart and will be moving forward, giving us a new #1.
A big move this month is Charles Dance in Mank, who shoots up into the top 5. His William Randolph Hearst is getting all the supporting actor marketing push for the film, in both the trailer and poster, with Netflix showing us exactly where it’s going with the film’s deep bench of supporting male players.
Here are my ranked 2021 Oscar predictions in Supporting Actor for October.
Green – moves up; Red – moves down; Blue – new entry this month
1. Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
2. Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)
3. Charles Dance – Mank (Netflix)
4. Eddie Redmayne – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)
5. Leslie Odom, Jr. – One Night in Miami… (Amazon)
6. Mark Rylance – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)
7. David Strathairn – Nomadland (Searchlight)
8. Alan Kim – Minari (A24)
9. LaKeith Stanfield – Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros)
10. Frank Langella – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)
Other Contenders: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix), Kingsley Ben-Adir – One Night in Miami… (Amazon), Richard E. Grant – Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (20th Century), Aldis Hodge – One Night in Miami… (Amazon), Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros), Michael Keaton – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix), Jonathan Majors – Da 5 Bloods (Netflix), Bill Murray – On the Rocks (A24/Apple TV+), Will Patton – Minari (A24), Jesse Plemons – Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros), Stanley Tucci – Supernova (Bleecker Street), Glynn Turman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix), Marlon Wayans – Respect (MGM/UA), Forest Whitaker – Respect (MGM/UA)
This article has been updated since its original publication.