Veteran British actor Timothy Spall feels like he’s been on the verge of an Oscar nomination more than a few times and he might have one of his best chances in years with Spencer.
A staple performer in the films of Mike Leigh, Spall was probably on the cusp of awards success with 1996’s Secrets & Lies (which was Oscar-nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress and Supporting Actress while he earned a lead actor BAFTA nom), 1999’s Topsy-Turvy (another BAFTA nom) and most recently in 2014’s Mr. Turner, which won his Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival. So why hasn’t Oscar bitten?
Often, if you’re a veteran actor that hasn’t grabbed the Academy’s attention it requires a bit special circumstance to get you in their line of sight. Think of someone like Sally Hawkins (incidentally, also co-starring in Spencer) for example. She dominated critics awards for her lead role in 2008’s Happy-Go-Lucky (from…wait for it…Mike Leigh) winning Best Actress prizes from LAFCA, NSFC and NYFCC only to become the first person to win all of those and not receive an Oscar nomination. A few years later, she snagged a supporting role in Blue Jasmine, Cate Blanchett’s Best Actress Oscar vehicle, and rode it to a nomination, which she followed up a few more years later with her own lead nom for 2017’s The Shape of Water.
In Spencer, Spall plays the head man of the manor at the annual Christmas weekend of the royal family, his nose in everyone’s business and his eyes on their every move. He’s subtle in his menacing, cornering Kristen Stewart’s Princess Diana in her most vulnerable moments and it’s a performance of precision in its execution. If Stewart is indeed the early frontrunner in Best Actress (and she is) there is a possibly a place for Spall to finally earn his first nomination.
Here are my ranked 2022 Supporting Actor Oscar predictions for September 2021.
Green – moves up ↑ Red – moves down ↓ Blue – new/re-entry ♦ Black – no movement ↔
1. Bradley Cooper – Licorice Pizza (MGM/UA) ↑
2. Kodi Smit-McPhee – The Power of the Dog (Netflix) ↑
3. Ciarán Hinds – Belfast (Focus Features) ↑
4. Richard Jenkins – The Humans (A24) ↑
5. Corey Hawkins – The Tragedy of Macbeth (A24/Apple)
6. Timothy Spall – Spencer (NEON) ♦
7. Jonah Hill – Don’t Look Up (Netflix) ↔
8. Jason Isaacs – Mass (Bleecker Street) ↔
9. Ben Affleck – The Tender Bar (Amazon Studios) ↑
10. Rob Morgan – Don’t Look Up (Netflix) ↑
Other contenders: David Alvarez – West Side Story (20th Century Studios), Jon Bernthal – King Richard (Warner Bros/HBO Max), Robin de Jesus – tick, tick…BOOM! (Netflix), Willem Dafoe – Nightmare Alley (Searchlight Pictures), Adam Driver – The Last Duel ↓ (20th Century Studios), Andrew Garfield – The Eyes of Tammy Faye (Searchlight Pictures), Brendan Gleeson – The Tragedy of Macbeth (A24), Kelvin Harrison, Jr. – Cyrano (MGM), Richard Jenkins – Nightmare Alley ↓ (Searchlight Pictures), Troy Kostur – CODA (Apple), Jared Leto – House of Gucci (MGM/UA), Al Pacino – House of Gucci (MGM/UA), Jesse Plemons – The Power of the Dog (Netflix) Mark Rylance – Don’t Look Up (Netflix), Benny Safdie – Licorice Pizza (MGM/UA)
Lead or Supporting? Javier Bardem – Being the Ricardos (Amazon Studios), Jamie Dornan – Belfast (Focus Features)