Robert Downey Jr. (Oppenheimer), Ryan Gosling (Barbie) and Robert De Niro (Killers of the Flower Moon) remain a solid top 3 for the third month in a row. There’s not much of an argument not to, even as we’ve pushed through Venice, Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals with new performances to ponder.
With that, we did get our first look at Poor Things from Yorgos Lanthimos, at both Venice and Telluride, witnessed the absolute balls to the wall performance from Mark Ruffalo in it. Absurdist on every level, there’s a ‘Keanu Reeves in Dracula’ element to it except Ruffalo knows he’s supposed to be funny. Prior to release, I think most eyes were focused on Willem Dafoe here, with his garish makeup giving his Dr. Frankenstein-esque mad scientist a flair that the Academy might love. They still very well might, but Dafoe is, surprisingly, much more reserved than expected, but giving an emotional performance that remains at the film’s heart. Can they both get in? Absolutely, and it’s probably more likely than not, but I give the edge to Ruffalo here quite easily.
Not to be outdone, there are three new entries in the top 10, all from Telluride and/or Toronto. Paul Mescal, a first time Best Actor nominee last season for Aftersun, could return this year in supporting for his beautiful turn as Andrew Scott’s lover in Andrew Haigh’s gorgeous gay ghost story All of Us Strangers. ‘Afterglow’ nominations are rather common with the Academy but I think the film would need to be a solid player elsewhere for him to truly make the cut. While Mescal has the larger supporting role, co-star Jamie Bell is no slouch here, turning in spectacular work.
A newcomer in every sense – he was discovered at the school the film takes place in – first time actor Dominic Sessa received great notices out of both Telluride and Toronto for Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers, a return to form for the director, which could also mean a return to awards season. Emmy Award winner Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us) gets a meaty role in the Cord Jefferson’s American Fiction, the TIFF People’s Choice Award winner, as Jeffrey Wright’s newly out gay brother in the satire of Black literary culture.
Oscar nominations will be announced on January 23, 2024 and the 96th Academy Awards will be held on March 10.
Here are my 2024 Oscar predictions in Supporting Actor for September 2023.
- Robert Downey Jr. – Oppenheimer (Universal Pictures) (-)
- Ryan Gosling – Barbie (Warner Bros) (-)
- Robert De Niro – Killers of the Flower Moon (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures) (-)
- Mark Ruffalo – Poor Things (Searchlight Pictures) (▲)
- Charles Melton – May December (Netflix) (▼)
- Willem Dafoe – Poor Things (Searchlight Pictures) (▼)
- Colman Domingo – The Color Purple (Warner Bros) (-)
- Dominic Sessa – The Holdovers (Focus Features) (▲)
- Sterling K. Brown – American Fiction (MGM) (NEW)
- Paul Mescal – All of Us Strangers (Searchlight Pictures) (▲)
Next up: Ben Affleck – Air (Amazon Studios), Matt Damon – Oppenheimer (Universal Pictures) (▼), Jacob Elordi – Priscilla (A24), Jacob Elordi – Saltburn (Amazon Studios), Glenn Howerton – BlackBerry (IFC Films), Rhys Ifans – NYAD (Netflix) (NEW), John Magaro – Past Lives (A24) (▼), Jesse Plemons – Killers of the Flower Moon (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures), Glynn Turman – Rustin (Netflix) (▲), Ramy Youssef – Poor Things (Searchlight Pictures), Jeremy Allen White – The Iron Claw (A24) (▼)
Other contenders and/or possible 2024 releases:
- Christopher Abbott – Poor Things (Searchlight Pictures)
- Jamie Bell – All of Us Strangers (Searchlight Pictures)
- Esteban Bigliardi – Society of the Snow (Netflix)
- Matt Bomer – Maestro (Netflix)
- Austin Butler – The Bikeriders (20th Century Studios)
- Raul Castillo – Cassandro (Amazon Studios)
- Ben Foster – Long Day’s Journey Into Night (MGM)
- Matthew Goode – Freud’s Last Session (Sony Pictures Classics)
- Richard E. Grant – Saltburn (Amazon Studios) (▼)
- Louis Gossett Jr. – The Color Purple (Warner Bros)
- Tom Hardy – The Bikeriders (20th Century Studios)
- Tommy Lee Jones – The Burial (Amazon Studios)
- Holt McCallany – The Iron Claw (A24) (▼)
- Chris Messina – Air (Amazon Studios)
- Jack O’Connell – Ferrari (NEON)
- Aaron Pierre – Foe (Amazon Studios)
- Tahar Rahim – Napoleon (Apple Original Films/Sony Pictures)
- Seth Rogen – Dumb Money (Sony Pictures)
- Michael Shannon – The Bikeriders (20th Century Studios)
- Sebastian Stan – Dumb Money (Sony Pictures)
- Enzo Vogrincic – Society of the Snow (Netflix)
Without U.S. distribution: Andy Samberg – Lee (TBD), Alexander Skarsgård – Lee (TBD), Timothy Spall – Wicked Little Letters (TBD)
Photo by Atsushi Nishijima. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures.