While the top 3 in supporting actor are pretty locked in – Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah), Leslie Odom, Jr. (One Night in Miami…) and Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7), BAFTA really threw some wild wrenches in the race at the last possible minute.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, ‘But Erik, those BAFTA nominations were decided on by 10 people!’ and yes, you’re right, they were. But in this category they gave us contenders that have been just on the cusp as well as one that seemed like a longshot.
Paul Raci (Sound of Metal) will end the season as the year’s biggest critics’ winner in this category but just barely. Kaluuya caught up so quickly with his late release that it’s not out the realm of possibility that had his film been released a bit earlier he’d have ended the leader. But then Raci missed both SAG and GG while his lead co-star sailed through and where former winner Jared Leto (The Little Things) shockingly found himself instead. It was almost deliberate to look over Raci there. Then BAFTA came in to put Raci back in contention in a big way. He made it in over Chadwick Boseman (Da 5 Bloods), David Strathairn (Nomadland) and everyone from The Trial of the Chicago 7, including Cohen.
The other big winner from the BAFTA nominations, my 5th spot and the one people will be both happy and shocked to see is Alan Kim in Minari. Early in the season there was talk that Kim would go lead and Steven Yeun, who plays his dad in the film, would end up in supporting. In terms of the film’s point of view, that would be the right choice. But the Oscars aren’t the biggest fans of nominating kid performances and definitely not young male actors in lead. So the decision to bump Yeun to lead and Kim to supporting was made and it might the very thing that gets him in.
Here’s a fun stat; Justin Henry was nominated here for 1979’s Kramer vs Kramer, and at 8 years, 10 months and 20 days is the youngest nominee for any competitive honor in Academy Award history. Kim, born on April 23, 2012, will be just two days older than Henry was if he’s nominated, barely missing the record. Not only has Kim charmed every person since his film’s 2020 Sundance debut and been the life of the press Zoom interviews for the last few months, there’s that speech!
When Kim won the Critics’ Choice for Best Young Actor/Actress (over SAG and GG nominee Helena Zengel) the world lit up with his precious and thoughtful speech that began as shocked laughter, turned to happy tears and stayed on point with his thanks the entire time. It’s hard to say if that speech would have any impact during nomination voting (which ends today, Wednesday March 10 at 5pm PT) but maybe it was enough for some voters who were already in tune with Minari or couldn’t make up their minds with someone else. Again, I know what you’re thinking; what about Room‘s Jacob Tremblay, a Critics Choice winner who came in with a SAG nomination and on the tails of the season’s Best Actress winner? He’s pretty clearly the blueprint for why this won’t happen as he had everything in his favor for it to work out; I get it. This is definitely my hail mary prediction of the season but boy, if it pays off.
Now, if that doesn’t happen there are a handful of elder statesmen waiting in the wings, namely the aforementioned Boseman and Leto, who both come in with precursor bonafides and Strathairn, who could be a classic coattail nominee who only shows up at Oscar. He got the AACTA nomination (Australian Academy Award) (as did Cohen and Boseman) and the AACTA has gone 3/5 in this category for the last two years.
I’ll leave you with one terrifying stat: there is no precedent for a previous winning actor to get Globe and SAG nods and then miss on his ‘afterglow’ nomination, post-win. It’s happened in supporting actress but not here. That puts Jared Leto in striking distance of his second nomination.
Here are my final 2021 Oscar nomination predictions in Supporting Actor.
- 1. Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros) – BFCA, GG, SAG, BAFTA longlist, BFCA
- 2. Leslie Odom, Jr. – One Night in Miami… (Amazon Studios) – BAFTA, BFCA, GG, SAG
- 3. Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix) – BFCA, GG, SAG
- 4. Paul Raci – Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios) – BAFTA, BFCA
- 5. Alan Kim – Minari (A24) – BAFTA, BFCA (young actor/actress)
Watch out for: Jared Leto – The Little Things (Warner Bros) – GG, SAG