The supporting actor race has ended up quite different from how it started. When critics’ awards began in December, Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog) quickly became the runaway leader, earning LAFCA and NYFCC wins among his nearly 30 critics’ wins overall this season. He nabbed the Golden Globe in early January, albeit non-televised and under deep disparaging scrutiny that the Globes are and have been, and everything seemed to be going his way. He became the season’s male fashionista nominee with everyone waiting to see what he’d be wearing next.
Then suddenly, a relatively unknown actor from a small film that was a Sundance hit but got unceremoniously dumped in August found his way into some critics’ wins of his own (10). That actor was Troy Kotsur in CODA and he alone began the groundswell for the film to become the major Oscar player it is today.
To say the tide turned is an understatement as Kotsur then dominated the rest of the precursors, winning SAG, BAFTA and Critics’ Choice in a wave similar to the year of Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird and Allison Janney in I, Tonya. Sometimes critics’ wins take you only so far and while the coldness of Smit-McPhee’s character might have played a factor in this race it’s been the funny and heartbreaking performance from Kotsur that has been an undeniable hit in this part of the season.
It’s no understatement too, to say that a win for Kotsur would be historic. His co-star, Marlee Matlin, who plays his wife in CODA, was the first deaf actor to win an Oscar, when she won Best Actress for her film debut in 1986’s Children of a Lesser God. Like Ariana DeBose and Rita Moreno over in supporting actress, this will be a rewarding full circle moment, one of worth and representation.
Here are my final Oscar predictions for Supporting Actor.
1. Troy Kotsur – CODA (Apple Original Films) – GG, CCA, SAG, BAFTA
2. Kodi Smit-McPhee – The Power of the Dog (Netflix) – GG, CCA, SAG, BAFTA
3. Ciarán Hinds – Belfast (Focus Features) – GG, CCA, BAFTA
4. J.K. Simmons – Being the Ricardos (Amazon Studios) – CCA
5. Jesse Plemons – The Power of the Dog (Netflix) – BAFTA