2016 Oscar Nominees—Best Supporting Actor

It’s that time of year again, when Hollywood looks at itself, and works hard to look objective. It’s also a great time for Hollywood physical therapists, as the Oscars ceremonies are a great time for patting oneself vigorously on the back.

I’ll be putting my predictions out this week category by category.

Today, it’s the Best Supporting Actor Category, one of the richest and deepest in years. The nominees are:

Christian Bale, The Big Short

Tom Hardy, The Revenant

Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Thoughts on each one:

Bale was nothing short of magnificent in The Big Short, and is a much greater actor than is generally supposed, though he deservedly won an Oscar for The Fighter. He plays a difficult character here, something of a hero, but not exactly accessible. It’s part of a funky, bumpy tapestry that makes up the film. It “sticks out” in the way that many Oscar-winning roles do, but it gets lost in the energy, themes, and editing of the film. Besides, Bale has his Oscar and is young enough to earn at least one more.

Tom Hardy is no less magnificent in The Revenant, but most of the attention has gone to Leonardo DiCaprio as the lead. Hardy is almost unrecognizable, changing his voice, look and way of moving completely for a new character. He’s so good you almost don’t notice it. He could win and I’d be happy indeed.

Mark Ruffalo always tends to “stick out” in his performances, as he has an acting rhythm all his own. He is, in many way, the heart and soul of Spotlight, and perhaps was nominated as much for that as for his excellent performance. This is a great example of “the reward is the nomination.” He doesn’t stand a chance of winning, but the nomination is well deserved.

Mark Rylance is probably the greatest actor in the list, though you might not know it from his lack of fame (in film) and the subtlety of his performance in Bridge of Spies. This three-time Tony Award winner is considered one of the greatest living actors, especially by his peers, and judging by his stage and television work, can do almost anything. Once again, thank you, Great Britain. He won’t win, but it’s good to see him recognized for his film work.

Sylvester Stallone gives his greatest performance in Creed. He’s done some real acting in the past, but nothing that combines the Rocky legend with touching, vulnerable, solid acting. He’s a revelation here, and helps add gravity (believe it or not) to an already good film. Sentiment will lean in his direction. And those that see finer acting in the other categories will likely cancel themselves out, as there is nothing in the other four that rises high above the rest.

Should Win: Tom Hardy or Christian Bale

Will Win: Sylvester Stallone

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About Mark DuPré

Full-time (associate) pastor at a Christian church. Part-time film professor at Rochester Institute of Technology. Husband for 40 years to the lovely and talented Diane. Father to three children and father-in-law to three more amazing people. I preach, teach, counsel, write and plan in my real job. I teach a subject I love at RIT in my "other job," which is a lot of fun most of the time.... I play piano for our local college choir, and sing and play at church occasionally. I also have a film-related website at www.film-prof.com.
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