the nominees for best supporting actor are:
christian bale, the fighter
john hawkes, winter's bone
jeremy renner, the town
mark ruffalo, the kids are all right
geoffrey rush, the king's speech
okay, so i teased about a lock in the best supporting actress category yesterday... and it does appear to be a lock there. well, here... in supporting actor.... i think we pretty much have a lock.
let's knock out those we know aren't winning first, shall we? in order of least likely to win....
jeremy renner's nomination for the town seems residual glory from last year's the hurt locker phenom. sometimes the academy is so impressed by an individual one year their every subsequent performance (for a time) seems to be on their radar. renner is very, very good in the town. but it's no a gold-worthy performance and this is more of a further nod to his acting chops.
first time nominee john hawkes is extremely good in winter's bone. his teardrop epitomizes everything great about the film: he's at once terrifying and heartbreaking. you fear him one moment but are surprised by his humanity the next. in a bigger film, he would be a stronger contender... but winter's bone is the little movie that could and has done well with several nominations in the big six categories. but hawkes will not win here. but look out for this actor in the future.
the kids are all right seemed to be the juggernaut earlier in the year... but the film has cooled (rightfully so, in my opinion) and ruffalo's star has darkened. another first-time nominee, ruffalo gives the type of performance the academy does love. charming and lovable but, ultimately, a cad..... in a weaker year he could have been a bigger part of the conversation. and if the academy is looking for a way to reward the film, ruffalo is a possibility.
but what we really have here is a two-way race with what looks like a near lock for christian bale.
geoffrey rush turns in another type of performance that oscar loves. rush's lionel logue is extraordinary. warm, funny..... he provides strength for the other characters and, well, supports them. it is the quintessential supporting role. and it doesn't hurt that rush is genius in it. if the king's speech sweeps through the academy awards this year, rush could easily win for this performance. it would be rush's second win (he won best actor for 1996's shine) and it's his fourth overall nomination (he was also previously nominated for shakespeare in love and quills). many would argue, me included, that this talented performer deserves a second oscar.
but then there's dicky.
christian bale has long been admired as a versatile actor. he's been able to successfully tackle smaller, dramatic roles along with big box office action films. he has turned out one memorable performance after another.... yet the fighter is his first nomination. and it's one helluva performance.
dicky is charming and charismatic.... he is also pathetic and frustrating. bale steals the show in a film overpopulated with memorable characters. he has won the critic's choice awards from boston, chicago, dallas-fort worth, florida, kansas city, the national board of review, the broadcast film critics (the actual "critic's choice award"), as well as the golden globe and the screen actor's guild.
bale will become another stat in a long list of first-time nominees who win for a long-overlooked career on the screen.
will win: christian bale, the fighter
should win: geoffrey rush, the king's speech