2017 Oscars Preview - Best Supporting Actor

2017 Oscars Preview - Best Supporting Actor

In Part II of our all too early Oscars preview (Best Supporting Actress is covered here), we take a look at the Best Supporting Actor category. This is a category that is traditionally very tied to the final Best Picture lineup and can sometimes serve as a sort of lifetime achievement award for older actors who have never won. Even though it is way too early to have a clear picture, there are a few such names already generating buzz this year, so let's take a look at who's out front at this point. 

Liam Neeson - Silence

Photo Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

This man has a particular set of skills. He is a one-time nominee for Schindler's List back in 1993, but has never won. More recently, he has been an action star in such vehicles as Batman Begins and the Taken franchise. He is teaming up with Martin Scorsese here for a film about a priests facing violent persecution when they travel to Japan to seek out their mentor and spread Christianity. The project is certainly prestigious enough to keep him in the conversation all year. He has to be considered one of the favorites at this point. 

Steve Martin - Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

This is another prestigious project as it is being directed by two-time Oscar Winner, Ang Lee, who has assembled a top-notch team. The film deals with soldiers returning from war and appearing at halftime of a Cowboys game as part of their victory tour. Martin plays the Cowboys' owner. A comedy legend, he has never been nominated for an Academy Award. He is a three-time Oscar host, but has never been invited as a nominee. This could be the year that changes, as Oscar often uses this category as a lifetime achievement honor (see Christopher Plummer). The film will almost certainly be in the mix, so if the part is substantial and he is good in the role, expect to see him make the cut. 

Armie Hammer - The Birth of  a Nation

Armie Hammer is perhaps best known for playing the Vinklevoss twins in The Social Network. This year, he is set to play in the Sundance hit, The Birth of a Nation, the story of Nat Turner's slave rebellion due out later this year. The film looks to be one of the year's biggest contenders. If Hammer's slave-owner role is substantial, he could be highlighted as well.  

Mahershala Ali - Moonlight

Andre Holland - Moonlight

These two relatively fresh, though perhaps familiar, faces could figure prominently in the Oscar discussion. André Holland (best known for roles in Selma and 42) and Mahershala Ali (best known for roles in The Hunger Games and Netflix drama House of Cards) are set to star in Moonlight, the story of a young man coming of age during the War on Drugs and struggling with a decaying home life and his own sexuality. The film is said to challenge previous depictions of black male masculinity, so look for this to be a conversation starter if nothing else. 

Sir Ben Kingsley - War Machine

Sir Ben Kingsley is the closest thing to a legend on this list. He is a four-time nominee and is perhaps best known for his one win, Ghandi in 1982. This Brad Pitt produced war comedy could be the vehicle to get him his first nomination since House of Sand and Fog.

Michael Shannon - Loving; Nocturnal Animals

Michael Shannon is an "actor's actor," with recent turns in 99 Homes and HBO drama Boardwalk Empire. He is a one-time nominee for his work in Revolutionary Road in 2009. With two films sure to be in the mix, he has as good a shot as anyone after being close last year with 99 HomesLoving surrounds the famous case that made interracial marriage legal and Nocturnal Animals will be the second feature film by Tom Ford (legendary fashion designer).

Adam Driver - Silence

Adam Driver, who is in the midst of playing Kylo Ren in the new Star Wars trilogy, might also receive attention in Silence. His resumé makes his somewhat less likely than Liam Neeson, but the film will be a big enough player to potentially get in more than one actor. 

Oscar Isaac - The Promise

Oscar Isaac is one of the most talented actors working today and somehow is already starting to feel due for a nomination. After solid turns in films like Ex Machina and Inside Llewyn Davis, it is only a matter of time before he is at least an Oscar nominee. Playing part of a love triangle in this Ottoman Empire set drama might be just enough to put him in the conversation. 

Other people in contention at this point include Eddie Murphy in Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said?, Jude Law in Genius and Aaron Eckhart in Sully. As always, way too early to say much with certainty, but there it is. Be sure to check out our Best Supporting Actress preview and stay tuned for more!

For now, be sure to check out our other previews of the acting categories linked below:

Best Picture

Best Director

Best Actor

Best Actress

Best Supporting Actress

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Potpourri - 4.5.16

Potpourri - 4.5.16

Do Movie Reviews Matter?

Do Movie Reviews Matter?