Best Supporting Actor Analysis

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It’s been eight days since the much talked about nominations for the 87th Annual Academy Awards were announced. We’ve stated how we felt about the noms, but now with all emotions and conspiracy theories behind us, we begin our breakdown and analysis of all the nominees. This week we look at the Best Supporting categories. (Check out our analysis for Best Supporting Actress)

Pop-Break’s Oscar Watch 2015: Best Supporting Actors Analysis

Robert Duvall (The Judge)

If there was someone I thought really deserved to be here over Duvall, I’d have a problem with this nomination, but no one comes to mind. He’s mostly here because he’s Robert Duvall, and that’s fine by me. In an otherwise mediocre movie, Duvall was certainly the stand out in The Judge.  He’s got a 0% chance of winning.

Chances of Winning: Low

Is the Performance Worthy of an Oscar? No

Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)

I’m not sure this movie works without Ethan Hawke. He’s fantastic, playing a very likable character. Hawke has certainly been around the block a few times, and in any other year, he may have even won this category. I wouldn’t be totally shocked if he snuck away with this, but it seems doubtful.

Chances of Winning: Mid-Tier

Is the Performance Worthy of an Oscar? Yes

Edward Norton (Birdman)

DTalk about bad luck. Edward Norton is definitely one of the better actors working in Hollywood today, and has been in plenty of classics. This may have been his best role since American History X, and yes, that includes Fight Club. He is simply on in this movie. The character provides a real fire and intriguing antagonist for Keaton, and every scene Norton is in, he owns the screen. If it weren’t for J.K. Simmons, he’d win this award, and even then I wouldn’t count him out just yet.

Chances of Winning: High

Is the Performance Worthy of an Oscar? Yes

Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)

I’m sad Channing Tatum was the one person from the Foxcatcher trio who didn’t garner a nomination, but it’s great to see Ruffalo recognized here. In a movie that is dark, depressing, and dreary, Ruffalo provides the heart, and is the audience’s emotional core throughout most of the film. His character is crucial, and Ruffalo nails it with his subtlety. He’s got no chance of winning, but there’s no question he needs to be on this list.

Chances of Winning: Low

Is the Performance Worthy of an Oscar? Yes

J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

It may be the biggest lock of the night in all major categories. If you’ve seen Whiplash, the performance speaks for itself. It’s my favorite character of the whole year, and Simmons gives one of those performances that sticks with you for a long time. To be frightening and inspiring at the same time is a tricky persona to pull off, but Simmons is game. He’s far and away the front runner here.

Chances of Winning: High

Is the Performance Worthy of an Oscar? Yes
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Daniel Cohen is the Film Editor for Pop-Break. Aside from reviews, Daniel does a weekly box office predictions column, and also contributes monthly Top Tens and Op-Ed’s on all things film. Daniel is a graduate of Bates College with a degree in English, and also studied Screenwriting at UCLA. He can also be read on www.movieshenanigans.com. His movie crush is Jessica Rabbit. Follow him on Twitter @dcohenwriter.
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Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.