Best Supporting Actor Race: A Complete and Utter Crap Shoot

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: A Complete and Utter Crap Shoot

Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

In a very convoluted category, I’m going to say Ali is the front-runner. Ali faces the same problem Michelle Williams does – screen time. He may not be in the movie enough, but all his scenes make a huge impact. There’s a presence about Ali in Moonlight that could single-handedly win him the award. With no other heavy weight challenger in the race, Ali could win by default. If any of the five actors from this category last year were in the race, all of them would have taken the win this year.

Chances of Winning: High

Is the Performance Worthy of an Oscar? Yes

Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)

If Jeff Bridges was still searching for his first Oscar, he’d win this in a land slide. This is a great performance, but it’s more of the same from Bridges. We’ve been here before. I could see a scenario in which Academy members look at this list and fail to find a clear winner, so they circle in Bridges by default. It wouldn’t shock me if he fell into his second Oscar here.

Chances of Winning: Middle of the Pack

Is the Performance Worthy of an Oscar? Yes

Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea)

Lucas Hedges is going completely underappreciated in Manchester by the Sea. He provides much needed levity in the film. It’s a great performance. Hedges is the perfect balance between hard-edged kid hiding his emotions in a mask of sarcasm and girls, but also plays those moments of pure and utter pain beautifully. This is a tough performance to win an Oscar for, but I could see the Academy being very enamored with it. They could very well pull the trigger on the kid.

Chances of Winning: Middle of the Pack

Is the Performance Worthy of an Oscar? Yes

Dev Patel (Lion)

This nomination irks me on a few levels.

First of all, he should not be in this category. I’ve made that very clear. He’s the lead actor! The only reason they got away with this is because Patel is not in the first act of the film. Secondly, this is a clear case of nominating situation, not performance. There’s nothing wrong with Patel’s performance. He does the most he can with the role. The problem is more in the writing and direction. This is a guy who was separated from his family as a kid, and now 20+ years later he’s trying to track them down. I should feel more emotion for this character, but I don’t. While Patel performs admirably, there’s nothing here that screams OSCAR. Even in the gut-wrenching climax, Patel is over shadowed by the other character. Having said all that, he probably has the best chance to win this award, aside from Ali. Why? It’s the same reason he got nominated – situation of the character.

Chances of Winning: High

Is the Performance Worthy of an Oscar? No

Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)

Shannon is the only guy in this category who has no chance of winning. For him to even get this nomination was a miracle. Don’t get me wrong, the performance is awesome. It’s always a good thing to have Shannon in the race, but the grumpy/dejected private investigator doesn’t scream Oscar. Congrats on the nomination, but that’s as far as it goes.

Chances of Winning: Low

Is the Performance Worthy of an Oscar? Yes
For my final predictions in all the major categories, check out our annual Oscar podcast right here!

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.