Similar to the Best Supporting Actress category, these predictions for nominees always present a challenge. What actually qualifies a best supporting role? It seems to rest a lot on the narrative trope that they occupy in any given narrative, but even that isn’t always the standard for criteria. Because it’s such a wide array of performances that encompasses an even wider array of films, it becomes difficult to choose a solid, most likely top five nominees.
But of course, we’re going to try and rise to the occasion and see what we can come up with. In another similarity to the Supporting Actress predictions, I’ll being selecting some heart picks over logical front runners. I think I’ll be able to stay in the ball park, but there are certainly some performances I would love to see on the list that have extremely long shot odds of cracking the nominees.
And with that, let’s get into some Best Supporting Actor nomination predictions!
Kodi Smit-McPhee – “The Power of the Dog”
I don’t think anyone should be shocked that an actor in one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year makes the Best Supporting Actor list. Kodi joins his lead co-stars in praise as an early front runner in his respective category, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he actually ends up taking the category. Kodi turns in a spectacular performance in an incredible movie, and I think this will open up the gates to demonstrate more of his skills in upcoming projects after this particular ascent to upper echelon of Hollywood awards. It’s a very understated performance, but that fits the general tone of “The Power of the Dog,” and I’m willing to bet that no list in the top 5-10 categories will go without someone or something from the film.
Vincent Lindon – “Titane”
This pick is all heart, no logic. I know Lindon’s performance in “Titane” is recognized as being great (it is) and that it’s on the list of possible contenders. But on most early prediction lists (particularly Variety) he’s below the Next In Line and tops the Other Contenders list. I don’t care how unlikely his nomination is, I want him on the list. Lindon is amazing in “Titane” which made my top 10 films of 2021. It is a harrowing film, one that will stick with you no matter how you felt about it after it ends. Lindon portrays a broken man desperate for connection, and his delusion and desperation comes across beautifully in “Titane.” It’s an amazing performance, and I want him on the Best Supporting Actor list.
Bradley Cooper – “Licorice Pizza”
I can’t decide if this a heart pick or logical pick, because Cooper is in “Licorice Pizza” for all of maybe 10 minutes, all of which appear at the tail end of long but engaging film. But this inclusion is a testament to just how challenging it can be to determine what qualifies as a Best Supporting Actor. Lindon in “Titane” is technically the main male character of the film, but doesn’t really enter the film until about halfway through. You could make the argument that he belongs in the Best Actor category, but no. He ends up here, with Cooper with spent a day on set and almost hijacks the entire film. “Licorice Pizza” is an amazing film from start to finish, filled to brim with top notch performances from both veterans and newcomers alike. But it’s Cooper who splashes on to the tail end of the film and buzzes with electric energy. He simultaneously feels like he was ripped from an entirely different film while also feeling like he’s exactly what “Licorice Pizza” needed. It’s a small performance with a booming voice, and I think the Academy will feel that way too and give him a nomination.
Mike Faist – “West Side Story”
From the stage “Dear Evan Hansen” to silver screen of “West Side Story,” Faist explodes onto the screen as Riff and shows the world why he was one of the best performers on Broadway in one of the hottest shows of its time. Faist is wonderful as Riff, and adds a grit and rawness to a character that has long been seen as more of a lovable clown. Faist really makes you care about the Jets leader, and adds a depth to an established character we didn’t know we needed until he took over the role. He also seems to understand that he’s not here to do an impression, and adds his own personal take on a classic character that works. I think this may be a heart pick, but I will go as far as to say that this may be a dark horse inclusion onto the list. “West Side Story” is set to probably rack up a gazillion nominations this year. My hope is that Mike Faist for Best Supporting Actor is one of them.
Ben Affleck – “The Last Duel” or “The Tender Bar”
What a year for Ben Affleck, huh? Not only did he get back with JLo (ya, I keep my ear to the streets of tabloid gossip too) but he turned two terrific supporting performances in a single year. Both of which have strong chances to earn him a nomination. I’m not entirely sure which one it will be, but I will legitimately be shocked if Affleck is absent from the list. I wouldn’t be as confident if it was either/or, but being the best and funniest part of “The Last Duel” and the backbone of intrigue and warmth in “The Tender Bar,” it’s going to be really hard to keep him out of the Best Supporting Actor list this year. I could be wrong, but I’m really confident that Affleck at least gets the nod.
I leaned hard on heart picks for this round, so I’ll drop some more likely candidates here in this section. First up is Ciarán Hinds for “Belfast.” I know that Jamie Dorner is also a possible contender for the same category and film, but I think Hinds should get the nod over him. Not because he’s necessarily better than Dorner, because everyone in “Belfast” is phenomenal. Hinds deserves it because he’s wonderful and caring, and finally gets to shed the villianous and ominous old man typecast he’s had for a lot of his career. I’d honestly just like to see him be recognized, and I think “Belfast” is the performance that gets him there. J K Simmons for “Being the Ricardos” is another highly likely candidate. Simmons is hard to count out because he’s just so damn good in everything, and even in a mediocre film like “Being the Ricardos” he’s absolutely crushing it. My only reason for not championing him more is because I just don’t want “Being the Ricardos” to succeed as much as it’s probably going to. It’s just not that great of a film, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the academy won’t care and nominate it for everything because it’s about their favorite time and their favorite tv show about their favorite topic; Hollywood.
That feels really unfair to Simmons, because he really is good. But that’s my hot take I will stand on, and while I don’t think it’s crazy to think he doesn’t have a chance, I would prefer an equally talented performer be nominated for a better film. Lastly, there’s the controversial talk of including Jared Leto for “House of Gucci.” I don’t know what award shows love about Leto, but he seems to turn in weird, over the top, downright off putting performances that voters just eat up regardless of merits. Leto is the pinnacle of “izza me, Mario,” acting as almost like a parody performer injected into a self serious film to lighten the mood. I don’t think that warrants a Best Supporting Actor Nod, but look for Leto to once again creep into the nominees for another baffling performance.
Those are my Best Supporting Actor predictions! Who do you think will make the list of Best Supporting Actor nominees? We’ll find out who gets the nods when the Academy of Motion Pictures announces their nominations on Tuesday February 8th, 2022.