2015 Best Supporting Actor Oscar Power Rankings


We’re quickly approaching the 2015 Oscars. Here, you can see my 2015 Best Supporting Actor predictions in order of likelihood for a nomination. But only films that have premiered (in theaters or at a festival) will be considered for my 2015 Oscar predictions. As unknowns become knowns, they’ll be added (or knowingly omitted) from this list. And only films/directors/performances that have a genuine shot at a 2015 Oscar nomination will be brought up in this space.

The one’s been in flux from the start with would-be contenders falling by the wayside at Sundance, Cannes, Telluride, and Toronto, through the spring, summer, and into the fall. As of this Thanksgiving update, two men seem like sure things, but as many as ten men seem like they have a genuine shot at a nomination—and that’s without knowing much of anything about Unbroken. Nominations are ripe for the picking, gentlemen.

2015 Best Supporting Actor Predictions

1.) J.K. Simmons, Whiplash (prev. 1)
For a category that’s been all over the place, Simmons has been a constant since January. Since opening Sundance 2015, Whiplash has quietly built up a ton of Oscar momentum, and it seems inconceivable that anyone other than Simmons will take home this trophy come February. So yes, he’ll be nominated.

2.) Edward Norton, Birdman (prev. 2)
Norton also seems to have a nomination all buttoned up, but one could argue that’s more because of weak or uncertain competition than his being a big Oscar-friendly performance. Still, it’ll be nice to see him among the final five after many years and many great performances away from the Oscar circuit.

3.) Ethan Hawke, Boyhood (prev. 3)
Here’s where things get a little less certain, but with Boyhood‘s Best Picture chances getting stronger by the day, Hawke can most definitely ride that momentum to a nomination.

4.) Tom Wilkinson, Selma (prev. N/A)
Wilkinson seems like the strongest bet for Selma here with those who’ve seen it saying he has the most defined arc of any of the film’s supporting characters. (He’s playing President Lyndon Johnson.)

5.) Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice (prev. 4)
Inherent Vice came and went at NYFF (at least as far as the Oscars go), but it seems like a film chock full of scene-stealing male performances. Martin Short and Benecio del Toro almost earned consideration for this list, but the film probably isn’t strong enough to support two Best Supporting Actor nominees, and neither man’s buzz is as good as Brolin’s.

6.) Christoph Waltz, Big Eyes (prev. N/A)
I said in my 2015 Best Actress predictions that Amy Adams will likely miss out on a nomination because Big Eyes isn’t the film it seemed like it could be on paper. That said, in such a weird Best Supporting Actor category, Waltz could sneak in. His performance is apparently really showy, and he’s got two statues on his mantle. That means the Academy likes him…they really like him.

7.) Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher (prev. 5)
Ruffalo’s chances seem to dovetail with his film’s Best Picture chances. If Foxcatcher is among the top eight or nine, Ruffalo could most definitely find himself among the final five here. If Foxcatcher is nothing more than a play for Carell, he’ll miss out.

8.) Robert Duvall, The Judge (prev. 6)
It’s hard to fathom a film as poorly reviewed as The Judge landing an Oscar nomination in a major category, but that’s the story of Best Supporting Actor 2015. That said, Robert Duvall has enough respect (and just enough fair notices) to make him someone worth watching.

9.) John Goodman, The Gambler (prev. N/A)
The Gambler probably won’t show up anywhere when the nominations are announced, but man, that trailer sold me on Goodman’s Best Supporting Actor candidacy. It sounds like he’s not onscreen enough to earn his first Oscar nomination, but I’m not ready to give up on him yet.

10.) Andy Serkis, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (prev. 7)
Probably not going to happen, but if there ever was a year for Serkis to earn a well-deserved nomination, it’s this one. C’mon, Oscar voters, do the right thing!