The definition of supporting performances has changed a lot over the past eighty years. At the beginning of the supporting performance awards, performers could receive a nomination for less than 10 minutes, but recent performances require a lot more weight to make waves in the supporting categories. This year’s nominees are all substantial roles within their films and each one brings a fair amount of gravitas to the film. To describe any of these actors as nonessential would discredit their work.
The nominees for Best Supporting Actor are:
- Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project) – It is uncommon for a supporting actor to be the only recognizable face within a film. Willem Dafoe acts as the only level-headed voice in a film full of insane individuals and playing such a down-to-earth character can be as difficult as playing an over-the-top one. Dafoe gives one of his best performances and its subtlety sticks with you.
- Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) – This year is the first time in 25 years that two men are nominated for the same film. Trying to describe Woody Harrelson as the better or worse candidate for this award would be difficult. His role is one of the most subdued within the film and though he is an essential cog in the machine, his talent doesn’t quite get the chance to shine.
- Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water) – Richard Jenkins has been on the forefront of stardom for twenty years and has been in a number of great films, but it is here that he finally gets to shine. Acting as one of the voices for the film’s mute lead he pours his heart and souls into the role he’s been waiting for. His talent is abundantly clear and his recognition here is well-deserved.
- Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World) – I have not seen this film and it would be unfair of me to offer a judgment on Plummer’s performance. I will say that I doubt Kevin Spacey would have had the gravitas to get here and have a chance against the other names on this list. Plummer has been a name in the film industry for over 50 years, and that can’t be discredited.
- Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) – Arguably the breakout performance of the year, San Rockwell catapults himself to stardom with this performance. His turn as a racist cop constantly putting himself in the midst of turmoil shows range that he’s never shown, not never seemed capable of. He also has more screentime and more chance to shine.
My Prediction to win is…