The Best Supporting Actor category continues to be an enigma as the category amasses more potential nominees.
Michael Fassbender is still seemingly leading the Best Supporting Actor race for his work on "12 Years A Slave." The actor is one of the most respected performers working in Hollywood and after the Academy ignored his acclaimed performance in "Shame" it is almost impossible to believe that Fassbender will not be nominated. Additionally, he has the advantage considering the film is the front-runner to win Best Picture.
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Jared Leto continues to get buzz for his role in "Dallas Buyers Club." Leto is unrecognizable in his performance and the fact that he lost weight for the role could be helpful in claiming an Academy Award. While he may not win, Leto is a lock for a nomination.
The rest of the candidates are still only possibilities and long-shots. Among them are Barkhad Abdi ("Captain Phillips"), Chris Cooper ("August: Osage County") and Tom Hanks ("Saving Mr. Banks"). Abdi is a newcomer and that alone can hurt his chances, while Cooper's role is not receiving much buzz from pundits. Meanwhile, Hanks is in "Captain Phillips" as well, and the Academy may want to nominate another actor instead of giving Hanks two nominations.
Other possibilities include Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner for "American Hustle" because David O. Russell has gotten seven actors Oscar nominations throughout his career. However, the film has not been seen by anyone, making them late contenders. Meanwhile, James Gandolfini could get a posthumous nomination for his work in the critically acclaimed "Enough Said."
Geoffrey Rush is another contender for "The Book Thief." However, the film received mixed reviews and the lack of buzz could hurt his chances. Jake Gyllenhaal received the Hollywood Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for "Prisoners" but the film has faded out and he could ultimately be overlooked. Daniel Bruhl's campaign is also suffering from the lack of buzz "Rush" has obtained in the past weeks.
David Oyelowo is receiving breakout awards for "Lee Daniel's The Butler" and this could ultimately hurt his chances as the Academy could see him as a too young to be nominated.
George Clooney ("Gravity"), Steve Coogan ("Philomena"), Harrison Ford ("42"), Josh Brolin ("Labor Day") and Jonah Hill ("The Wolf of Wall Street'') could surprise, but given the overcrowded category, these performances will most likely be ignored.
Finally, the performances with the smallest chances of snagging nominations are those in films released in the beginning of 2013. Matthew McConaughey is a sure bet in the Best Actor race for "Dallas Buyers Club." However, he is also in contention for Best Supporting Actor for his work in the critically-acclaimed "Mud." Meanwhile, Ryan Gosling's extraordinary performance in "The Place Beyond the Pines" was once seen as potential nominee, but its release date has made pundits forget about the film. Sam Rockwell's show-stopping performance in "The Way Way Back" could surprise if the Academy is feeling the movie. However, with Fox Searchlight pushing "12 Years A Slave" so intensely, the distributor may forget this summer film. The last long shot is James Franco who transformed into an unrecognizable character in "Spring Breakers." A24 already began a campaign for his role but the film's controversy will be hard to overcome.
1. Michael Fassbender - "12 Years A Slave"
2. Tom Hanks - "Saving Mr. Banks"
3. Jared Leto - "Dallas Buyers Club"
4. Daniel Bruhl - "Rush"
5. Bradley Cooper - "American Hustle"
6. George Clooney - "Gravity"
7. Jeremy Renner - "American Hustle"
8. Jonah Hill - "The Wolf of Wall Street
9. James Gandolfini - "Enough Said"
10. Steve Coogan - "Philomena"
11. Harrison Ford - "42"
12. Barkhad Abdi - "Captain Phillips"
13. Chris Cooper - "August: Osage County"
14. Geoffrey Rush - "The Book Thief
15. Jake Gyllenhaal - "Prisoners"
16. David Oyelowo - "Lee Daniel's The Butler"
17. Josh Brolin - "Labor Day"
18. James Franco - "Spring Breakers"
19. Sam Rockwell - "The Way Way Back"
20. Matthew McConaughey - "Mud"
21. Ryan Gosling - "The Place Beyond the Pines"