The Best Supporting Actor race was once one of the most wide open races in history due to the number of possible contenders. However, with the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations announced, the race has finally narrowed down to seven potential nominees.
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Leading the race is Jared Leto who has been nominated for the Golden Globes and SAG awards and has also won nine critics' circles including the Los Angeles Film Critics. Additionally, "Dallas Buyers Club" has a lot of buzz, especially after an Ensemble nomination at the SAG. As a result, Leto is most likely a lock for a nomination.
Michael Fassbender was once thought of as a front-runner for the award for his role in "12 Years a Slave" but has been shut out of the critics' circles in terms of victories. However, he has been nominated for every single award including the Globes and the SAG.
Barkhad Abdi is another contender who can also be considered a lock, especially after the Globe and SAG nominations. His film "Captain Phillips" has a lot of buzz and is sure bet for a Best Picture nomination. Abdi may not have a chance at winning the award but the nomination is already a win.
"Rush" has lost a lot of steam the past few weeks but Daniel Bruhl has definitely gained traction. Nominations at the SAG and Golden Globes sealed his deal for the Oscar race. However, it is important to note that he is not a lock; last year Nicole Kidman scored both these key nominations but ended up cut from the Oscar race. The key difference is "Rush" has a Globe nomination for Best Picture and that only helps Bruhl's case for Best Supporting Actor.
The last three actors that are potential nominees include James Gandolfini for his role in "Enough Said." The actor has a SAG nomination and the fact that it is a posthumous performance could help his case. Bradley Cooper is also a huge contender for his role in "American Hustle." The performance was nominated for the Golden Globes and the film is getting a lot of buzz. It is important to note that the Academy has affinity for David O. Russell's films and last year the Academy nominated four of the actors from "Silver Linings Playbook."
The last actor with a possibility is Will Forte from "Nebraska." His performance is technically a lead but the film is a Best Picture contender and if the Academy loves the film he could surprise.
There are a number of other contenders that could also surprise including Matthew McConaughey for "Mud," Sam Rockwell for "The Way Way Back," James Franco for "Spring Breakers," Tom Hanks for "Saving Mr. Banks," Jake Gyllenhaal for "Prinsoners," and Jonah Hill for "The Wolf of Wall Street." However, all these contenders are longshots.
1. Jared Leto - "Dallas Buyers Club"
2. Michael Fassbender - "12 Years a Slave"
3. Barkhad Abdi - "Captain Phillips"
4. Daniel Bruhl - "Rush"
5. Bradley Cooper - "American Hustle"
6. James Gandolfini - "Enough Said"
7. Will Forte - "Nebraska"