(Photo : Focus Features)
This year's Best Supporting Actor race has long been seen as the most competitive in years, but the Golden Globe nominees have narrowed down the race to five front-runners. The list includes two previous nominees and three first-time nominees.
Barkhad Abdi - "Captain Phillips": Had the Golden Globes not gone under new management, the Hollywood Foreign Press would have never nominated Abdi because the organization usually likes A-list stars for their festivities. Abdi is a newcomer and an unknown actor who made his first film and has universally been praised by critics. The actor is not predicted to win and the nomination can be considered the win.
Bradley Cooper - "American Hustle": Cooper obtained his second nomination after receiving his first for "Silver Linings Playbook." Cooper has not won any precursor awards yet and his performance, while incredible, has not been nominated for a number of awards. The Screen Actors Guild failed to recognize his individual work even though he was recognized in the Best Cast category. As a result, unless "American Hustle" somehow surprises and wins the Critics Choice and SAG awards, it is unlikely Cooper will take home this award.
Michael Fassbender - "12 Years a Slave": There was a point in the race where pundits were predicting Fassbender to be unstoppable; "12 Years a Slave" was getting raves and many pundits believed it would be a makeup for not winning for "Shame." However, his performance in this film has been marred by bad publicity. The actor publically announced that he was not campaigning for awards because he was busy. The result? Critics decided to ignore his work and to this point he has only won two critics' circles. Additionally, most critics' groups have overlooked him because they have decided to award his cast mates Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Nonetheless, if the one of his cast mates loses steam and if they ignore Fassbender's comments, the organization may feel compelled to award him.
Jared Leto - "Dallas Buyers Club": Leto has received his first Globe nomination for his performance in "Dallas Buyers Club." His acting has already garnered him awards at 21 precursors including the Los Angeles Film Critics. Leto is the only actor to dominate a single category and his film has a lot of buzz. With all the hype and an unstoppable awards track, it is unlikely he will lose.
Daniel Bruhl - "Rush": Bruhl received his first nomination for "Rush." His nomination is one of the most surprising nods in the list given the fact that "Rush" has no buzz for the Academy Awards. However, the Globes have embraced him and this alone is important for his performance and the film if it is to score nominations at the Academy Awards. Bruhl is unlikely to win but the strength of his work may win voters over.
Predictions: Leto will win the award without a doubt. His transformation into a woman and his brilliance in the film is undeniably one of the best performances of the year and one that seems unstoppable at this point.