I previously mentioned that over the next few weeks I'd be taking a look at the nominees in eight major categories for the 2011 Academy Awards. I'll be writing about what I think will win, what I want to win, and my thoughts about each category overall.
The nominees for Best Actor in a Supporting Role are:
Christian Bale - The Fighter
John Hawkes - Winter's Bone
Jeremy Renner - The Town
Mark Ruffalo - The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush - The King's Speech
Let me just get this out of the way right now: I think the Academy made one heck of a mistake nominating Jeremy Renner's performance in The Town over Andrew Garfield's work in The Social Network. That's not a slight against Renner by any means; I think the man is an insanely talented actor - I predicted his nomination in the lead category for The Hurt Locker last year, and I think he'll have an Oscar sitting on his mantle within the next ten years, if not sooner than that. He also did great work in The Town, and I enjoyed watching him. However, the character of James Coughlin was simply too one-dimensional for Renner to show off any real range, and although he does his best to make the Bostonite more than an ill-tempered, meat-headed grunt, the movie's screenplay hampers his effort. Certainly it's a job done memorably. But not award worthy. Garfield, on the other hand, turned in a breakout performance in the Facebook movie, creating a layered and fascinating character. His work in this scene alone should have been enough to sustain an Oscar nomination. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the Academy decided differently. Renner won't win, but it's a shame that Garfield didn't even get a chance to be in the race.
Speaking of actors that won't win: Mark Ruffalo and John Hawkes. I love both of these guys, but Ruffalo's in a film that loses prestige by the day, and Hawkes is simply too much of an unknown to be awarded the small naked statue.
The competition lies in the race between Christian Bale and Geoffrey Rush. Bale picked up the Globe and the SAG award, but Rush seems poised for another win (he nabbed a statue in 1997 for his lead role in Shine).
If I had to, I'd put my money on Bale. But I wouldn't get upset if Rush ends up screwing with my gambling.