the oscars: best supporting actor

jason robards won this oscar back to back, seventy-seven and seventy-eight, for his roles in all the president’s men and julia. then christopher walken (LOVE! but then, who doesn’t?) in the deer hunter.

winners in the eighties: melvyn douglas (WHO?? i looked at his film credits and still don’t know who the fuck he is) in being there; timothy hutton in ordinary people; john gielgud in arthur; louis gosset jr. in an officer and a gentleman (HATE that movie); jack nicholson in terms of endearment (i feel like he was probably just playing himself, but okay, sure, why not?); hain s. ngor in the killing fields; don ameche in cocoon; michael caine in hannah and her sisters; sean connery (also LOVE, but again, who doesn’t?)  in the untouchables; and kevin kline in a fish called wanda. i saw two of those.
supporting actor roles i favor from that decade: harrison ford in empire strikes back; sean penn in fast times at ridgemont high; alan ruck in ferris bueller’s day off; mandy patinkin in the princess bride; and tom skerritt in steel magnolias. of course, i don’t know that i could say any of these are oscar worthy, but then…
the nineties: denzel washington (blech) in glory; joe pesci in goodfellas; jack palance in city slickers; gene hackman in unforgiven; tommy lee jones in the fugitive; martin landau in ed wood; kevin spacey in the usual suspects; cuba gooding jr. in jerry maguire (WTF?); robin williams in good will hunting; and james coburn in affliction. i saw four of’m.
supporting actor roles i favor from that decade: alan rickman in robin hood: prince of thieves; val kilmer in tombstone; joe pesci in with honors.
the two thousands: michael caine in the cider house rules; benicio del toro in traffic; jim broadbent in iris; chris cooper in adaptation; tim robbins in mystic river; morgan freeman in million dollar baby; george clooney in syriana (over paul giamatti in cinderella man. i call bullshit); alan arkin in little miss sunshine; javier bardem in no country for old men; and heath ledger in the dark knight (YES). i saw four of’m.
supporting actor roles i favor from that decade: tom wilkinson in dedication.
this decade: christoph waltz in inglorious basterds (YES); christian bale in the fighter; christopher plummer in the beginners; christoph waltz in django unchained; jared leto in dallas buyer’s club; j.k. simmons in whiplash; and mark rylance in bridge of spies. i’ve seen one of’m.
supporting actor roles i favor from this decade: bill nighy in about time; sharlto copley in the a-team; sam rockwell in the way way back; and hugo weaving in hacksaw ridge.
which brings us to the nominees:
mahershala ali in moonlight
jeff bridges in hell or high water
lucas hedges in manchester by the sea
dev patel in lion
michael shannon in nocturnal animals

okay. o. kay. here’s my issue. dev patel plays the main goddamned character in lion. the story is about his character’s struggles! how is he a nominee for best fucking supporting actor? like viola davis is a nominee for best supporting actress when she’s playing the main character’s freaking wife! i would think both of these folks should be in the best actor/actress categories, but then… that would make sense, and most of the time the oscars don’t. i feel like the boy who played the young saroo should’ve been nominated for best supporting actor (i love that kid. he was so good, yall!) instead of patel. and i would’ve wanted him to win. since i’ve not seen the others, i can’t really speculate on who should win, but i’m gonna guess it’ll be mahershala ali.

the best instances in which the academy got it right: robin williams in good will hunting; javier bardem in no country for old men; and heath ledger in the dark knight. 
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2 comments

  1. How can you "blech" Denzel Washington?
    I agree Dev should be Best Actor and Sunny should be Best Supporting. That kid gave me goosebumps so many times.
    I feel the Academy did get it right a few more times than you mentioned…then again, I don't know who the winners were up against. For me, the following performances by winners still stick with me as memorable for their brilliance:
    Kevin Spacey – The Usual Suspects; Robin Williams – Good Will Hunting; Javier Bardem – No Country for Old Men; Christoph Waltz – for both Inglorious Bastards and Django Unchained; Christian Bale – The Fighter; Jared Leto – Dallas Buyer's Club.
    I know you and I agree about this…Samuel L. Jackson as Carl Lee Bailey in A Time to Kill is a performance worth an award…and Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday in Tombstone.

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