91st Oscar Blast: Best Supporting Actor – Role vs. Portrayal

Will Mahershala Ali win his second Best Supporting Actor Oscar or will Richard E. Grant take home his first Oscar? Hear our predictions here.

All this weekend leading up to the 91st Annual Academy Awards looking at each category and diving into who may take home the Oscar. Today we’re looking at the Best Supporting Actor category. We’ll explain what the category means and who the frontrunner is as of now.

Best Supporting Actor

The Supporting Actor category recognizes any male actor in a role that is not the leading role of the film. Technically the role can be the largest role in the film for a man if the lead is a woman (even though that would make them the leading male…). But the Academy does these things for a reason. Usually because they want to give someone an Oscar and are worried they won’t beat the Lead Actor nominees.

This year the nominees are Mahershala Ali in Green Book, Adam Driver in BlacKkKlansman, Sam Elliot in A Star is Born, Richard E. Grant in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and Sam Rockwell in Vice. I’m going to come right out and say it, but most of these nominations are flat out based on the caliber of the films they’re in and who is portraying the role. If any other actor had taken the roles Ali, Elliot and Rockwell portrayed, there’s a good chance they would be nominated here as well. That’s not to say these actors don’t deserve the nominations. But the nominations are based more on the character and a straight ticket where possible for the film, than the portrayal.

Driver and Grant without a doubt, should be the front runners here, as Driver plays a good man who has to go undercover, face-to-face with Klan members. It’s a role many men could have likely pulled off, but Driver does bring something special to the role. As for Grant, I can’t imagine a single other person pulling off the complexity of his character the way that he does. There’s so much going on with Jack Hock (his character in Can You Ever Forgive Me) at any moment, that you could easily get lost in it all. But Grant finds a way to bring about balance within the role. You see the good and the bad, and you see how he battles with it all and still comes out smiling.

While Driver and Grant should be the front runners here, with this being Grant’s award to lose, Ali has become the front runner as of late. Ali won the Golden Globe, SAG Award and the BAFTA, and his part in the film is quite possibly the single solitary thing that makes the film worth any sort of value at all. It’s infuriating to think that this film will have the note of having won an Academy Award for anything. But if there’s something it’s going to take home an Oscar for, it should be Ali’s performance. And Ali has endless amounts of talent and deserves to constantly be recognized, so… it’s slightly acceptable. But I’m still hoping in my heart of hearts that Grant takes this home.

So as of now here’s the final word:

Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Green Book

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Written by Alex Lancaster
(Alex is a life long film fan, and has dedicated his life to watching, making and obsessing over films. His favorite film is Big Fish, and he despises Avatar. He has a 4 year old son. And a bad habit of saying more than he needs to. Follow @alex5348 on Twitter)
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