2013 Oscar Predictions: Waltz Plays Runner-Up in Supporting and There's a Log Jam at the Bubble for Best Actor

Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson and Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained
Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson and Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained
Photo: The Weinstein Co.

Christoph Waltz saw himself playing runner-up to Dwight Henry (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln) and Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike, Bernie) from the Los Angeles, Boston and New York film critics respectively in recent days.

The Weinstein Co. has moved the actor who plays a German-born bounty hunter in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, back into the Supporting Actor hunt, but can he find his way into the top five? Especially considering he's facing off against two co-stars in Samuel L. Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio, the latter of which is virtually guaranteed a seat at the five-chaired table.

This morning I updated my Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor predictions and when it comes to Supporting, while three actors in On the Waterfront, The Godfather and The Godfather Part II have been nominated before (via Gold Derby), I'm not counting on it happening again this year. In fact, at the moment I'm not counting on two of them getting in, though I do have Waltz knocking on the door.

As of now, here's how my top five is looking in the Best Supporting Actor category:

Best Supporting Actor

  1. Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)
  2. Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained)
  3. Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)
  4. Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)
  5. Alan Arkin (Argo)

The top three I'm quite certain are in and even though The Master seems to be dipping at the moment (though the L.A. critics loved it), I think it will, at the very least, be recognized for its three main acting performances. Hoffman remains.

Alan Arkin (Argo) enjoys one of the biggest jumps on today's list along with Dwight Henry who still remains below the bubble while Arkin joins the top five, narrowly edging out Waltz. This move was made largely because none of the critical orgs are paying Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty) or Russell Crowe (Les Miserables) much attention and they (Clarke especially) would need some attention to remain in the hunt.

As for why I'm going with Arkin over Waltz; 1) Arkin is great in Argo and leaves a lasting impression in a film that isn't likely to runaway with the top awards, but will continue to be remembered and 2) Django Unchained will be a tough watch for many and as great as Waltz is in it I have a feeling DiCaprio and Jackson will be remembered in the end over Waltz. And, at the moment, the push for Jackson seems minimal, while DiCaprio seems a sure thing, which leaves Waltz as the lone question mark.

Whether you're buying what I'm selling there or not, the short of the matter is, at the moment, my gut tells me Waltz isn't going to make it.

You can get my full list of Best Supporting Actor contenders, rankings and position movements right here.

Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook
Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook
Photo: The Weinstein Co.

Moving to Best Actor, I have two new names in my top five, though my top three remain the same.

Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables) moves into the top five at #4, a move I'm quite confident in and while it pained me to do so, I have moved John Hawkes (The Sessions) to #6 and, for the moment, given the edge at #5 to Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook).

I loved The Sessions and after seeing it there was no doubt in my mind Hawkes and Helen Hunt would be nominated. Yet, here we are and the film seems to have been largely forgotten. I don't see anyone writing about it as all the talk regarding the best films of the year falls on the same shoulders. I like Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook quite a bit, but I have to say even I'm shocked I was able to move him into the top five over Hawkes, though it's a move I may be reversing sooner rather than later.

Here's my top five for Best Actor at the moment:

Best Actor

  1. Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
  2. Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)
  3. Denzel Washington (Flight)
  4. Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables)
  5. Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)

You can get my full list of Best Actor contenders, rankings and position movements right here.

  • http://www.rabidpictures.com Yaz

    I was really hoping this would be Phoenix's year... Sigh... Of course Day-Lewis HAD to show up.

    • MajorFilmFan

      He also may have screwed himself over, because of what he said about the Oscars, refering to them as ''Carrots" and stating that "I Don't want This carrot". You can look up his full statement. But it ain't pretty. I feel after that, he was screwed... Sad though. He was PHENOMENAL in The Master.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Aleonardis/ Aleonardis

    Those SAG nominations are going to be very telling. I bet they bring Hawkes back around. Washington ends up left out...

  • The Dude

    So are the Waltz mentions just a matter of critics having a hard on for him, or is it a sign that he is the one that awards groups are going to go for? You have Leo at #2, which I expected based on the script/trailers, but the critics groups seem to be pointing in a different direction. Why do you think this is, Brad?

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Criterion10/ Criterion10

    I don't see Tommy Lee Jones winning it. Maybe part of it is that I hope he doesn't, but still. I'd love to see Phillip Seymour Hoffman win. Him and Joaquin gave the two best performances of the year.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Aleonardis/ Aleonardis

      I really don't think it'll happen. I see De Niro or DiCaprio winning. What SAG does with these categories will be important.

    • The Dude

      Yeah, I didn't think Jones was anything special. A few good scenes, sure, but he mostly just insulted other characters the whole time. A little one note. The Academy loves Hoffman, so I think he's still in play, but even though the film is great, I don't think the Academy is going to go for it, which will hurt him. I would have thought that by this point DiCaprio would be the frontrunner, but the embargo on that movie (which is ridiculous because most seem to be raving about it in tweets) is preventing it from generating buzz.

    • adu

      I totally agree, Hoffman and Joaquin were the best I've seen this year.

  • Person

    Brad, any idea when you'll be reviewing Django?? Looking forward to it.

  • http://hypethemovies.wordpress.com Jordan B.

    I think it's a safe bet to move Cooper into the Top 5 for Best Actor, though maybe that's just because I'm really pulling for him to get nominated.

  • bill

    i think Arkin was decent in Argo but should not at all be in discussion for awards. Over Pena or much more deserving actors!

  • Winchester

    I'd keep the top four but at the moment keep Crowe in play regarding Best Supporting Actor. I'd suspect if DiCaprio is good enough the Academy may seek to recognise him finally after years of trying. He really should have his eye on a Best Actor win though in the long run. But an Oscar is an Oscar.

    Best Actor itself looks OK just now, especially if The Sessions can't heat up. Hunt will have an easier time getting into Best Supporting Actress than Hawkes may due to the heavier field for Best Actor.

  • Jack

    Well, Waltz is the only actor to win Oscar for a QT film. He was a supporting player and a bad guy.

    Leo is the same thing. Supporting and a bad guy. The Academy loves bad guys for supporting actor-Ledger, Waltz, Bardem. Clooney won his Oscar for a supporting role.

    • http://www.seattleweekly.com/authors/john-wood/2005/ John Wood

      I support this logic.

      Jones himself won one in the 90's for essentially playing a 'bad' guy as well in 'The Fugitive'. For the bulk of that movie, he was the antagonist to the hero.

      The antagonist tends to be the more "actorly' role, against which the calm center of the film (our hero) must react.

  • rogerio Silvestre

    I saw FLIGHT last night! It's subject is quite rich, but the movie itself is not that great! Denzel Washington is always an amazing presence on screen, but personally, I don't think he is a great actor. In FLIGHT, he keeps acting as THE Denzel Washington that I am used seeing - yeah, convincing, but please, he does not deserve to be nominated!

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

      Denzel always delivers and I pretty much always love his movies. Even in movies that a lot of critics hate (i.e. John Q), I think he still kills it.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

    Good updates, Brad. While I completely agree on Hawkes and "The Sessions" being forgotten (despite him being deserving of a nom), I still think Hoffman is one of the frontrunners for the Supporting Actor category, even if "The Master" is losing steam.

    What I said about Hawkes above aside, I'd be very happy if Cooper got nominated for Silver LInings.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Anthony_X/ Anthony_X

    Brad, you are underestimating The Impossible. I know you disliked it very much, but I believe SAG will come for both McGregor and Watts.

  • Alex

    What about Michael Pena for End of Watch? He just got a nomination at the Spirit Awards

    • Bren

      Wouldn't mind seeing either of the two from this movie nominated but I don't think it'll happen. Bigger names and films seem to trump actual good performances.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ian/ Ian

    I agree with your Supporting Actor field, though I might switch the order around a bit. I almost feel like DiCaprio may win it...it seems like such a juicy role, he's clearly respected by his peers, and his main competition (Jones and Hoffman) have both already won. I think it may be his for the taking. Like with Clooney, it would feel odd for one of Hollywood's few traditional leading men to get his Oscar for a supporting role but it's not like either of them couldn't win again. DeNiro also feels like a lock and I don't know who I'd put in that fifth slot...personally I'd love to see Dwight Henry, but it won't happen. I doubt it will be one of the other Django guys, so Arkin is probably ultimately the safest bet. Crowe would probably be next...the buzz on Les Mis seems to be softening, but remember that no one from the Academy has voted yet. That is an Academy film through and through and I still expect it to score in the neighborhood of 10-14 nominations...and it's still my favorite for Best Picture until I see Academy members vote differently.

    Best Actor is funny...DDL is clearly the favorite, but I almost think he's the only one who's a lock for a nomination. Phoenix's comment guarantees that he won't win, but I wonder if he'll even get nominated. The Academy clearly thinks very highly of itself and his comments may cost him. I also could see Denzel slipping out...problem is, who else do you put up there. This is such a weak year, but there still have to be five nominees. I'd probably put Jackman up there, and I'd keep Hawkes in. Then I'd say it's between Phoenix, Denzel, Cooper, and Gere (in what feels like a comeback performance of sorts, he hasn't been relevant in years) for the final two slots. I wouldn't completely discount Hopkins either, though Hitchcock has no buzz at all.

    I guess I'd rank them like this:

    1. DiCaprio
    2. Jones
    3. Hoffman
    4. DeNiro
    5. Crowe
    6. Arkin
    (5 and 6 are a virtual tossup)

    1. DDL
    2. Jackman
    3. Hawkes
    4. Phoenix
    5. Gere

  • Nick

    I don't see what was that great about Arkin's performance. To me, he was Arkin playing Arkin milking the "Argo fuck yourself" line, and he sure as hell didn't leave any more of a lasting impression than John Goodman did in both Argo and Flight. If what is said about Samuel L. Jackson's work in Django is true, I'll be mad if Arkin gets the fifth slot.

    • Matt P


  • http://timeforafilm.com Alex Thomas

    Hoffman still favourite in the odds which is surprising. I think you've nailed it though Brad. Shame about The Sessions loss of momentum.

  • Ron Oneal Fresh

    Based on the chatter about Django, Waltz & SLJ performances were the highlights. As much as I'd like to see Dicaprio win an Oscar, I rather he win for the right performance than win a legacy award.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Travis/ Travis

    I don't see Denzel carrying the momentum at this point. I just don't. To me, I see Hawkes, DDL, Phoenix, Jackman and Cooper.

    Supporting-wise, I agree with your top 4, but I think someone from Les Mis will squeak in. Russell seems like the better bet, but I hear that a lot of buzz is behind Eddie Redmayne

  • Sebastian

    DiCaprio for the win! He deserves it!