Sunday, January 19, 2014

Awards-Nazi Award nominations: Supporting Actor

The story of the year seemed to be more about the leading men (and that's fair), but there was still some excellent work from the supporting ranks. Read about my five picks for the Best Supporting Actors of 2013 after the cut.

BARKHAD ABDI in Captain Phillips
In this authentically grounded performance as the pirate ringleader Muse, Abdi goes nose to nose with veteran A-lister Hanks with a ferocity underlain by sheer desperation. When Phillips suggests to him that there must be more to life than fishing and kidnapping people, one can't help but feel a sort of sympathy as Muse mutters in defeated response, “Maybe in America... Maybe in America.”

BRADLEY COOPER in The Place Beyond the Pines
No, don't adjust your monitors. I honestly do think Cooper gave one of the finest supporting turns of the year, but not the one which the Academy has recognized. Rather, it's his convincing work in Derek Cianfrance's triptych saga that impresses the most. He commands his third of the film as a rookie cop disillusioned by corruption and haunted by his "heroic" actions, smoothly transitioning into the man we meet in the final act.

CHRIS COOPER in August: Osage County
I certainly didn't care for the acting in this film on the whole, but Cooper develops an earnest, humble everyman persona that shines like an oasis in the desert. In a movie full of loud performances being drowned out by other loud performances, his steady reservedness and warmth allows his one emotive moment of righteous frustration to truly register; A lesson in building an impact performance on subtlety.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER in 12 Years a Slave
Epps' wickedness might seem cartoonishly over-the-top were it not for Fassbender's artfully unhinged performance. He spews empty “truths” from the Bible to justify his immorality, but his eyes suggest an even more deep-seeded self-loathing that manifests itself in every heinous act of abuse. The layers of Fassbender's work reveal Epps to be not a monster, but a human being, and that's the most frightening thing about him.

JARED LETO in Dallas Buyers Club
At first glance I felt that this transgendered performance came across as a bit broad, but after no time at all it really sings. The evolving relationship between Rayon and Woodroof is one of the film's biggest sources of humour and of heart, largely thanks to Leto. He's droll, charismatic, and finally heartbreaking as our hero's unlikely business partner and even more unlikely friend.

Just missed:
BRADLEY COOPER in American Hustle
JAMES FRANCO in Spring Breakers
JONAH HILL in The Wolf of Wall Street
KEITH STANFIELD in Short Term 12

*As much as I'd love to include Jake Gyllenhaal for fleshing out an underwritten role in Prisoners, I simply can't bring myself to consider him anything less than a co-lead. Ditto Daniel Bruhl in Rush.


  1. Fine line up. Though, I'm interested in knowing who mite have made your 6th and 7th slot (if there ever was one).

  2. Upon looking back, I think that Benedict Cumberbatch had one of the best supporting performances of the year in Star Trek into Darkness. I think it's a great underrated performance. But's that me.

  3. Cooper was good indeed in TPBTP (better than in Hustle that's for sure). But I still have to call it the worst movie I saw all year. So pretentious and such a bad message.

    I will be rooting for Hill on Oscar night. There was a pleasant surprise nod.

  4. I realize this is so late, but I felt that Cooper was more of a co-lead in 'Hustle.' What do you think?

    1. It's certainly debatable. I figure it's mainly Irving and Sydney's story and they're the ones we're invested in and getting to know more intimately than Richie, but there's certainly enough for one to make the case of a co-lead.