2013 Oscar Nominees Profiled: Best Supporting Actor

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It’s that time of year again, as Hollywood’s finest find themselves, with alarming regularity, donning outfits that cost more than your house and jewellery worth more than you will earn in a lifetime. But awards season is all building to one supreme event, the Empire Awards Oscars on February 24. Ahead of that milestone, we assess the chances of each nominee in the major categories, and see who’s looking good ahead of the big night...

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See also: Best Adapted Screenplay Profiles See also: Best Original Screenplay Profiles See also: Best Actress Profiles See also: Best Actor Profiles
See also: Best Supporting Actress Profiles See also: Best Director Profiles

Film: Argo

Why He Will Win

1 It’s a good performance as a Hollywood good guy, which is something that Tinseltown might want to encourage. 2 Arkin could benefit from Argo’s apparent momentum, because at some point all that underdog kudos has got to make it the front-runner. 3 He’s Alan Arkin. Everyone loves Alan Arkin.

Why He Won't Win

1 It’s not the most obviously eye-catching performance of the year, with Arkin projecting an air of quiet patriotism heavily laced with cynicism rather than, say, hyperbolic rage. 2 Arkin has yet to bag a win at any of the big pre-Oscar awards shows. 3 Doesn’t it feel a bit as though he’s nominated just for being Alan Arkin? Was it really that limit-pushing a role for him?

Film: Django Unchained

Why He Will Win

1 Almost a co-lead, it’s a sufficiently meaty role that there should be lots for Academy voters to sink their teeth into – and he won the BAFTA and the Globe, for what that’s worth. 2 Waltz plays a character called Dr King Schultz. If Hollywood is really as liberal as people say, how can the voters resist a character called Dr King? 3 Waltz gave a delightful acceptance speech last time; who doesn’t want to see another like that?

Why He Won't Win

1 The film doesn’t have much momentum, and Waltz hasn’t swept the board in the run-up to Oscars. 2 The film may be too bloody and violent for the voters to really go for. 3 Does it feel a bit like they nominated the wrong supporting actor for this film? Samuel L. Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio both go against type in perhaps more eye-catching roles.
Film: Silver Linings Playbook

Why He Will Win

1 It’s a return to storming form from an actor who has been underperforming a little in recent years. Call it a comeback and the voters won’t be able to resist. 2 He’s freakin’ Robert De Niro. If any of these nominees – all previous winners – are going to win again, surely it should be freakin’ Robert De Niro. 3 The Academy’s acting arm clearly loves the film, which should surely give its more respected star some help.

Why He Won't Win

1 While the part is very good, it’s much smaller and less eye-catching than some of his fellow nominees. 2 De Niro already has two Oscars, unlike his fellow nominees who all have one. Surely it would be unfair to give him a third? Maybe they’ll spread the love. 3 De Niro hasn’t won anything for the film yet, missing out at the SAGs and not even up for a Globe.

Film: The Master

Why He Will Win

1 Hoffman’s performance as a religious leader of dubious faith is stunning, and his double-act with Joaquin Phoenix one of the great screen clashes. 2 Paul Thomas Anderson’s film may have been overlooked in many categories, but its actors have been justly lavished with nominations – and he won the Critic’s Choice prize in this category. Could that be a good sign? 3 He deserves a prize for that moustache alone.

Why He Won't Win

1 While he came into his Oscar win for Capote with unstoppable momentum and a clean sweep of virtually every other prize, Hoffman hasn’t had much love elsewhere this year. 2 The film’s been largely ignored, outside the Acting categories, and there’s a very real possibility that many voters won’t have seen it. 3 Did it feel to anyone else that Hoffman had played roles like this before? Or was that just him making it look easy?

Film: Lincoln

Why He Will Win

1 He took the SAG award, which is no bad sign, and with no clear winner in this category that’s probably the best indicator of a likely triumph. 2 It’s an eye-catching part with some of the film’s funniest lines, as well as some barnstorming speeches and great character moments. He deserves the Oscar just for gruffly shouting, at a knock on his door, “It opens!”. 3 Jones went bald under his fright wig, so he might get uglying-up points from Academy voters, who always seem impressed by that.

Why He Won't Win

1 He’s not nearly as well-loved as Alan Arkin, or as likeably foreign as Christoph Waltz. 2 He hasn’t swept all before him at the awards shows thus far, so it’s all still to play for. 3 This face.