2014 Oscar Nominations for Best Actor in a Supporting Role:
Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”
Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle”
Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave”
Jonah Hill, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”
A Somali pirate leader, a corrupt FBI agent, a terrifying slave owner, a scummy stockbroker and an HIV-positive transgender woman.
This year has included some of the most diverse and moving performances by an actor in a supporting role in recent memory. Each one of these remarkable men pushed themselves to their artistic and cinematic limits to bring life to supporting characters that stood out every time they entered a scene.
Some played vicious villains. Abdi, a first-time screen actor, held his own against Tom Hanks in “Captain Phillips.”
Fassbender, a rising Hollywood favorite, played the role of slave owner Edwin Epps with so many complex layers that he refined what it meant to be “the bad guy.” Both of these men brought something unique to the idea of a standard antagonist, and did so with such dedication that they are utterly deserving of this nomination.
Hill, a villain in a different sense of the word, played a cocky sidekick to Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street.” He transformed his character into a unique portrait of what happens when one lets his ego ravenously embody his entire being. As much as his character is unlikeable, it is hard to deny the charm and control Hill brings to this performance.
Cooper managed to sneak his way into this field due to the Academy’s love affair with “American Hustle.” However, the nod is not entirely undeserving. In one of his most challenging roles to date, Cooper proves that he has an understated insight of the roles that he plays. His performance is not flashy, but it is enough to make you stop and think about his role in the crime-ring that runs throughout David O. Russell’s latest flick.
The persistent forerunner of the pack is, without a doubt, Leto for his star-making turn as Rayon in “Dallas Buyers Club.” This is Leto’s first nomination and will most definitely be his first win. The singer turned actor plays Rayon with such a beautiful spirit and light. He completely transformed himself and immersed himself into the transgender culture. Leto has used this role to shine a light on issues facing the LGBT community, and Rayon has become a beacon of hope and understanding for millions of viewers. Leto steals every scene that he is in, even against McConaughey’s brilliant work, and I cannot think of anyone else who deserves the Oscar this year as much as he does.
Leto’s performance is one of those once-in-a-lifetime roles you are never going to forget.
Who WILL Win: Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”
Who SHOULD Win: Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”