Two weeks ago Mark Ruffalo had distant 12-to-1 odds to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for portraying scandal-busting newspaperman Michael Renzedes in “Spotlight,” according to the 20 experts making predictions at Gold Derby. He sat in fifth place with only one pundit — Kevin Polowy (Yahoo) — picking him to prevail. However, he just picked up the backing of two more experts: Edward Douglas (Coming Soon) and Keith Simanton (IMDB). That support, combined with where the rest of us rank him, moves him up to third place with odds of 15-to-2 in a tie with Mark Rylance who is featured in the just-released “Bridge of Spies.” (Click on the chart above to trace the movement of the top 10 contenders.)
The category favorite continues to be Idris Elba (7-to-2 odds) who has the support of six Oscarologists just as “Beasts of No Nation” unspools in theaters and on Netflix. Elba plays the ‘Commandant,’ who recruits child soldiers in Cary Fukunaga‘s unflinching drama set against the backdrop of a civil war in an unnamed African country. While this British actor has won a Golden Globe and reaped an Emmy bid for “Luther,” he has never been nominated for an Oscar.
Michael Keaton, who plays Ruffalo’s tough-talking editor Walter “Robby” Robinson in “Spotlight,” holds on to second place with 9-to-2 odds, hiking his backing to four experts from three. Keaton is holding an Oscar IOU, having just missed out on Best Actor last year for “Birdman” to Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”). But so too does Ruffalo who has contended in this category twice, losing his 2010 bid for “The Kids Are All Right” to Christian Bale (“The Fighter”) and last year for “Foxcatcher” to J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”).
In “Spotlight,” Tom McCarthy‘s docudrama about the Boston Globe’s 2001 investigation of the Catholic priests’ sex scandal, Keaton and Ruffalo’s characters are at odds throughout. However, it is Ruffalo who gets to deliver an impassioned speech about the freedom of the press and his is the character that cracks the story wide open.
As you can see above from the comparison of what we were thinking at the outset of the derby in late August (when our experts’ first began making predix before they saw most contenders) to today, Elba has always a strong contender. Back then he was tied with Tom Hardy (“The Revenant“) for first place. In the ensuing weeks, Hardy was even ranked first for a time but has fallen to fifth. Ruffalo had no support and didn’t appear among the top 28 contenders. (Click on the image to explore these trends in-depth by selecting various dates in the two calendars.)
“Spotlight” continues to sit atop our chart for Best Picture as it has since it swept through the Telluride, Venice and Toronto filmfests. This Open Road release is out on Nov. 7. Still unseen is “The Revenant,” in which Hardy plays a hunter in the Dakota Territory who abandons a frontiersman (Leonardo DiCaprio) after a bear attack. This follow-up from “Birdman” triple Oscar winner Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is due out at Christmas.
Who do you think will win Best Supporting Actor?
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