Four of the five nominees for Best Supporting Actor have contended at the Oscars before but none has won.
Christopher Plummer career spans decades but his first Oscar nomination came just two years ago for supporting his role as Leo Tolstoy in “The Last Station.” In “Beginners” he plays a character inspired by the real-life the father of writer-director Mike Mills — a man who comes out as gay in his 70s before succumbing to cancer. Plummer has picked up every precursor prize and is the absolute frontrunner to prevail. At 82, he will be the oldest-ever acting winner.
If anyone plays spoiler, it could be another 82-year-old celebrated actor: Max von Sydow who has also been nominated only once before (Best Actor: “Pelle the Conqueror, 1988)” The Swedish actor, famed for his collaborations with Ingmar Bergman, steals scenes in “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” as the mute neighbor of a grieving boy who turns out to be his grandson.
Kenneth Branagh picked his second acting bid for playing real-life screen legend, Laurence Olivier in “My Week with Marilyn.” Throughout his career, Branagh has followed in Olivier’s footsteps. His first acting nod came for his 1989 screen version of “Henry V” and he got a screenplay nod in 1996 for his adaptation of “Hamlet.” In earlier incarnations, Olivier earned an Oscar nom in 1947 for the former and won in 1948 for the latter.
Jonah Hill came to fame in the Judd Apatow-produced comedy “Superbad” and has since developed a following with laffers like “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “Get Him to the Greek,” and “Walk Hard.” He reaped his first Oscar nomination for a change-of-pace subdued performance in “Moneyball” as the statistician who helps Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) transform the Oakland A’s.
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Click on each of the categories below for the overview of that race.