There’s a new Best Supporting Actor Oscar frontrunner — among our Experts at least. “Green Book” star Mahershala Ali has toppled Timothee Chalamet (“Beautiful Boy”) to become the top pick of our top industry pundits.
While Chalamet is still ahead of Ali in our combined odds between our Experts, Editors and Top 24 Users, Ali has the support of 10 of our 25 Experts to nine for Chalamet. The remaining six are split between “A Star Is Born”‘s Sam Elliott, who has two votes, Richard E. Grant (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”), Adam Driver (“BlacKkKlansman”), Michael B. Jordan (“Black Panther”) and Daniel Kaluuya (“Widows”).
Chalamet has been the favorite all season for his performance as the meth addict son of Steve Carell, but he’s been losing ground in recent weeks, as support for the likes of Ali, Elliott and Grant has risen following their films’ premieres (Sam Rockwell, still unseen as President George W. Bush in “Vice,” currently occupies the fifth spot in our predictions).
Based on the real-life friendship between pianist Don Shirley (Ali) and his driver Tony “Lip” Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) that formed during a tour of the Deep South in 1962, “Green Book,” powered by Ali and Mortensen’s charming chemistry, was a surprise hit at the Toronto International Film Festival and even won the People’s Choice Award. Like Chalamet, Ali is in a similar situation of essentially being in a two-hander, but is opting to go supporting since the film, co-written by Vallelonga’s son, Nick Vallelonga, is mostly told from Vallelonga’s point of view.
Ali triumphed in the same category two seasons ago for “Moonlight,” which could be a double-edged sword. On one hand, voters know they just awarded him so they could look elsewhere, but on the other, he could be in that sweet honeymoon period where voters like you so much they don’t mind handing you another one in a short amount of time. Christoph Waltz most recently pulled it off in this category for “Django Unchained” (2012), three years after winning for “Inglourious Basterds” (2009).
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on January 22.