Best Supporting Actor predictions: Which nominee could beat Sam Rockwell (‘Three Billboards’) at Oscars? [POLL]

Sam Rockwell is hitting all the major precursors on the way to winning his first Oscar, for playing troubled cop Jason Dixon in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” But the other nominees in Best Supporting Actor could give him a run for his money, as no one is completely out of it just yet. Who do YOU think could take him down at the 2018 Oscars? Vote in our poll below.

Rockwell has already won the Critics’ Choice, Golden Globe, BAFTA and SAG Awards for Best Supporting Actor, and he is the predicted frontrunner at the Oscars. There are a few setbacks he could face that could prevent his win, though. To start, he is competing with a co-star in this category, Woody Harrelson. Harrelson is certainly playing the more sympathetic figure in the film and he could easily steal votes away from Rockwell. This leads into the broader point, which is that the characterization of Rockwell has been the center of the film’s backlash. He is a blatant racist in the film who has admittedly tortured black citizens, and some have argued that he is redeemed by the end. Will a more socially conscious academy inherently feel unease toward voting for an unsavory character like this, even if it shouldn’t contribute to judging his performance on its own? Here are his competitors.

Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project” — Dafoe was the early frontrunner in this category after winning boatloads of critics awards. His performance as motel manager Bobby Hicks is very subtle in nature, and he does not get a big juicy monologue in the film, but voters clearly like him and he could be considered more overdue than Rockwell. He has two previous nominations, for “Platoon” (1986) and “Shadow of a Vampire” (2000). Unfortunately, this is the only nomination for “The Florida Project” so voters might not even like his film, which indirectly hurts him.

Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” — Harrelson was a bit of a late addition to the “Three Billboards” hype train, only getting SAG and BAFTA nominations before this. His Chief Willoughby is the heart and soul of the first half of the film, and it’s easy to like a veteran actor like Harrelson, who has two previous nominations himself. He could take over the “Three Billboards” buzz if voters are turned off by Rockwell’s character, but it may be too little too late for Harrelson.

Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water” — Jenkins in “The Shape of Water” is another performance that serves as the heart of the film, playing Elisa’s (Sally Hawkins) closeted artist friend Giles. Voters clearly love “The Shape of Water,” giving it 13 nominations in total, and if voters want to spread the love and give it an acting win they may go for Jenkins instead of Hawkins or Octavia Spencer. Some voters may feel more comfortable voting for Frances McDormand and her controversy-free character in Best Actress, but vote for a likable character like Giles here.

Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World” — Here we have the biggest X factor in the race. Plummer’s last-minute replacement of accused sexual assaulter Kevin Spacey in “All the Money in the World” was a huge story, and those who saw Plummer’s performance as J. Paul Getty were surprised he was able to film so much of the movie. A vote for Plummer would send a big, headline-grabbing message to other sexual predators that no matter their artistic talents, they are replaceable.

PREDICT the Oscar winners now; change them until March 4

Be sure to make your Oscar predictions so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on March 4. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our movie forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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