That sound you hear is Paul Raci crashing our Best Supporting Actor Oscar predictions. The “Sound of Metal” star has jumped six spots in a week, rising from ninth place in our Experts’ racetrack odds all the way to third on Dec. 27. He’s now just behind Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami”) and Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”).
The contenders he leapfrogged were Mark Rylance (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”), Bill Murray (“On the Rocks”), Chadwick Boseman (“Da 5 Bloods”), David Strathairn (“Nomadland”) and Stanley Tucci (“Supernova”). Rylance and Abdul-Mateen are still in the Experts’ top five. In our combined racetrack odds, Raci didn’t ascend as high, but he still hit the top five in fifth place.
Among our Experts, three have Raci winning it all — Susan King (Gold Derby), Kevin Polowy (Yahoo!) and Tim Gray (Variety) — the same amount who are predicting a Baron Cohen victory. Odom has 16 Experts backing him.
Raci is hardly a household name, especially in this field of contenders, but the veteran actor quickly became a fan favorite after “Sound of Metal” premiered on Amazon on Dec. 4. As Joe, a vet who lost his hearing in the Vietnam War and takes in Ruben (Riz Ahmed) at his sober house for the deaf, Raci gives a moving, lived-in performance that has struck a chord with viewers and critics alike. The early critics’ favorite, he has scooped up four wins thus far, including from the Boston Society of Film Critics, with a runner-up citation from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
Raci could end up as one of those critics’ darlings and people’s champion who gets snubbed by the academy, but in a wide-open race and with “Sound of Metal’s” growing momentum and word of mouth — Ahmed is in third in Best Actor with the Experts — he’s closer to a nomination than not at this point.
Experts top 5:
1. Leslie Odom Jr., “One Night in Miami”
2. Sacha Baron Cohen, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
3. Paul Raci, “Sound of Metal”
4. Mark Rylance, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
5. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
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