Oscars 2022: Best Supporting Actor predictions and the state of the race

Is the 2022 Oscars Best Supporting Actor race the most wide-open category of the year? At this stage of awards season, it would be hard to argue anything else. Among the Gold Derby experts, 20 different actors are currently predicted as possible nominees — more than any other acting category. Of those 20 actors, the experts have little consensus at this point in October: six different actors have at least one vote from an expert to win the whole thing.

Still, despite the scrum of worthy contenders, some stars have put some space between their competition. “The Power of the Dog” star Kodi Smit-McPhee is top among the experts and in the combined odds. It wouldn’t be a total surprise if he were to land a nomination, and maybe even win. The young star is the breakout performer in the Jane Campion movie and shares most of his scenes with either Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst, both of whom are widely predicted to score Oscar nominations of their own. (Jesse Plemons, the fourth high-profile member of the cast, is also in the heart of the Best Supporting Actor race.)

A couple of veterans sit in the second and third spots among experts: Jared Leto, a former winner here, is back again with “House of Gucci,” which gives the famously committed actor a chance to transform in unrecognizable ways to play Paolo Gucci, a balding overweight scion of the Gucci family.

There there is “Belfast,” the Best Picture front-runner that has two potential nominees in Best Supporting Actor: Ciaran Hinds, who is running third among experts, and Jamie Dornan. Dornan was added to the category in October and instantly generated a lot of fan support — but it is Hinds who makes up the emotional core of the Kenneth Branagh film and has generated a lot of heat among experts. (Dornan is currently in ninth place for the experts.)

Also extremely likely to generate a lot of noise are the late-comers: Bradley Cooper for “Licorice Pizza,” J.K. Simmons for “Being the Ricardos,” Willem Dafoe or “Nightmare Alley,” Jonah Hill or Mark Rylance for “Don’t Look Up,” and David Alvarez for “West Side Story,” playing the role of Bernardo, which won George Chakiris an Oscar in this category in 1962. 

But let’s end here with Ben Affleck, the two-time Oscar winner who has never been nominated for an acting award. Affleck has two strong contenders this year, George Clooney’s “The Tender Bar” and Ridley Scott’s “The Last Duel.” It remains to be seen which, if any, of his performances pop for voters, but he possesses the kind of star power that can push him over the top in a close race.

Christopher Rosen Oscars 2022 Best Supporting Actor predictions as of Monday, November 29 (updated weekly)

  1. Jared Leto, “House of Gucci”
  2. Bradley Cooper, “Licorice Pizza”
  3. J.K. Simmons, “Being the Ricardos”
  4. Jamie Dornan, “Belfast”
  5. Jonah Hill, “Don’t Look Up”

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