BY DYLAN ANDREW
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR-
- Michael Keaton in "Spotlight" - This is the category with the largest number of legitimate contenders, and, therefore, the one that's the hardest to nail down. That being said, Keaton has a lot going for him here, both as a potential nominee and even winner, that will help him stand out from the pack. "Spotlight" is the BP frontrunner at this point and Keaton came very close to winning last year for his "comeback" performance in "Birdman". He's been singled out with raves amongst the impressive "Spotlight" ensemble and might be seen as due for recognition after failing to win last year.
- Samuel L. Jackson in "The Hateful Eight" - It's tough to say who will pop in the ensemble of Tarantino's latest, but my bets are on his longtime collaborator Samuel L. Jackson. There's some suggestion that this is a borderline leading performance, but given how tough that field is to penetrate, I think the campaign would be smart to place him in supporting instead, as borderline lead performances have done well here before.
- Mark Rylance in "Bridge of Spies" - Rylance is not a name familiar to most, but he's a highly esteemed English theater actor and he's received stand-out reviews for his rare screen turn in Spielberg's latest. Given the overall popularity of the film, I think Rylance should be able to get nominated. What's working against Rylance is that he doesn't appear to be campaigning for it, which, could hurt him given his relative obscurity in Hollywood.
- Harvey Keitel in "Youth" - I'm betting on Keitel here because of the film's obvious appeal to an older demographic, the borderline lead quality of the performance and the fact that Keitel has only received one nomination to date for his supporting turn in "Bugsy" back in 1991.
- Tom Hardy in "The Revenant" - Hardy has delivered many acclaimed and high-profile performances over the past few years and an Oscar nomination seems a question of "when" rather than "if" at this point. While "The Revenant" looks like it might register more as a one-man-show for DiCaprio, if Hardy gets enough to do here, this could be just the right combination of role and film to get him that elusive first nomination.
- OTHER POSSIBILITIES: Idris Elba in "Beasts of No Nation", Seth Rogen in "Steve Jobs", Benicio del Toro in "Sicario", Robert De Niro in "Joy"
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS-
- Rooney Mara in "Carol" - After winning Best Actress at Cannes, surprisingly over her more esteemed co-star Cate Blanchett, (in an equally acclaimed performance) Mara appeared to be the favorite to win here so long as the campaign chose to go supporting. Since they have officially pushed her for supporting, I see no likelier alternative.
- Alicia Vikander in "The Danish Girl" - Like Mara, Vikander benefits from what is more a co-lead performance being pushed here as supporting. This has also been something of a breakout year for Vikander, with other high-profile roles in "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." and "Ex Machina", so this nomination would also be representative of that.
- Kate Winslet in "Steve Jobs" - Winslet's supporting turn as Joanna Hoffman will very likely earn the once-perennial nominee her a first nomination since winning for "The Reader" in 2008.
- Jennifer Jason Leigh in "The Hateful Eight" - Tarantino tends to write strong female characters and the fact that Leigh is the only woman amongst this male heavy ensemble should help her to stand out.
- Rachel McAdams in "Spotlight" - The film is a major contender and McAdams is a very well liked actress who has yet to receive a nomination. She's received strong notices for her performance here, along with strong notices for her work in "Southpaw" and the second season of "True Detective", which could accumulate into a body-of-work nomination vis-a-vie Vikander.
- OTHER POSSIBILITIES: Jane Fonda in "Youth", Joan Allen in "Room", Julie Walters in "Brooklyn", Rachel Weisz in "Youth"