2016 Oscars: Best Supporting Actor

Continuing my series of 2016 Oscars posts, which will run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the three weeks leading up to the Academy Awards on Sunday, February 28.

NOMINEES FOR ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Who Will Win: Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Who Could Win: Christian Bale, The Big Short
Who Should Win: Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Who Should Be Here: Benicio Del Toro, Sicaro

Unlike on the Supporting Actress side, there’s no real clear winner on this based on the performances. There’s lot of great work, but no truly transformative performance. As such, Sylvester Stallone’s seventh turn as Rocky Balboa rises to the top of the list. In the first Rocky movie not written by Stallone himself, he gives his most nuanced and quietly powerful performance of the series. That, combined with the obvious sentimentality to the seventh Rocky, the fact that he was overlooked the first time around and that Creed was completely shut out for other categories, should net Stallone his first golden statue.

My personal favorite performance in this category came from Tom Hardy, who played the antagonist in The Revenant. Hardy’s performance is evil and almost over the top but, in the usual Hardy manner, he reigns it in just enough to keep things real. He sports a mush-mouthed dialect that is both strange, somewhat funny and borderline not understandable (not too far away from Bane, come to that). And he holds his own with Leonardo DiCaprio’s (likely) Oscar-winning performance every step of the way.

The most likely to upset Stallone is probably Mark Rylance from Bridge of Spies. This is Rylance’s first nomination, though the actor has been a veteran of British productions for over 30 years. It’s also his first major Hollywood film. Rounding out the category are Mark Ruffalo and Christian Bale. Like with Rachel McAdams in Spotlight, the story so dominates the film that it’s hard to single out a single character or actor for recognition. Bale’s wacky turn as a top financial analyst was hilarious and weird, but he probably wasn’t in enough of the film nor did he dominate it enough to win.