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Our 2023 Oscars Predictions: Best Supporting Actor

Well, I’m back! After all, if it’s awards season, then the A-number one prognosticator must return to offer his insights about the big event, and let you know who should win and, more importantly, who’s going to.

I have to be honest, I will be gosh darned if this isn’t the gosh darnedest awards season I’ve seen in a while. Usually, by the time we get to the week of the awards, we have a general idea of who’s going to win each category. Sure, there are occasionally a surprise or two, and even rarer is a genuine race in which either of a couple people could or should win, but that has become increasingly rare in this age of nonstop awards events and lots of social media speculation.

Interestingly, the one place in which this is not true this year is the category with which we’ll begin our analysis, Best Supporting Actor.

The nominees are Brendan Gleeson for The Banshees of Inisherin, Brian Tyree Henry for Causeway, Judd Hirsch for The Fabelmans, Barry Keoghan for Banshees, and Ke Huy Quan for Everything Everywhere All at Once.

When Oscar Season began, it would have been hard to imagine anyone other than Hirsch or maybe Gleeson winning this award. Both are elder statesmen, Hirsch especially, and beloved by people within the industry. Hirsch is only in one sequence of Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical opus, but his presence is so strong, you can’t take your eyes off him. It’s the kind of momentous cinematic moment that people love to see, and which sometimes win awards.

Glesson, similarly, is marvelous in Martin McDonagh’s period piece about the violent end of a friendship in 1923 Ireland. Gleeson’s work has been consistently great for years, and it was only a matter of time before he scored a nomination. In fact, when I saw the movie last fall, I looked at my wife and said, “That’s it, this guy is gonna win the Oscar.”

This, even though I had already seen Causeway and Everything Everywhere All at Once.

Before we get to those two movies, though, let’s say a word about Barry Keoghan, who brings a sort of magic to his portrayal of a slow-witted inhabitant of the small island where the movie’s action takes place. In another year, he might be getting more attention, though the fact that he won the BAFTA award in this category tells you that, if anyone is going to pull an upset, it might be him. This is not the last time we’ll see him listed among a given year’s nominees, he just won’t climb the stage this year.

Henry’s work in Causeway was quiet and intense, but steadied a difficult movie and played perfectly against Jennifer Lawrence’s more manic work. He’s an immensely talented performer — anyone who has seen Atlanta can attest to that — and he’ll also be back, but this nomination is his award.

That brings us to Quan, the surefire winner of this year’s Best Supporting Actor trophy, who started winning critics awards, and slowly but surely emerged as not only the frontrunner, but the runaway winner. The thing is, despite what I said above about Gleeson’s work in Banshees, Quan absolutely and positively deserves it.

The reason I thought Gleeson was going to win is not because I thought he was better than Quan, but because I didn’t believe that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would properly reward a movie like EEAAO. I still don’t — more about that in the Best Supporting Actress and Best Actress categories to come — but this is the exception. It’s not just his performance that people love, it’s his comeback story.

This actor, best known for a pair of roles he played as a boy — Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Data in The Goonies, two movies that came out in 1984 and 1985, respectively — returns to the big screen nearly four decades later and wins an Oscar. Awesome.


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