Eye on the Oscars: The Actor - Supporting actors in the mix

Armie Hammer
“J. Edgar”

While the story of the former FBI chief is fairly well known, Hammer’s portrayal of Hoover confidante Clyde Tolson was revelatory. Hammer more than earned his endorsement from director Clint Eastwood and co-star Leonardo DiCaprio in a role that defines what it means to be a behind-the-scenes power player.

John Hawkes
“Martha Marcy May Marlene”

There may be no better American actor working today than Hawkes, who brought a Manson-like chill to the murderous cult leader in Sean Durkin’s impressive first full-length feature. Whatever film Hawkes is cast, the TV (“Deadwood”) and film vet carries a huge presence always raises the temperature.

Jonah Hill
“Moneyball”

The old school talent scouts wondered how the “Superbad” funnyman could be cast as Billy Beane’s right-hand man, but Hill showed what a bit of unconventional drafting can do. Conveying nuanced shades of confidence and humility, Hill convinced as the stat-based idea man that helped fuel the “Moneyball” engine.

Andy Serkis
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

Will now be the time when actors working in performance-capture technologies be credited for, well, acting? A case can certainly be made for Serkis, who is the most well known in the arena, may do it better than anyone. He provided Caesar with more than a few human emotions in this very worthy spinoff.

Max Von Sydow
“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”

Though the film has yet to be screened, there’s clearly a case to be made for von Sydow. The iconic actor continually brings gravitas to his roles and working here with Stephen Daldry is a plus: The helmer has a habit of watching his thesps ending up being Oscar nominated.

Christoph Waltz
“Carnage”

Though it may be difficult for voters to single out one actor when all four share the screen equally, but one could argue Waltz’s cell phone-mad attorney generates the most laughs in Roman Polanski’s film adaptation of the popular Broadway play.

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