2016 Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Winner: Sylvester Stallone, Creed
This is another category that is truly a toss-up. Given the way previous awards have swung, the race appears to be between Stallone and “Bridge of Spies” star Mark Rylance. This is a very complex category to judge because Rylance secured nominations at the Golden Globes, SAGS, Critics Choice Award, and the BAFTAs. However, he’s only won the BAFTA. Meanwhile, Stallone was only nominated at the Globes and Critics Choice Award, where he won both awards. That means Stallone beat out Rylance in the only two match-ups they had.

The fact they did not face-off more makes judging the frontrunner much more difficult. The main indication that Stallone is the favorite was the goodwill and open affection shown towards him by his peers at the Golden Globes. The sentiment was off the charts during his acceptance speech and the people in that room are the same ones who cast their ballot for the Oscar. 

Why He’ll Win:
In a lot of ways, a Best Supporting Actor win for Stallone is the industry’s way of showing their appreciation for a veteran. The last time Stallone was nominated for the Oscar, he was up for Lead Actor and the Best Original Screenplay prize for “Rocky” in 1977. He lost both and the movie went on to win Best Picture, in another one of those zany Academy decisions that awarded the overall film and ignored the talent that got it there, 2016 appears to be the year that decision will be rectified.

The Other Contenders:
Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”) is the biggest threat to a Stallone victory, having secured the BAFTA the winning momentum is his coming into Sunday night. As mentioned above and similar to the Supporting Actress race that’s not necessarily an indication of anything since Stallone wasn’t nominated and he has defeated Rylance every time they have gone toe-to-toe.

Coming in a hypothetical third place is previous Oscar winner Christian Bale for his role in the unlikely underdog contender “The Big Shot”. Comedies don’t typically fare well at the Oscars and since Bale is portraying a light role, it hampers his chances at a second win. He did win the Critics Choice Award for Supporting Actor in a Comedy though, so he shouldn’t be completely counted out. There’s a chance the vote could split between Stallone and Rylance, leaving an opening for Bale. 

Perennial nominee Mark Ruffalo earned raves for his role in “Spotlight”. In a movie that’s every bit an ensemble, he managed to beat out co-stars Michael Keaton and Liev Schreiber for the Supporting nod. “Spotlight” earned the award for Best Ensemble at the SAGs so chances are the Academy might be leaning towards at least acknowledging one member of the Best Picture favorite’s cast.

However, it would not be a big surprise if they didn’t. All of the nominated cast members from last year’s Best Picture winner “Birdman” went home empty-handed. First-time nominee Tom Hardy is a long shot for the win. He did not campaign for the award and didn’t show up at any of the year’s awards shows. Despite critical acclaim, his nomination was a pleasant surprise given he was looked over at the Golden Globes, SAGs, and BAFTAs.

Category Factoids:
Stallone’s Oscar nomination makes him the sixth actor in Oscar history to be nominated for the same role twice. Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy are the first-time nominees of the group. Mark Ruffalo and Christian Bale have each been nominated 3 times and Sylvester Stallone twice. Of the nominees, Christian Bale is the only previous winner. Leonardo DiCaprio handpicked Tom Hardy to star opposite of him in “The Revenant”. The two had previously co-starred in Best Picture nominee “Inception” back in 2011. Tom Hardy stars in 2 out the 8 Best Picture nominees.

The Toughest Loss:
If Stallone loses it will be tough to accept. He’s a veteran thesp who’s given audiences a character that’s entertained the masses for almost 40 years. How many actors can say their incarnation has endured in the hearts of fans for that long and still left them wanting more? That’s an accomplishment unto itself.

If you’ve seen Tom Hardy in any movie, you know he is one of the best actors of his generation. After being overlooked for his Oscar-worthy performance in “Locke” last year, it’s safe to say Hardy has presented a body of work worthy of several nominations. At 38 it’s also safe to say he’s only getting started. In 2015, Hardy appearance in three movies and two of them are Best Picture nominees. His work speaks for itself and if there’s any justice this won’t be the first time he’s recognized.

And the Oscar Went to:
Mark Rylance for "Bridge of Spies"