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One Of These 22 Men Will Probably Win Best Supporting Actor At The 2015 Oscars

best supporting actor

Welcome to For Your Consideration, HuffPost Entertainment's breakdown of all things Oscar. Between now and Feb. 22, 2015, entertainment managing editor Christopher Rosen and entertainment editor Matthew Jacobs will pore over awards season and discuss which films will make the most noise at the 87th annual Academy Awards.

No one has ever lamented a need for strong film roles for men, but this year's Oscar race implies an especially ripe time for complicated male parts in Hollywood. The Best Supporting Actor contest is just as crowded as the Best Actor derby HuffPost Entertainment chronicled a few weeks ago. The difference is that the supporting stars aren't quite as locked up as the leading gents. We have two likely nominees (J.K Simmons, Edward Norton), two strong contenders (Ethan Hawke, Mark Ruffalo) and a fifth spot that could belong to anyone. That means a handful of dudes could earn their first Oscar nominations (Miyavi, Tyler Perry, Chris Pine), while old favorites (Tom Wilkinson, Robert Duvall, Christoph Waltz) threaten to cast them aside. The rub is that many of these stars hail from massive casts ("Gone Girl," "Inherent Vice," "Selma"), so the real challenge comes in setting them apart from the pack. Here are the 22 men (you can't pick just five!) who could become this year's Best Supporting Actor nominees:

  • 22 Bradley Cooper, "Guardians of the Galaxy"
    Okay, so providing the voice for a talking space raccoon likely won't nab Bradley Cooper his third Oscar nomination in as man
    Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
    Okay, so providing the voice for a talking space raccoon likely won't nab Bradley Cooper his third Oscar nomination in as many years. But Cooper's blend of joyous anarchy and soulful heartbreak helped make Rocket Raccoon one of the year's most sympathetic characters. Maybe the MTV Movie Awards can create an award to recognize him and co-star Vin Diesel, he of Groot fame, for their invaluable off-screen contributions to the year's biggest blockbuster. -- Christopher Rosen
  • 21 Albert Brooks, "A Most Violent Year"
    Not as flashy as his performance in "Drive," Albert Brooks' introspective contribution to "A Most Violent Year" is one of the
    Neilson Barnard via Getty Images
    Not as flashy as his performance in "Drive," Albert Brooks' introspective contribution to "A Most Violent Year" is one of the film's real highlights. But if stabbing someone in the eye with a fork couldn't nab Brooks a nomination in 2011, his quiet turn in J.C. Chandor's film might be too subtle for awards recognition. -- CR
  • 20 Martin Short, "Inherent Vice"
    Martin Short’s “Inherent Vice” appearance is brief. He plays a shady dentist who, in a matter of minutes, snorts cocaine, hur
    Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
    Martin Short’s “Inherent Vice” appearance is brief. He plays a shady dentist who, in a matter of minutes, snorts cocaine, hurls a string of expletives and cozies up to a young blonde a third of his age. The cameo is so manic it may be the movie’s most memorable performance. Unfortunately, the crowded cast of Paul Thomas Anderson’s labyrinthine stoner noir isn’t likely to make it very far with Oscar voters. -- Matthew Jacobs
  • 19 Logan Lerman, "Fury"
    Not everyone loved “Fury” when it opened in October, but Logan Lerman won remarkable praise for his role as a terrified novic
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Not everyone loved “Fury” when it opened in October, but Logan Lerman won remarkable praise for his role as a terrified novice thrust into the throes of war. Working against David Ayer’s movie are its bloated length, hyper-intense violence and lukewarm critical reception. Luckily for Lerman, he gets the bulk of the movie’s heart -- something we also saw in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and “Noah,” two other films that amplified the breakout actor's acclaim. -- MJ
  • 18 Robert Duvall, "The Judge"
    Robert Duvall is in the mix for what would be his seventh Oscar nomination (and first since 1998’s “A Civil Action”). Had “Th
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Robert Duvall is in the mix for what would be his seventh Oscar nomination (and first since 1998’s “A Civil Action”). Had “The Judge” gotten better reviews, the 83-year-old actor could be a sure shot. Older voters may take kindly to Duvall's Hollywood-royalty status, but he’ll have to campaign hard to convince everyone else that “The Judge” has more to offer than domestic box-office receipts that couldn’t even tally $50 million. -- MJ
  • 17 Charlie Cox, "The Theory of Everything"
    While monuments are being built for "Theory of Everything" stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, poor Charlie Cox sits on
    D Dipasupil via Getty Images
    While monuments are being built for "Theory of Everything" stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, poor Charlie Cox sits on the sidelines without very much Oscar buzz. Too bad: Cox's kind-hearted performance gives the film's mid-section some dramatic weight, and his chemistry with Jones is palpable. Maybe as James Marsh's film gains more momentum as a Best Picture contender, awards prognosticators will start paying attention to Cox? -- CR
  • 16 Domhnall Gleeson, "Unbroken"
    The charming Domhnall Gleeson lost a "<a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/domhnall-gleeson-about-time_n_4169775" target="
    Gustavo Caballero via Getty Images
    The charming Domhnall Gleeson lost a "sizable amount of weight" to star as pilot Russell Allen "Phil" Phillips in Angelina Jolie's "Unbroken." It's a commitment that pays off in his performance, one of the strongest in the film. The only problems? The presence of Miyavi (we'll get to him) and the fact that Gleeson disappears during the film's final 75 minutes. -- CR
  • 15 Tim Roth, "Selma"
    Tim Roth plays George Wallace, the segregationist former governor of Alabama, with an understated malice. His character’s thi
    Arthur Mola/Invision/AP
    Tim Roth plays George Wallace, the segregationist former governor of Alabama, with an understated malice. His character’s thick Southern drawl and one-note racism avoid being reduced to a sinister caricature. Roth doesn't have that much screen time, though, it’ll be hard for Paramount Pictures to emphasize Roth above Tom Wilkinson and others in the towering "Selma" ensemble. -- MJ
  • 14 Andy Serkis, "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes"
    In Serkis' favor for a nomination is some <a href="https://www.foxscreenings.com/dawnOfTheApes/fyc.php" target="_blank">hilar
    Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
    In Serkis' favor for a nomination is some hilarious category fraud. Serkis gets top billing in the "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" credits, owing to the fact that he's the lead character. Against him? That Academy members still don't seem to take motion-capture performances all that seriously, even as Serkis has almost single-handedly turned it into a viable acting method. Regardless of actual Oscar chances, let's all agree that Serkis is simply wonderful in "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes." We'll look back on his various snubs over the last decade with some embarrassment when he scores an honorary trophy in 20 years or so. -- CR
  • 13 Chris Pine, "Into the Woods"
    Chris Pine went from Hollywood's next big thing to a third-string Chris. (Chris Pratt and Chris Evans pulled ahead of Pine in
    Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
    Chris Pine went from Hollywood's next big thing to a third-string Chris. (Chris Pratt and Chris Evans pulled ahead of Pine in the Chris hierarchy this year.) But a high-profile, against-type turn in "Into the Woods," where he plays Cinderella's Prince and sings like Sinatra, has put Pine back on the right track. Early buzz has established Pine as the film's standout male performer. Will awards love follow? -- CR
  • 12 Stephan James, "Selma"
    Stephan James is a relative unknown, but not for long. He simply steals his scenes in Ava DuVernay's "Selma" as future congre
    Chad Buchanan via Getty Images
    Stephan James is a relative unknown, but not for long. He simply steals his scenes in Ava DuVernay's "Selma" as future congressman John Lewis, including one key sequence opposite David Oyelowo's Martin Luther King. It's the type of moment that could launch any actor to a nomination, but James' biggest obstacle -- besides his lack of name recognition -- is "Selma" itself, which is stuffed with a surfeit of worthy supporting-actor candidates. No matter: It's likely James could be back in the awards picture in 2016 when he plays Jesse Owens in "Race." -- CR
  • 11 Michael K. Williams, "The Gambler"
    Michael K. Williams has crushed small supporting parts over the last decade, but he has perhaps never been better, post-Omar
    Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
    Michael K. Williams has crushed small supporting parts over the last decade, but he has perhaps never been better, post-Omar on "The Wire," than in "The Gambler." As a talky, philosophical gangster with a soft spot for Mark Wahlberg's constant screw up, Williams is ferocious and fun in Rupert Wyatt's testosterone-fueled drama. Unfortunately for Williams, if Oscar voters recognize anyone from "The Gambler," it'll likely be co-star John Goodman. -- CR
  • 10 Tyler Perry, "Gone Girl"
    The greatest trick David Fincher ever pulled? Getting an awards-worthy performance from Tyler Perry in "Gone Girl." As Tanner
    Mike Pont via Getty Images
    The greatest trick David Fincher ever pulled? Getting an awards-worthy performance from Tyler Perry in "Gone Girl." As Tanner Bolt, defense attorney to accused wife killers everywhere, Perry oozes both smarm and charm in "Gone Girl" and gets off some of the film's best lines. If Fincher's film winds up with sneaky support from Oscar voters, Perry could be one to benefit. -- CR
  • 9 Josh Brolin, "Inherent Vice"
    Josh Brolin's Oscar campaign began when he stole the biggest laugh in the <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/inherent-vi
    Michael Tran via Getty Images
    Josh Brolin's Oscar campaign began when he stole the biggest laugh in the first full "Inherent Vice" trailer. That was back in September, before the head-scratching responses to the enigmatic Thomas Pynchon adaptation emerged from its New York Film Festival premiere. If anyone from the movie's massive supporting cast has a shot at a nomination, however, it's Brolin, who was previously recognized for "Milk." -- MJ
  • 8 Christoph Waltz, "Big Eyes"
    The most apt way to describe Christoph Waltz in "Big Eyes" is to say he’s very Christoph Waltz-esque. That means a showy perf
    Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
    The most apt way to describe Christoph Waltz in "Big Eyes" is to say he’s very Christoph Waltz-esque. That means a showy performance that isn’t far removed from the work he did in "Water for Elephants" and the two Quentin Tarantino movies that won him Oscars ("Inglourious Basterds," "Django Unchained"). There’s a strong chance Waltz will weasel his way into a third Best Supporting Actor race, if Academy voters overlook the teeth marks he left all over the "Big Eyes" scenery. The Weinstein Company still has time to put some grit behind Tim Burton’s biopic about scorned painter Margaret Keane (Amy Adams), whose husband (Waltz) took credit for her work. -- MJ
  • 7 Miyavi, "Unbroken"
    Japanese pop star Miyavi doesn't arrive until more than an hour has passed in Angelina Jolie's "Unbroken." Once he shows up,
    Samir Hussein via Getty Images
    Japanese pop star Miyavi doesn't arrive until more than an hour has passed in Angelina Jolie's "Unbroken." Once he shows up, his Mutsushiro "The Bird" Watanabe displays the kind of unrelenting brutality that helped Ralph Fiennes ("Schindler's List") and Michael Fassbender ("12 Years a Slave") score Oscar nominations in the past for similar roles. Unlike those two actors, Miyavi isn't afforded the chance to show shades of ambiguity amid his sadism until very late in the film, but he still acquits himself well. He's on the fringe of this category and could get in if support for "Unbroken" is strong. -- CR
  • 6 John Goodman, "The Gambler"
    One of these years, John Goodman will receive his first Academy Award nomination and we'll all breathe a sigh of relief. So w
    Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
    One of these years, John Goodman will receive his first Academy Award nomination and we'll all breathe a sigh of relief. So why can't it be this year? Goodman owns his three scenes in "The Gambler" with the aggressive confidence of a man who knows he's working on a high level. He puts on a clinic in Rupert Wyatt's film, and has one monologue that should join Alec Baldwin's famed "Glengarry Glen Ross" speech in the guy-movie pantheon. It's the kind of performance that was made for a Best Supporting Actor nomination. Here's hoping voters agree. -- CR
  • 5 Tom Wilkinson, "Selma"
    Despite a sprawling cast, Ava DuVernay's Martin Luther King biopic contains enough standout performances to imagine multiple
    Dave M. Benett via Getty Images
    Despite a sprawling cast, Ava DuVernay's Martin Luther King biopic contains enough standout performances to imagine multiple acting nods. The best odds lie with Tom Wilkinson, who was previously nominated for "Michael Clayton" and "In the Bedroom." Now, his intense portrayal of Lyndon B. Johnson carries a gravitas that makes it easy to forget you're watching Tom Wilkinson act, even if he doesn't perfectly mimic the 36th president. -- MJ
  • 4 Mark Ruffalo, "Foxcatcher"
    Mark Ruffalo's "Foxcatcher" performance isn't as deranged as Steve Carell's or as transformative as Channing Tatum's. He's li
    BERTRAND LANGLOIS via Getty Images
    Mark Ruffalo's "Foxcatcher" performance isn't as deranged as Steve Carell's or as transformative as Channing Tatum's. He's like a world of normal around which the rest of the movie orbits, and he's just as impressive as his showier co-stars. Playing Olympic wrestling champion Dave Schultz, who raised and coached his brother (Tatum) before multimillionaire John du Pont (Carell) recruited the pair to join his wrestling compound, Ruffalo gives the movie’s most intimate performance. He was previously nominated for "The Kids Are All Right," and "Foxcatcher" should become the next item on a long list of awards glory for the actor. -- MJ
  • 3 Ethan Hawke, "Boyhood"
    We too often forget Ethan Hawke is a superb actor. Then he collaborates with Richard Linklater and all is right again. "Boyho
    TIZIANA FABI via Getty Images
    We too often forget Ethan Hawke is a superb actor. Then he collaborates with Richard Linklater and all is right again. "Boyhood" was an easy reminder: His turn as a struggling father carries as many layers as the titular boy (Ellar Coltrane) we watched age from 6 to 18 onscreen. A previous acting nominee for "Training Day," Hawke has already collected nominations this year from the Gotham Awards and Independent Spirit Awards, signaling a lengthy awards season for the charming actor. -- MJ
  • 2 Edward Norton, "Birdman"
    Here's how good Edward Norton is in "Birdman": When his character gets sidelined during the film's last act, as Michael Keato
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Here's how good Edward Norton is in "Birdman": When his character gets sidelined during the film's last act, as Michael Keaton's Riggan Thomson has his epiphany, "Birdman" takes a dip in enjoyment. And it's not even Keaton's fault. It's just that Norton is such a force in "Birdman" that the film sags without his presence. By all rights, Norton should win this award going away, but his prickly reputation -- which he mocks expertly in "Birdman" -- and the presence of J.K. Simmons make the prospect a little more uncertain. -- CR
  • 1 J.K. Simmons, "Whiplash"
    Despite six seasons as a ruthless Aryan Brotherhood leader on HBO's "Oz," it's Terence Fletcher from "Whiplash" who is now J.
    Grant Pollard/Invision/AP
    Despite six seasons as a ruthless Aryan Brotherhood leader on HBO's "Oz," it's Terence Fletcher from "Whiplash" who is now J.K. Simmons' signature villain. That's because the performance carries such a full-bodied commitment to rage and hysterics, intermixed with a narrative about a vicious music instructor who requires something beyond perfection in his students, particularly one vulnerable newcomer (Miles Teller). "Whiplash" has maintained its Sundance Film Festival buzz all throughout the year, and the first two major accolades -- the Independent Spirits and the New York Film Critics Circle -- have set the expected precedent of a bright awards season for Simmons. -- MJ
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