Oscar Nominations Predictions: Best Supporting Actor Category Could Feature Shocking Upsets [VIDEO]

The 2017 Oscar race for Best Supporting Actor has featured a few surprises so far, with some questioning whether the frontrunner is truly the frontrunner.

Moonlight's Mahershala Ali was the presumed frontrunner through much of this award season, considering he's picked up dozens of critics prizes, including the Critics' Choice Award. But then Nocturnal Animals' Aaron Taylor-Johnson won the Golden Globe and cast some doubt on Ali's frontrunner status.

Let's take a look at the Oscar race for Best Supporting Actor as it stands now, with predictions on which five actors will be nominated and the five actors who could upset the race:


1. Mahershala Ali - Moonlight

Despite Ali not winning the Golden Globe, we still think he has a great shot of winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Ali's tender performance as a father figure to young Chiron in the first third of Moonlight features some of the best acting of his career. He has also been around as a character actor for several years now, and this feels like a great culmination to his years of good work in Hollywood.

2. Jeff Bridges - Hell or High Water

Jeff Bridges looks safe to score his seventh Oscar nomination for his scene-stealing turn as Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton in Hell or High Water. As a previous winner for his performance in 2010's Crazy Heart, Oscar voters probably aren't invested in giving him another one, but he could very well upset the race if enough voters love him.

3. Dev Patel - Lion

Dev Patel is well on his way to scoring his first Oscar nomination for playing Saroo Brierley, adopted at an early age and later looking for his birth family. Some may be surprised to learn that Patel was not Oscar nominated for his role in Slumdog Millionaire, which won the Oscar for Best Picture, though he did pick up BAFTA and SAG nominations for the role. Patel has gotten into all the request awards precursors, like Ali and Bridges, and should be getting in barring a huge upset.

4. Hugh Grant - Florence Foster Jenkins

Some may find it even more jarring to learn that Hugh Grant has never been nominated for an Oscar, either. But Grant is looking good to score a spot in Best Supporting Actor for playing St. Clair Bayfield in Florence Foster Jenkins. Grant has gotten into all of the precursors as well, though not always in the traditional Supporting Actor category. Florence Foster Jenkins may be lower on the screener pile than the above movies, so it's possible he misses, but not likely at this point.

5. Aaron Taylor-Johnson - Nocturnal Animals

Taylor-Johnson's Golden Globe nomination was laughed off as an HFPA anomaly when it was first announced, but it was no laughing matter when he won the award earlier this month. Voters love villainous roles like Taylor-Johnson's in this category, and considering the four other likely nominees don't have such roles, he should fill this slot. However, if voters are turned off by the sleazy nature of Nocturnal Animals and his character and particular, he could very easily miss.


6. Lucas Hedges - Manchester by the Sea

Lucas Hedges seems to be this year's younger star who has impressed many industry voters as a relative newcomer. Playing Patrick in Manchester by the Sea, Hedges holds his own even alongside actors like Casey Affleck. Hedges was nominated at the Critics' Choice and the SAG Awards but he missed out on Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations, so he's not a guarantee like some may have believed at one point. Voters will definitely be watching Manchester by the Sea so he could easily take Taylor-Johnson's place in the final nominations, but we think his lack of name recognition may make him fall just short.

7. Michael Shannon - Nocturnal Animals

Michael Shannon has frequently been in awards discussions over the past few years for his acclaimed performances in indie movies like Take Shelter and 99 Homes. He has only been nominated for an Oscar once, for 2008's Revolutionary Road, but he could do it again with his role in Nocturnal Animals. Unfortunately, he's only been nominated for Critics' Choice and there's not enough evidence to suggest that he can propel to the top five, though it's still possible.

8. Ben Foster - Hell or High Water

Ben Foster also received a Critics' Choice nomination, and also failed to see much traction beyond that. Voters will be watching Hell or High Water so Foster is bound to be somewhere in the top 10 of votes, but unless the Academy really responds favorably to the crime drama, he'll have to sit out this year.

9. Simon Helberg - Florence Foster Jenkins

Simon Helberg received a Golden Globe nomination for Florence Foster Jenkins despite not being predicted to do so. His performance as Cosmé McMoon in the frothy biopic hasn't been acknowledged much outside of the Golden Globes so while he's still technically in contention, he too will likely have to sit this year out.

10. Stephen McKinley Henderson - Fences

Here's a pick we think might surprise everyone on Oscar nomination morning. Stephen McKinley Henderson is a well-known theater actor (much like last year's winner Mark Rylance), who gives a heartfelt performance as Jim Bono in Fences. Henderson hasn't picked up any major nominations for his performance, but voters will surely be watching Fences for Denzel Washington and Viola Davis and if they are truly impressed by the film, Henderson could swoop in with a surprise nomination alongside his co-stars. It's a huge long shot, but stranger things have happened at the Oscars.

The Oscar nominations will be revealed live Tuesday at 8:18 a.m. ET.

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