Best Supporting Actor shoo-ins are Albert Brooks (Drive) and Christopher Plummer (Beginners). The other three slots will possibly go to Patton Oswalt (Young Adult), Nick Nolte (Warrior), and Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn). Runners-up include John Hawkes (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Jonah Hill (Moneyball), Jeremy Irons (Margin Call), Christoph Waltz (Carnage), and Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close). Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) is a shoo-in — in Nick Nolte’s slot, if actors opt to ignore the "performance capture" technology inextricably tied to Serkis’ work.
The list of potential Best Supporting Actress nominees is nearly as long as the cast of The Help. Narrowing it down to five: Jessica Chastain (The Help or The Tree of Life), Octavia Spencer (The Help), Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids), Shailene Woodley (The Descendants), and Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs). That leaves out the just-as-likely contenders Bérénice Bejo (The Artist) and Carey Mulligan (Shame), and the not-to-be-discarded Sissy Spacek and Bryce Dallas Howard (The Help), Kate Winslet and Jodie Foster (Carnage), Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids), Marion Cotillard (Midnight in Paris), and Judi Dench (J. Edgar). We’d say that Vanessa Redgrave (Coriolanus) has a better chance at the Oscars than at the SAG Awards. But we could be wrong.
The Help photo: Dale Robinette / DreamWorks / Disney Enterprises