A couple of weeks ago it looked like Christopher Plummer had the supporting actor race locked up for his portrayal of a senior citizen who comes out of the closet and then discovers he has cancer in “Beginners.”
Chances are he still does have it locked up — Oscar loves to reward overlooked veterans with this category — but at least he’s now getting some competition.
Kenneth Branagh’s portrayal of Sir Laurence Olivier in My Week with Marilyn is touching, witty, impassioned and wise. The fact that he’s playing a great actor who could not be a great star — precisely what Branagh is — gives the portrayal a whole other layer.
But I suspect Plummer’s greatest competition will come from the comedian Patton Oswalt, who doesn’t seem to be acting as much as just living the role of a middle-aged guy still damaged from an attack in high school in Young Adult.
The way Oswalt moves from the comic to the dramatic is so smooth it’s astonishing. Spencer Tracy’s quote about if you want to be a great actor don’t ever let anybody catch you doing it is totally applicable here. This race is on.