WHY ROBERT DOWNEY JR. WILL WIN BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR FOR TROPIC THUNDER: Because he was a dude disguised as a dude playing another dude, and dude, he was brilliant at it. Because he was the funniest thing in a pretty funny movie (Tom Cruise’s shtick was overrated bombast). Because he hasn’t even gotten a nomination since Chaplin. Because he’s the only person other than Sean Penn who can realistically claim that he’s the best actor of his generation. Because he never actually claims that. Because he does whatever an iron can.
WHY ROBERT DOWNEY JR. WILL NOT WIN BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR FOR TROPIC THUNDER: Because it’s still a role in a comedy and Oscar don’t like the comedies, no sir. Because people are still leery of him no matter how clean he’s supposed to be now. Because genuine talent intimidates people, and especially intimidates Oscar voters. Because he probably doesn’t give a shit, deep down, if he wins or not. Because his name is not Heath Ledger.
WHY PHILLIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN WILL WIN BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR FOR DOUBT: Because he had to convince an audience that his character was a closeted gay man without ever actually admitting it or even hinting at it and he pulled it off with flying colours. Because he went toe-to-toe with Meryl Streep and just wrecked house. Because he has three names and that always sounds classy. Because although he’s incredibly talented, he has the good sense to appear schlubby so not to intimidate people so much.
WHY PHILLIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN WILL NOT WIN BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR FOR DOUBT: Because he won a Best Actor trophy recently enough (in 2006 for Capote) that it’s a bit too soon to give it to him again. Because Doubt is an Actor’s Movie and sometimes the Academy gets suspicious of giving acting awards to that sort of thing because it seems like a bit of a gimme. Because his name is not Heath Ledger.
WHY MICHAEL SHANNON WILL WIN BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR FOR REVOLUTIONARY ROAD: Because he plays a kinda crazy guy and kinda crazy roles always clean up at the Oscars. Because he dominates the movie for his brief time in it. Because he’s a relative unknown and giving him a statue would be a hell of a thing.
WHY MICHAEL SHANNON WILL NOT WIN BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR FOR REVOLUTIONARY ROAD: Because nobody knows who the hell he is. Because he only shows up onscreen for two scenes, maybe eight minutes’ worth of screen-time tops, and not everybody can be Judi Dench and score a statue for that small a role. Because Revolutionary Road wasn’t really that popular. Because his name is not Heath Ledger.
WHY JOSH BROLIN WILL WIN BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR FOR MILK: Because he also plays a kinda crazy guy, but his kinda crazy guy is less showy and more workmanlike than Shannons’ obviously kinda crazy guy. Because he’s been on a roll the last few years with his work in No Country For Old Men, American Gangster, In The Valley of Elah and W. and now there’s this too. Because he got unfairly overlooked in the nominations department for No Country while everybody jerked off to Javier Bardem.
WHY JOSH BROLIN WILL NOT WIN BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR FOR MILK: Because “possibly closeted villain” is kind of a cliche, even if it was probably true in real life. Because Milk is Sean Penn’s baby first and foremost. Because James Franco and Emile Hirsch were both strongly competing for a supporting actor nod as well. Because his name is not Heath Ledger.
WHY HEATH LEDGER WILL WIN BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR FOR THE DARK KNIGHT: Because duh.