2015 Oscar Nominations: Best Actor & Best Supporting Actor

academy awardIn just a few short weeks, the winners of this year’s Academy Awards will be announced in a live telecast. Of the ten actor nominees this year, half have previously received Academy Award nominations, but only one, Robert Duvall has won an Oscar. Also of note, half of the actors are nominated for their portrayal of real people, proving, yet again, that the Academy loves a biopic.

Some years the acting awards seem like a lock, with one person sweeping their category. This year J.K. Simmons seems like a sure bet for the supporting actor win, but there voting seems divided in the best actor category. It will be interesting to see who will take home the award at the end of the month. I have yet to see all of the nominated films, but I already have my favorites. Who would you like to see take home the Oscar this year?

Most of the nominated films are still in theaters so not yet available in HCPL’s catalog, but make sure to check out previous works by the actors!

Best Actor:

Steve Carell (Foxcatcher): In the true crime drama Foxcatcher, Steve Carell plays John E. du Pont, a wrestling enthusiast and multimillionaire who sponsored and trained the Schultz brothers on his wrestling team. A student of The Second City in Chicago, a training ground for many of today’s comedy greats, Carell is known primarily for his comedic work as Michael Scott in The Office, as well as in movies like Date Night and Get Smart. His dramatic turn in Foxcatcher has been hailed as a turning point in his career and his compelling performance earned him his first Oscar nomination.

Bradley Cooper (American Sniper): Cooper first came to recognition with supporting roles in various television series (Alias) before starring in a string of successful comedies (The Hangover franchise). In the past few years, Cooper has become a familiar name at awards shows, with three Oscar nominations in three years. (He is only the tenth person in Oscar history with this achievement.) His first two nominations, for actor in Silver Linings Playbook and supporting actor in American Hustle, were both for David O. Russell directed comedy-drama roles. In his latest Oscar-nominated role, Cooper plays against type in the Clint Eastwood directed biopic about U.S. Navy SEAL Sniper Chris Kyle.

Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game): Although this is his first Academy Award nomination, Cumberbatch is not a new face in the acting world. His work on stage, television (particularly in the BBC hit Sherlock, for which he won an Emmy in 2014), and film (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Star Trek: Into Darkness, 12 Years a Slave) have inspired a legion of loyal fans and earned him much critical acclaim. In The Imitation Game, Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing, the cryptographer who built a machine at Bletchley Park that would break the German Enigma code and help the Allied forces win World War II.

Michael Keaton (Birdman): In the black comedy Birdman, Keaton plays Riggan Thomson, an actor once famous for playing a superhero and now struggling to relaunch his acting career on the stage. Keaton’s career is long and varied, although he is most famous for his roles in movies like Beetlejuice, Tim Burton’s Batman and Much Ado About Nothing in the 1980s and 1990s. With wins at the Golden Globes and the Critics’ Choice Awards, Keaton is one of the frontrunners to win the Oscar. The BAFTAs, which air this Sunday, might give more of an indication as to who will take home the Academy Award.

Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything): A familiar face on the British stage and a previous Tony Award winner, Redmayne really became known to American audiences with his recent roles in movies like My Week with Marilyn and Les Misérables. Currently, Redmayne is nominated for his role as theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Based on a memoir written by his ex-wife Jane Wilde Hawking, the film deals with the impact of Hawking’s motor neuron disease on their marriage and his scientific discoveries. With wins already at the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Redmayne could take home the BAFTA this Sunday and the Oscar later this month.

Best Supporting Actor:

Robert Duvall (The Judge): Since his first stage roles in the 1950s, Duvall has lead a long and accomplished acting career, enjoying both critical and audience success for roles in movies like To Kill a Mockingbird, The Godfather, Lonesome Dove and M*A*S*H. In The Judge, Duvall plays a man who, despite his troubled relationship with his lawyer son (played by Robert Downey Jr), must rely on him in the courtroom after being arrested for a suspected hit and run. His Oscar nomination makes him the oldest man, at 84 years old, to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor. This is his seventh Academy Award nomination, with one previous actor win for the 1983 movie Tender Mercies.

Ethan Hawke (Boyhood): A veteran of the stage and the screen, Hawke has appeared in critically acclaimed movies like Dead Poets Society, Training Day and Before Sunrise. He is also a published author and his second novel, Ash Wednesday, appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List. In Boyhood, an ambitious coming-of-age project filmed over twelve years, Hawke plays the distant father to Mason, the protagonist of the film. This is Hawke’s fourth Academy Award nomination, with previous nominations for supporting actor in Training Day, and adapted screenplay for the films Before Sunset and Before Midnight.

Edward Norton (Birdman): Since his first film role in Primal Fear in 1996, for which he was nominated for a supporting actor at the Academy Awards, Norton has appeared in a number of well-respected movies like Fight Club, Moonrise Kingdom, The Illusionist, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. In Birdman, Norton plays Mike, a talented but volatile method actor cast in the stage play opposite Michael Keaton’s Riggan Thomson. This is his third Academy Award nomination, with previous nominations for supporting actor in Primal Fear and actor in American History X.

Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher): With roles in summer blockbusters like The Avengers, chick flicks like 13 Going on 30, cult classics like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and critically-acclaimed movies like Begin Again, Ruffalo’s movie career has something for everyone to appreciate. This past year, he received particular critical attention for his work in the HBO movie The Normal Heart, as well as his work as Dave Schultz, one of the Olympic medal-winning wrestlers in Foxcatcher. For The Normal Heart, Ruffalo was nominated for a supporting actor Emmy, won an Emmy for co-producing the movie, and won a Screen Actors Guild Award for supporting actor. His Oscar nomination for Foxcatcher is his second, with one previous supporting actor nomination for The Kids Are All Right.

J.K. Simmons (Whiplash): Nominated for his performance as Miles Teller’s abusive and tyrannical music instructor in the movie Whiplash, this is J.K. Simmons’ first Academy Award nomination. Simmons has a long history in Hollywood, with many familiar roles in movies (Spider-Man, Up in the Air) and television shows (Law & Order, The Closer and Oz). He also does extensive voiceover work (The Legend of Korra) and is easily recognizable from the commercials for Farmers Insurance Group. With wins already at the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, it seems like that Simmons will take home the Oscar this year.

Flickr CC: Academy Awards 2014 Photo by: Rachel