Last week, we examined the Best Director race. Today, we'll look at the Best Supporting Actor category:
Michael Sheen ("Frost/Nixon"): In his last two movies, this British actor has played second-fiddle to Helen Mirren ("The Queen") and now Frank Lagella, who will almost certainly get a Best Actor nomination for his portrayal of Richard Nixon. In both movies, Sheen has outshone the supposed superstars he has been paired with.
Heath Ledger ("The Dark Knight"): The sentimental favorite. Ledger died before the movie was ever released, but his performance sparked TDK's $1 billion in revenues. Simply one of the greatest villains in movie history.
Josh Brolin ("Milk"): Where did this guy come from? He's been in so many great movies the last few years ("No Country for Old Men," "W.," "In the Valley of Elah," "American Gangster."). Add another to the list.
James Franco ("Milk"): Already received a bunch of accolades for this performance. Perfectly plays Milk's boyfriend, who clearly signed up for a long-term relationship but not necessarily a revolution.
John Malkovich ("The Changeling"): The Academy loves him, and he gives the best performance ever by an atheist actor portraying a crusading, Christian preacher.
Other notables: Robert Downey Jr. ("Tropic Thunder"), Tom Cruise ("Tropic Thunder"), Michael Kelly ("The Changeling"), Phillip Seymour Hoffman ("Doubt") and Ralph Fiennes ("The Reader").
My favorite: Josh Brolin. His performance as Milk's murderer is subtle, nuanced and altogether a show-stealer.
My pick to win: James Franco. He seems to be garnering more attention than Brolin, and I expect "Milk" to have a big Oscar night.