2025 Oscars: Best Supporting Actor Predictions

Nominations voting is from January 8-12, 2025, with official Oscar nominations announced January 17, 2025. Final voting is February 11-18, 2025. And finally, the 97th Oscars telecast will be broadcast on Sunday, March 2 and air live on ABC at 7:00 p.m. ET/ 4:00 p.m. PT. We update our picks through awards season, so keep checking IndieWire for all our 2025 Oscar predictions.

The State of the Race

Predicting Best Supporting Actor contenders early on is always one of the most difficult challenges for prognostication, because one cannot predict (mostly sight unseen) whether there are any films that voters will go all-in on, recognizing more than one scene stealer. After all, some films literally have “12 Angry Men” to choose from.

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That said, the minute the Sundance premiere of “A Real Pain” ended, critics were already declaring a nomination spot permanently reserved for Kieran Culkin in his first major role post-”Succession.” Adam Pearson in “A Different Man,” which screened at both Sundance and Berlin, and Clarence Maclin, who plays a version of himself in Toronto premiere “Sing Sing,” have similarly impressed early and attentive audiences.

In terms of the films that have already had a wide release, both “Challengers” star Mike Faist and “The Bikeriders” star face the dilemma of having to establish their roles as lead or supporting (both cases can be made), but it would make more sense to choose a different category from their respective co-stars Josh O’Connor and Austin Butler, who have built up more momentum along the circuit already. Meanwhile, it is much more clear that “Kinds of Kindness” star Willem Dafoe and “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” star Chris Hemsworth are in supporting roles, but their films are weighed down by the narrative that they are not very commercial.

The heavyweights that are still to come are Denzel Washington in “Gladiator II,” Samuel L. Jackson in “The Piano Lesson,” and several stars from “Blitz” and “Conclave,” including Stephen Graham and Harris Dickinson in the former, and John Lithgow and Stanley Tucci in the latter.

But never count out a star-making performance when it comes to contending for this category. Mark Edelstein and Yuri Borisov already made a splash in Palme d’Or winner “Anora,” and many are looking forward to Luca Guadagnino’s new discovery Drew Starkey, who is going from Netflix teen soap “Outer Banks” to starring opposite Daniel Craig in “Queer.”

Contenders are listed in alphabetical order, below. No actor will be deemed a frontrunner until I have seen the film.

Kieran Culkin (“A Real Pain”)
Mike Faist (“Challengers”)
Tom Hardy (“The Bikeriders”)
Adam Pearson (“A Different Man”)
Clarence Maclin (“Sing Sing”)

Yuri Borisov (“Anora”)
Willem Dafoe (“Kinds of Kindness”)
Harris Dickinson (“Blitz”)
Mark Edelstein (“Anora”)
Stephen Graham (“Blitz”)
Chris Hemsworth (“Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga”)
Samuel L. Jackson (“The Piano Lesson”)
John Earl Jelks (“Exhibiting Forgiveness”)
John Lithgow (“Conclave”)
Scoot McNairy (“Nightbitch”)
Paul Raci (“Sing Sing”)
Drew Starkey (“Queer”)
Jeremy Strong (“The Apprentice”)
Stanley Tucci (“Conclave”)
Denzel Washington (“Gladiator II”)

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