2024 Oscars: Best Supporting Actor Predictions

Nominations voting is from January 11-16, 2024, with official Oscar nominations announced January 23, 2024. Final voting is February 22-27, 2024. And finally, the 96th Oscars telecast will be broadcast on Sunday, March 10 and air live on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT. We update predictions through awards season, so keep checking IndieWire for all our 2024 Oscar picks.

See our previous thoughts on what to expect at the 96th Academy Awards here.

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The State of the Race

Similar to last year’s Best Actor Oscar race, the Best Supporting Actor race this year has four names that will most likely go the distance, and a final nomination slot that will be fair game for a bevy of standout performances.

Depending on who one talks to post-Barbenheimer, the Oscar will for sure go to Robert Downey Jr. being contemptible in “Oppenheimer” or Ryan Gosling being “Kenough” in “Barbie. Meanwhile, the Cannes crowd is the only public audience to have gotten a taste of Robert De Niro’s best role in years, even surpassing his Oscar-nominated work in “The Irishman,” as the sort of Don of Osage County in Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon.” Mark Ruffalo’s delightfully dastardly turn in “Poor Things,” the big winner at this year’s Venice Film Festival, rounds out the current Best Supporting Actor frontrunners, making this a good year to go bad.

But there is room for counterprogramming. The various names being projected for that fifth nomination slot are far from the antagonist of their respective films. Willem Dafoe’s character in “Poor Things” may be someone filmgoers morally object to, but his mad scientist invokes much pathos. Sterling K. Brown plays against type in TIFF People’s Choice Award winner “American Fiction,” as a surgeon going through a bit of a midlife crisis, but continues to effectively squeeze tears out of his audience in soulful moments. “The Holdovers” star Dominic Sessa is the discovery of the season, coming from one of the schools director Alexander Payne scouted to make the New England boarding school-set dramedy, and already excels at stirring emotion even at times when his kid character is at his brattiest.

These names are all on top of names like John Magaro (“Past Lives”), a breakout at Sundance, and Charles Melton (“May December”), lauded at Cannes. But the film to really keep an eye on for this particular category is Andrew Haigh’s “All of Us Strangers,” a Telluride premiere, that has become the type of film certain viewers can’t talk about without tearing up. Jamie Bell is at his best as a gruff yet understanding parent, but it’s romantic lead Paul Mescal who has the most momentum coming off of “Aftersun,” and now proving to Academy members how right they were to earmark him as a talent they will be considering often as they decide Oscar nominations.

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

Robert De Niro (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
Robert Downey Jr. (“Oppenheimer”)
Ryan Gosling (“Barbie”)
Paul Mescal (“All of Us Strangers”)
Mark Ruffalo (“Poor Things”)

Jamie Bell (“All of Us Strangers”)
Sterling K. Brown (“American Fiction”)
Willem Dafoe (“Poor Things”)
Matt Damon (“Oppenheimer”)
Colman Domingo (“The Color Purple”)
Tom Hardy (“The Bikeriders”)
John Magaro (“Past Lives”)
Charles Melton (“May December”)
Chris Messina (“Air”)
Dominic Sessa (“The Holdovers”)

Long Shots:
Jon Bernthal (“Origin”)
Raul Castillo (“Cassandro”)
Jacob Elordi (“Priscilla”)
Jacob Elordi (“Saltburn”)
Noah Galvin (“Theater Camp”)
Richard E. Grant (“Saltburn”)
Corey Hawkins (“The Color Purple”)
Glenn Howerton (“BlackBerry”)
Rhys Ifans (“Nyad”)
Jesse Plemons (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
Ramy Youssef (“Poor Things”)

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