j.k. simmons in whiplash

We’ll be doubling down today on Oscar predictions, and happily the two supporting categories are more-or-less locks.

Where the women are concerned, Laura Dern, Meryl Streep, and Kiera Knightley can rest easy once they get to the end of the red carpet and have responded to the three hundredth dumb question from “reporters” who haven’t seen their movies. They stand about as much chance of taking the prize as The Toronto Maple Leafs do of winning The Stanley Cup.

If there’s a spoiler in the category, it’s Emma Stone – whose name has been bantered about by a few Oscar watchers and could capitalize on a BIRDMAN groundswell. It would make for a neat surprise on a night that will contain precious few of them…but don’t count on it.

No, my friends, Patricia Arquette has this category locked, and not just – as one voter actually admitted – “for being brave and allowing the camera to capture her aging over twelve years”. She has this locked because of the warmth and truth in her performance, and how tangible it seemed. She was one of us…a neighbour, a co-worker, a daughter, a mother…and that sort of character isn’t usually seen on-screen. This is a deserving feather in the cap of a talented actor who has been putting in her dues for a long time.

Ryan’s Pick… Arquette by a mile.

There are absolutely no spoilers coming in the supporting actor category. Four of the men in the running have been nominated before: Robert Duvall, Ethan Hawke, Edward Norton, and Mark Ruffalo. They all have one other thing in common – they will all still be seated after the envelope is opened for this category.

For his intense performance in WHIPLASH, career character actor J.K. Simmons will be receiving this Oscar. It’s the closest thing to a sure thing during the entire ceremony. It’s such a sure thing that I wager Simmons will be handed a trophy that is already engraved. It’s all absolutely earned of course, as Simmons’ performance is handily the most memorable thing in a film full of memorable thing. Like Arquette, he’s a talented actor who has been putting in his dues for a long time, and Sunday will be the culmination of an incredible run for Simmons’ work in the film – a run that began over one year ago at Sundance 2014.

Ryan’s Pick… Simmons by ten miles.

Whaddaya think folks? Leave comments with your own thoughts on possibilities and predictions of the Best Supporting Acting races.