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Plummer? Pitt? Oscar's supporting actor race wide open

November 20, 2011 |  7:00 am

Andy Serkis played an ape through motion caption
A category full of questions: Will voters reward the relevance of “Margin Call”? How about a nomination here for Brad Pitt’s best acting work of the year? Has resistance to motion-capture performances started to crumble? Will anyone remember the name of the guy they loved so much in “Midnight In Paris”?

Here’s how Gold Standard sees the supporting acting race currently shaking out:

1. Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”

2. Kenneth Branagh, “My Week With Marilyn”

3. Albert Brooks, “Drive”

4. Armie Hammer, “J. Edgar”

5. Jonah Hill, “Moneyball”

6. Max von Sydow, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

7. Nick Nolte, “Warrior”

8. John Hawkes, “Martha Marcy May Marlene”

9. Andy Serkis, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

10. Ben Kingsley, “Hugo”

Bubbling under: Jeremy Irons, Stanley Tucci and Kevin Spacey, “Margin Call”; Brad Pitt, “The Tree of Life”; Patton Oswalt, “Young Adult”; Philip Seymour Hoffman and George Clooney, “The Ides of March”; Corey Stoll, “Midnight in Paris”; Viggo Mortensen, “A Dangerous Method”; Ezra Miller, “We Need to Talk About Kevin”; John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz, “Carnage”; Jim Broadbent, “The Iron Lady”

For your consideration: Corey Stoll, “Midnight In Paris.” Bad Hemingway = Great Hemingway for Stoll, who hilariously plays the author as a parody of one of his manly-man characters.

Analysis: Hasn’t Plummer already delivered his acceptance speech? We seem to remember it was deliciously droll and, god, dropping in the chorus from “Edelweiss” made The Standard Bearer’s mom tear up. No? Didn’t happen? Well … not yet.

Serkis can’t be making the rounds to stump for his bravura work in “Apes” since he’s off in New Zealand reprising his work as Gollum in Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit.” But he did take part in a Skype-aided Q&A for the Screen Actors Guild last weekend following an enthusiastic “Apes” screening at the Zanuck Theatre on the 20th Century Fox lot.

Given the volume of ovations and the number of times audience members used the word “genius” when prefacing their questions to Serkis, the 47-year-old actor would seem to be in the thick of the race. The big hurdle now comes in reminding voters just how much they enjoyed watching Serkis’ chimpanzee Caesar go all Spartacus on the humans in “Apes,” since voters typically ignore acting from the sci-fi movies.


The Gold Standard: Predicting the best picture race

-- Glenn Whipp

Photo: Andy Serkis stars as an ape through motion capture technology. Credit: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times

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