Oscars 2013: Richard Corliss’ Picks – Best Supporting Actor

TIME critic Richard Corliss reveals his pick for Best Supporting Actor. Share your pick!

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Columbia Pictures

Nominees

Alan Arkin, Argo
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

All five competitors have won previous Oscars, for Actor or Supporting Actor or both (De Niro in Raging Bull and The Godfather Part II). Arkin, 78, in a minor comedy role outshone by his unnominated partner John Goodman, is the only Argo performer on the Academy short list, and won’t benefit even if the movie takes Best Picture. Hoffman, 45, who does not play Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard in The Master, will also not win this time. Some forecasters think that De Niro, who at 69 is more than two decades removed from his last Oscar nomination (for Cape Fear), could get a sympathy vote as a senior star back in the limelight. Will he profit or lose from the quartet of Acting nominations bestowed on Silver Linings Playbook? Chances look poor, since the movie was passed over for Best Actor by the Screen Actors Guild in favor of Argo.

(Watch: Oscars 2013: Great Performances)

Jones, 66, took more critics’ prizes for his role as President Lincoln’s Congressional spearhead Thaddeus Stevens than Waltz, 56, won as Quentin Tarantino’s loquacious bounty hunter. The taciturn Texan also snagged this year’s Screen Actors Guild award, for which Waltz was not nominated. (Javier Bardem filled the fifth SAG slot, for Skyfall.) But the smiling Austrian earned plenty of TV time giving acceptance speeches at BAFTA and the Golden Globes, and as last weekend’s guest host of Saturday Night Live. In what is arguably a lead role, he now seems the favorite to walk — we’d never say Waltz — up to receive the statuette.

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