Our Nominees: Best Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role In Any Motion Picture

by Ana Maria Bahiana December 26, 2016
Supporting Actors 2017

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Mahershala Ali, Moonlight. When Juan, a feared drug dealer ruling over a mean corner in a tough Miami neighborhood, comes across a scared, trembling kid in the opening scenes from director Barry JenkinsMoonlight, the audience does not expect the layers of care and tenderness that frame the encounter. The surprise is a credit to Mahershala Ali’s nuanced performance of a character based on the life experiences of playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, whose stage play inspired the movie. “It just had a strong sense of social relevance—it felt important—and coupled with all that, the character was one that just really spoke to me”, Ali told Deadline. “Up to that point, I hadn’t read something that was that well written, and a character that was just so clear and alive, and multi-dimensional on the page”. This is Mahershala Ali’s first nomination. (Mahershala Ali también en español.)

Jeff Bridges, Hell Or High Water. Hot on the trail of a series of peculiar bank robberies in dusty, half-dead towns in West Texas, Jeff Bridges’ sheriff Marcus Hamilton cuts a powerful profile – he’s at the same time a lawman from the halcyon days of the frontier and a dim shadow of those legendary times, fading with a land that seems abandoned by all. “The basic thing about a great script, this was one that really rung true.”, Bridges told us at the Star Hill Ranch in Austin, Texas.  “I felt like the screenwriter, Taylor Sheridan, really knew this world that he was talking about.  And that proved to be the case.  His cousin, Parnell McNamara, is a Sherriff here in Texas, so that is where that experience came from. I kind of liked the ambiguity of the story: who are the good guys and who are the bad guys, and who am I rooting for?” This is Jeff Bridges’ fifth nomination. He won in the Best Actor- Musical/Comedy category in 1992 for The Fisher King, and in the Best Actor-Drama category in 2010 for Crazy Heart. (Jeff Bridges también en español.)

Simon Helberg, Florence Foster Jenkins. What kind of preparation is needed to play a vocal coach to a tone-deaf would-be opera singer? Simon Helberg, who must face this very challenge as Meryl Streep’s long-suffering teacher in Florence Foster Jenkins, had a very specific kind of training, shared with the movie’s illustrious lead actress: “We both came together in New York, and had both been practicing, basically, shitting all over the great pieces of music in the canon of classical and opera”, Helberg shared with us. “She was in New York and I was in LA, and we had been working on this crazy thing, and we came together to see if it made sense in a studio in New York. And we played, and it sounded awful, and we knew that we had a hit.” Indeed. This is Simon Helberg’s first nomination. (Simon Helberg también en español.)

Dev Patel, Lion. As the grown-up Saroo, the Indian boy adopted by an Australian family in director  Garth Davis’ Lion, Dev Patel found himself on a journey very similar to his own. “This is probably the project that I had the biggest personal connection t”, Dev Patel told us.  “Just as a young 26 year old British-Indian guy, this was a character that his journey really mirrored my own. I spent a lot of time growing up trying to shun my cultural heritage to fit in and I didn’t want to get bullied, I didn’t want to stick out, anything I could to just be like everyone else in England.” This is Dev Patel’s first nomination. (Dev Patel, también en español.)

Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nocturnal Animals. Who really is Ray Marcus, Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s character in director Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals? Beyond the fact that he pops up in the pages of a book that Susan/Amy Adams avidly reads during most of the film, the less we say about it the better. Taylor-Johnson, however, is very precise in his description: “It was a character that I didn't instantly relate to, you know?”, he told us. “He's a psychopath, a serial killer so  essentially we needed to create that and build especially as he's a fictional character,so it was able to be quite big and elaborate. That was the fun in it.” This is Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s first nomination. (Aaron Taylor-Johnson también en español.)