If, as Ed pointed out yesterday, supporting means its own antonym in the world of Oscar, then a wide-open race also means the opposite. Maybe it’s just that full-time awards-circuit journos have the same rooting interest in the illusion of competition that bookies do—bookies who, despite acknowledging a frontrunner, still see this as the closest of the four acting categories. Sure, the myth of a nail-biter is likely to make the eventual four losers feel a lot better, but then again, so can a goody bag filled with a vaporizer, trips to Israel and Japan, the world’s most expensive toilet paper, and a blood-migrating breast lift.
Much as we’d love to see Mark Ruffalo finalize his transformation into beardom with a freshly plumped vampire rack, he joins Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight co-star Rachel McAdams as probably the least likely to win in their respective categories. It’s not problematic in and of itself that, as a pavement-pounding reporter, he gets the film’s one unabashed moment of Oscar-clip scenery-chewing as he rips his editor’s decision to sit on a story (a moment, having worked in newsrooms, I’d have to say Spotlight could have used plenty more of). But his righteous tantrum doesn’t mesh with a film that tastefully flaunts its cohesive ensemble.