2024 Oscars: Best Supporting Actor Predictions

The 96th Oscars telecast will be broadcast on Sunday, March 10 and air live on ABC at 7:00 p.m. ET/ 4:00 p.m. PT. We update predictions through awards season, so keep checking IndieWire for all our 2024 Oscar picks.

The State of the Race

While it had long felt certain that four out of the five nominees were destined to be recognized in this category, 2024 almost instantly revealed who the actual frontrunner is when “Oppenheimer” star Robert Downey Jr. won Best Supporting Actor at the Golden Globes, and then the Critics Choice Awards. Prior to that, the not-nominated Charles Melton was nearly sweeping the regional critics’ honors for his breakout role in “May December.”

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The other pre-nomination development was a roulette of Best Supporting Actor combinations for “Poor Things” stars Willem Dafoe and Mark Ruffalo. The former was the one recognized by SAG, and neither received a BAFTA nomination, so for four-time Oscar nominee Ruffalo to make it in is its own feat.

As resistant as he seemed about performing the nominated song live at the 96th Oscars, the attention “I’m Just Ken” has gotten does make it seem like “Barbie” star Ryan Gosling has the best chance at upsetting Downey. Sterling K. Brown also had a lot of momentum coming off of SAG nominations going better than expected for “American Fiction,” but Downey still won, and the actors’ branch is the largest one in the Academy, so it does seem like case closed as far as who will win the Oscar.

As for Robert De Niro, “Killers of the Flower Moon” is widely thought of as his best performance in years, but it is especially unlikely that voters will hand him a third Oscar win (after “The Godfather Part II” and “Raging Bull”) when there are three fellow nominees who have been at the Oscars multiple times and have come up empty.

Nominees are listed below in order of likelihood they will win.

Robert Downey Jr. (“Oppenheimer”)
Ryan Gosling (“Barbie”)
Mark Ruffalo (“Poor Things”)
Sterling K. Brown (“American Fiction”)
Robert De Niro (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)

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