The men that grace the Best Supporting Actor category not only showcased their outstanding acting, but also exhibited through their characters a deep understanding of human connection with friends and family. Some of these actors were ones that we hadn’t really heard of before, and some were ones that we saw a completely different side of. Here are the Little Movie Award nominees and winner for Best Supporting Actor.

5. J.K. Simmons (Being the Ricardos)

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. While I didn’t give Being the Ricardos the best rating in my review, I can’t help but think that J.K. Simmons performance was the only good thing to come out of that entire film. As talented as the whole cast is, Simmons was the only one who seemed to show up as he played William Frawley—the infamous man behind the character of Fred Mertz on I Love Lucy. Simmons, through Frawley, makes this film bearable with his quick quips every few moments. He had me laughing out loud during some moments. It’s immense, overwhelming pressure, that the cast and crew go through during that week, so it was nice to break up that monotony. But you’re probably thinking, making a film bearable doesn’t equate to a great performance, and I’d have to agree. It’s Simmons, as Frawley, the friend and advice giver, that makes him so good. While I can forget the rest of Being the Ricardos, Simmons’ deep relationship with his costars is something I won’t.

4. Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog)

Before The Power of the Dog, I remember Kodi Smit-McPhee as the actor most recognized for his bit parts in various X-Men related films, or other odds and ends. But this time his character, Peter Gordon, showcases Smit-McPhee’s unbelievable chilling qualities. There may be a natural eeriness to Smit-McPhee’s personality, but it plays extremely well into Peter’s equally quiet and reclusive demeanor. While The Power of the Dog is layered in mystery—up until those twists at the end, Peter plays a large part in getting that narrative going. It’s not straight forward as to what the end result will be, or what Peter’s true intentions are, and that’s what makes you cling to film all the more. Smit-McPhee is perfect for this role. In a film that I never thought would necessarily take the tone it does, he is creepy as hell.

3. Anders Danielsen Lie (The Worst Person in the World)

If you’ve seen Joachim Trier’s other Oslo works, then you’ve been privileged enough to see Anders Danielsen Lie offer some outstanding performances. Oslo: August 31st remains my personal favorite of those projects, at least until I saw The Worst Person in the World. While Renate Reinsve steals the show as Julie, Danielsen Lie comes in a close second playing her close confidant, Aksel. It’s important to see that Aksel is very rough around the edges, and often comes across a bit problematic. However, there’s something sweet, deep down in him. As Julie goes through her life, he’s there for her when she needs him. And it’s those moments when Danielsen Lie truly shines. There’s a rumor that when Trier first approached Danielsen Lie about this project, Danielsen Lie told Trier that he would give his best acting in this role. Did Danielsen Lie live up to that goal? Yes, very much so!

2. Troy Kotsur (CODA)

There’s been something happening with movies lately. That while disabilities, although with their disadvantages, films have started to paint them in a more positive way. Instead of the usual “you have a disability and your life is over,” CODA is that positive, along with the troubling tone that highlights the life of a deaf family. However, one member, the young daughter, can hear. Troy Kotsur plays the patriarch of the family. He’s a flawless blend of both comedy and drama in exhibiting his character’s struggles, but also just fully living and embracing the joys in life. While the center of the film is about the impact of family, the connection between father and daughter is particularly important. The scene between the two of them near the end, as they struggle with their hearing barrier, will bring tears to your eyes. Kotsur warms your heart from beginning to end.

  1. Jason Isaacs (Mass)

Throughout Jason Isaacs’ career he’s been the usual go to guy playing the evil villain. To be honest, when I didn’t initially know much about Mass, I thought he wasn’t going to play a killer apologizing to the family of someone he killed. Don’t ask me how I got that, but I was way off. He just has this “bad guy” reputation attached to him. Isaacs’ character in Mass is so different than anything I’ve seen him play in a long time. While his character, Jay, has his emotions get the better of him for a moment, (which is understandable considering the circumstances) to the point of anger, that’s about all we see from the usual Isaacs. The rest of the film shows Jay at his most vulnerable—being able to fully get closure after all the events that have happened. Those are the moments that will really make you marvel at Isaacs talents onscreen. He’s really something special—offering us the best performance of his career.


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