BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Domhnall Gleeson - Anna Karenina
Tommy Lee Jones - Lincoln
Matthew McConaughey - Magic Mike
Ezra Miller - The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Alessandro Nivola - Ginger & Rosa
Ben Whishaw - Cloud Atlas
Domhnall Gleeson is such an exciting young actor, and Anna Karenina gave him the biggest opportunity yet to show his depth and sensitivity, his romanticism forever troubled by the truths of the world. There are whole side stories happening on Ben Whishaw's face in Cloud Atlas, while he plays the piano, while he puzzles out his own sense of longing, while he imagines a world he'll never know. Patrick from The Perks of Being a Wallflower is closer to living in that world that even he knows; his indomitable teenage confidence is all the better for the moments when Miller lets it crumble away.
Runners Up: Matthew McFadyen (Anna Karenina); John Travolta (Savages); Noah Segan (Looper); Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers).
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Megalyn Echikunwoke - Damsels in Distress
Salma Hayek - Savages
Brit Marling - Sound of My Voice
Sarah Silverman - Take This Waltz
Lorraine Toussaint - Middle of Nowhere
This isn't necessarily a rebuke to the Oscars -- look below to see the actresses with whom the Academy and I are in agreement -- but the best performances in this category this year were happening far away from where Academy eyes have been trained to look. I've said enough about Salma Hayek in Savages this year, so I will just make a plea into the wilderness that people give actresses hamming it up in junky genre fare a chance. Sarah Silverman is a brilliant comedian with an uncanny ability to commit to a bit, so it's no surprise that she's able to channel that into a character who's all too aware of the wire she (and everyone around her) is walking on. Lorraine Toussaint has been a familiar face in movies and TV forever, and I think Middle of Nowhere was just smart enough to give her a lot of room to work. What a fascinating woman to play, full of resentment but also more concern for her daughters than she knows what to do with. Megalyn Echikunwoke proves to be a shockingly perfect Whit Stillman vessel, slavish to a social order that might not actually extend past her dorm room, but she will clock you SO QUICK if you violate it. Finally, Brit Marling scared the shit out of me in Sound of My Voice, point blank.
Runners Up: Rosemarie DeWitt (Your Sister's Sister); Helen Hunt (The Sessions); Jennifer Ehle (Zero Dark Thirty); Amy Adams (The Master); Judi Dench (Skyfall).