Entertainment & Arts

Oscars 2015: Best supporting actor

A look at the best supporting nominees for the 87th Academy Awards.

WINNER: JK SIMMONS

Image copyright Presser

Age: 60

Nominated for: Whiplash

The character: A teacher and jazz band leader who uses fear and intimidation to push his students to perfection.

Oscar record: This is the actor's first Oscar nomination.

The critics said: Rolling Stone said Simmons is "a barbed and brilliant marvel in the role of his life".


ROBERT DUVALL

Image copyright Promo

Age: 84

Nominated for: The Judge

The character: Robert Duvall plays a town judge accused of murder, whose big city lawyer son, played by Robert Downey Jr, returns to defend.

Oscar record: He won the best actor Oscar in 1984. He has been nominated a further five times: for best supporting actor in The Godfather (in 1973), for Apocalypse Now (1980) and for A Civil Action (1999). He was nominated for best actor in 1981, for The Great Santini, and in 1998, for The Apostle.

This nomination makes Duvall the oldest Oscar nominee in this category. At 84, he is two years older than the previous oldest nominee, Hal Holbrook, who was up for Into the Wild in 2008. The oldest winner in this category is Christopher Plummer, who was 82 when he picked up the Oscar for Beginners in 2012.

The critics said: "Duvall uses his great, unassuming American face to convey pride, confusion, pain and compassion - sometimes all at once. Let the record reflect that here's a brave, scrappy performance from an Oscar-winner who has nothing to prove." Joe Neumaier, The New York Daily News


ETHAN HAWKE

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Age: 44

Nominated for: Boyhood

The character: Hawke plays a divorced father in the coming of age tale filmed over 12 years.

Oscar record: He has been nominated for three Oscars, two for writing, for Before Midnight (2014) and Before Sunset (2005), and once for supporting actor for Training Day in 2002. He has been nominated for a Bafta and Golden Globe for this role.

The critics said: "Hawke and Arquette's performances are among the finest in both of their careers: In many ways, the movie is as much about their characters' changing self-conceptions and complicated relationship as it is about Mason's own blink-and-you'll-miss-it youth." Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post


EDWARD NORTON

Image copyright Alison Rosa

Age: 45

Nominated for: Birdman

The character: A stage co-star to Michael Keaton's former superhero actor.

Oscar record: He has been nominated for two Oscars - best actor in American History X in 1999 and best supporting Actor for Primal Fear in 1997.

The critics said: Norton "is uproarious as his (Keaton's) preening, co-star", Robbie Collin in the Telegraph. While Peter Debruge in Variety said Norton "very nearly steals the show from Keaton".


MARK RUFFALO

Image copyright Scott Garfield

Age: 47

Nominated for: Foxcatcher

The character: Ruffalo plays the real-life role of Dave Schultz, an Olympic wrestling champion.

Oscar record: In 2011 he was nominated for best supporting actor for The Kids Are All Right.

The critics said: Geoffrey Macnab in The Independent said: "Arguably, the best performance of all comes from Mark Ruffalo as Dave Schultz, the decent, loyal family man who tries to look out for his little brother but ends up caught in Du Pont's web as a result. Ruffalo has bulked up to play Schultz and is barely recognisable beneath his beard."

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