The Best Supporting Actor race is undeniably intense this awards season, featuring outstanding performances inspired by captivating real-life narratives. One notable contender is Robert Downey Jr., who, following his Golden Globe win and the announcement of SAG Awards nominees, appears poised for a triumphant finale.
A remarkable character actor, Downey Jr.’s career, previously dominated by a somewhat repetitive role in a sprawling franchise, stages a compelling comeback in critically acclaimed cinema. His unexpected performance in one of the year’s major films adds to the appeal of his redemption arc, with the prospect of an Oscar serving as the validating pinnacle.
While Downey faces strong competition, Charles Melton, known for his role in the CW’s Riverdale, initially stood out as a noteworthy contender. His transformative portrayal as a victim of grooming in Todd Haynes’ May December earned praise from critics and audiences alike, leading to wins at various Critics Associations awards.
Melton’s momentum took a hit when he was notably absent from the BAFTA longlist, a development that cast a shadow on his Oscar prospects. Despite collecting accolades from prestigious critics’ groups, including the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics, Melton faced disappointment with a SAG Awards snub.
As the Oscars nominations draw near, and the ceremony approaches, Melton’s underdog success story from Riverdale seems to be losing ground against Downey’s comeback. While it would be refreshing to see a young talent triumph, Downey’s decades-long trajectory, culminating in a standout performance in Oppenheimer, adds a remarkable layer to the Best Supporting Actor race.
Both actors are worthy contenders, but Melton’s recent setbacks raise concerns about his chances. The hope remains that he secures a spot among the nominees when they are announced on January 23.