The Best Supporting Actor race this year features Christian Bale (The Fighter), John Hawkes (Winter's Bone), Jeremy Renner (The Town), Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right), and Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech).
Hawkes is the surprise nominee this year and he was really really good in Winter's Bone. But I think that this race will be between the two hotheaded working-class Boston Irish characters – Renner and Bale. I was all set to pick Renner, who was great in The Town, but now I'm leaning toward Bale. Both really internalized their roles with a strong intensity. Both were convincing as dangerous loose cannons in the protagonist's life. But Bale did it with a convincing accent, which puts him over the top. Just don't expect him to get a lot of votes from the Academy's Cinematography wing.