TORONTO — Elusive Oscar recognition suddenly appears within the grasp of Canadian-born stage and screen legend Christopher Plummer, whose Golden Globe win for best supporting actor in Beginners has some pundits expecting a similar triumph at next month’s Academy Awards.
It’s a forecast based on the Globes’ remarkably strong track record of predicting the acting winners at Hollywood’s most prestigious prize show, despite a less-than-stellar history of identifying Oscar’s best film picks.
Of course, all the conjecture is far from a science.
Initial Academy Award voting closed last Friday, with the nominations set to come down Jan. 24. Final ballots will be mailed to voters Feb. 1 and all sorts of disparate factors have been suspected of swaying its roughly 6,000 members either toward or away from the Globes’ selections before the Academy Awards on Feb. 26.
While voting members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — 89 insiders who choose the Globe winners — are known as a fickle bunch, they often favour old-guard thespians such as the 82-year-old Plummer.
The Academy, which has its own reputation for dispersing awards for a body of work, could take this as a cue that it’s time they, too, finally give the Toronto-born performer his due.
Plummer has garnered only one other Oscar nomination in his nearly 60-year run in the business — two years ago, for his performance in the Leo Tolstoy drama The Last Station.
But the biggest indicator could be the Globes’ recent ability to indicate Oscar’s best supporting actors. The past four Globe winners — Christian Bale, Christoph Waltz, Heath Ledger and Javier Bardem — have gone on to claim an Oscar trophy.
And if Plummer is further recognized with a British Academy Film Award nomination — the so-called British Oscars which come out Tuesday — his prospects would only gain momentum.
Either way, Plummer is widely considered a shoe-in for snagging a place on the Academy’s short list.
His turn in Beginners as a 75-year-old who embraces his homosexuality just before cancer sets in has drawn some of the most acclaimed reviews of his career.
Meanwhile, other contenders represent a broad swath of old and new Hollywood: Globe rivals Kenneth Branagh for My Week With Marilyn, Jonah Hill for Moneyball, Viggo Mortensen for A Dangerous Method and Albert Brooks for Drive could all find themselves on the ultimate ballot.
But with the final Oscar votes not due until Feb. 21, there’s still plenty of time for the race to change course.