The Fifties for 2010: Best Supporting Actor
Khalid Abdalla for Green Zone, who avoids bare clichés of the outraged local or the shady ally yet keeps you guessing about his motives and engaged in his point of view;
Niels Arestrup for A Prophet, because even if he weren't in jail, you could see that he's trapped and rotting, no matter how much power he wields from that fireplug frame;
Pierce Brosnan for The Ghost Writer, taut and character-specific in revelatory ways, either as a weary ex-PM denied the respect he deserves or a lifelong dupe, but mad either way;
John Hawkes for Winter's Bone, because the tenor he brings to most of the perf does not match the spirit of the character's decisions and behavior, creating rich mysteries; and
Rhys Ifans for Greenberg, who could have oversold Ivan's sad backstory or his ire at Roger's recent abuses, but he stays quietly powerful, intent on keeping cool.
Honorable mentions to Ned Beatty for his plush, avuncular, but always operative antagonism in Toy Story 3; Hans-Jochen Wagner for being such an insufferable, sexist foil in Everyone Else without seeming fully against his friend, or just becoming a nuisance to the audience; Michael Shannon, who strays not very far from the usual Michael Shannon performance in The Runaways but is nonetheless a reliable generator of energy and needed flamboyance; and Ewan McGregor, working far from his Honorable Mention'd performance in The Ghost Writer as the fey lover-inmate in I Love You Phillip Morris, parsing stereotypes with noble discernment, invoking the familiar but avoiding the hackneyed, and winding up a gentle, sympathetic figure.