Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain
Credit: Brokeback Mountain: Kimberley French

Oscars 2006: Early word on the Best Supporting Actor race

There are so many movies offering up multiple contenders, this category could be filled with actors from only two films. Three members of Crash‘s lauded ensemble — Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, and Terrence Howard — should all score votes, while Syriana‘s Supporting Actor brigade includes Matt Damon, Jeffrey Wright, and Christopher Plummer. Meanwhile, several pairs of performers from the same films will go head-to-head: A History of Violence‘s Ed Harris and William Hurt, Jarhead‘s Jamie Foxx and Peter Sarsgaard, and Munich‘s Daniel Craig and Geoffrey Rush. After two consecutive Best Actor snubs for American Splendor and Sideways, Paul Giamatti could earn his first statuette for Cinderella Man, as could rising stars Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain, pictured), Barry Pepper (The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada), and Clifton Collins Jr. (Capote) and accomplished actors Donald Sutherland (Pride & Prejudice), Oliver Platt (Casanova), and Frank Langella (Good Night, and Good Luck). Previous nominees who may return include Mrs. Henderson Presents‘ Bob Hoskins, Memoirs of a Geisha‘s Ken Watanabe, Oliver Twist‘s Ben Kingsley, and The Upside of Anger‘s Kevin Costner. And one veteran who’s never made the shortlist could learn that the key is playing against type: Steve Martin for his quiet work in Shopgirl.