For the past few weeks, Oscar trackers have been awaiting a decision from Sony Pictures Classics and Peter Sarsgaard — one of the stars of the studio’s critically-acclaimed awards contender “An Education” — about whether they would mount a best lead actor or best supporting actor campaign for his performance.
Many have argued for the former, citing the fact that he is the male with the largest part in the film and the love interest of the female star (Carey Mulligan) who will certainly be in the best lead actress race — both reasonable points. I, however, laid out an extensive argument for the latter because I felt/feel that (a) Sarsgaard wouldn’t stand a chance in the lead field, which is crowded with A-listers from bigger movies, unlike the supporting field, which remains wide open; (b) because it’s clearly Mulligan’s movie, and therefore everyone else is supporting her; and (c) that Oscar history has given us ample reason to believe that pushing him in supporting would not necessarily push out his co-star who gives an equally strong but much smaller performance (Alfred Molina).
Today, a rock-solid source who has been involved in the deliberations confirmed to me that a final decision has been made: Sarsgaard will be in the best supporting actor race along with Molina. (Both will be seeking the first nomination of their illustrious careers.) There will be no formal announcement of this until campaign materials — screeners, ads, etc. — are distributed later in the season.
Photo: Peter Sarsgaard in “An Education.” Credit: Sony Pictures Classics.