It is Hollywood Elsewhere’s contention that West Side Story‘s Mike Faist is the most deserving contender for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. He gave the only “wow!”performance…the only one that really popped or generated any excitement.

Most of the award-season sheep are predicting that The Power of the Dog‘s Kodi Smit-McPhee is the most likely winner of the Best Supporting Actor award. Basically for playing a deceptive little candy-ass…Benedict Cumberbatch‘s obscure object of desire and a passive, sneaker-wearing wimp with a hidden agenda up his sleeve. Are you telling me there was even a slight tremor of excitement about his performance after Dog popped last fall?

The sheep are resolute about Jane Campion winning the Best Director Oscar (we all understand this is totally locked-in), and just to fortify this they’re supporting as many Dog contenders as possible, and so Smit-McPhee gets a free ride on her coattails.

Bradley Cooper‘s “Jon Peters” in Licorice Pizza is not a supporting performance — it’s a cranked-up cameo. While Ben Affleck‘s congenial, low-key uncle in The Tender Bar is intermittently charming, his fake Long Island accent diminishes the performance — it reminds you that he’s acting. CODA‘s Troy Kotsur…if you say so. Because people have no taste, the broadness of Jared Leto‘s performance in House of Gucci makes it a likely nominee. Belfast‘s Ciaran Hinds delivered on auto-pilot — he could have played the kindly grandfather in his sleep.