We've already given you our predictions for the Supporting Actress nominations—now, which four actors will have the honor of ultimately losing the Best Supporting Actor Oscar to Heath Ledger? Let's find out!
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Josh Brolin, Milk
Pundits have spent the last few months wondering whether there's someone, anyone, who poses a threat to Heath Ledger in this category, and slowly, Josh Brolin has emerged as the best (yet still wildly unlikely) candidate. The Academy loves to reward a strong comeback and past snubs; unfortunately for Brolin, a vote for Ledger satisfies the same cravings, with the added element of a career benediction. Still, at least Brolin can one-up Ledger when it comes to campaigning!
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Robert Downey, Jr., Tropic Thunder
Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire
Robert Downey Jr. also offers one of the year's biggest comeback stories, and he's well-liked, but there's no way the Academy will give a trophy to someone playing black (instead of an actual black person—imagine the headlines!), so he'll have to accept that it's an honor to be nominated and cry himself to sleep on his bed of Marvel money. Hoffman is a gimme—if not one that anyone feels passionately about—and Patel will squeak in as the face of a movie stocked with unknowns.
Michael Sheen, Frost/Nixon
James Franco, Milk
Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road
Tom Cruise, Tropic Thunder
If Patel falls, there are a host of hungry actors ready to claim the fifth spot. Michaels Sheen and Shannon were touted as early contenders, but they're low-profile actors (and their films aren't exactly overperforming). James Franco had a great year as well, but Brolin was the only supporting Milk performer with a real arc. As for Tom Cruise, HAHAHAHA. No. Enjoy your Golden Globe nomination, Tom!