A few weeks ago, I felt confident that the Academy members would make a sentimental choice and award the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor to Sylvester Stallone for Creed. Sly has done it all in Hollywood – acting, writing, directing, producing. Despite the passing of his superstar era, he remains an iconic figure and a great survivor. Furthermore, his nomination for Creed is for playing Rocky Balboa, the same character as his last acting nomination forty years ago, and the sheer novelty of that is remarkable. Actors sometimes receive awards that seem to be lifetime achievements, and Stallone has indeed had many achievements. His Golden Globe win earlier this year made him a strong contender, at least ahead of fellow nominees Tom Hardy and Mark Ruffalo and previous winner Christian Bale. But subsequent wins at the Screen Actors’ Guild and BAFTA now put Mark Rylance ahead, and I predict that this predominantly stage-based actor will pick up a further film acting award this weekend. Rylance’s quiet performance is a key part of Bridge of Spies’ sardonic wit, and he delivers a great supporting role to Tom Hanks’ likably earnest lawyer. The other performers are all strong – Bale and Ruffalo are fine members of the ensemble casts of, respectively, The Big Short and Spotlight, and Hardy is a brilliant antagonist in The Revenant. I would be happy to see any of them win – Ruffalo, now on his third nomination, has been a strong, dependable actor for some time; Bale, also on his third nomination, moves smoothly between leading action roles and quirky Oscar bait; this is Hardy’s first nomination, and there are likely more in his future. But Rylance and Stallone have the advantage of age, and a reduced likelihood of further nominations. Therefore, the Best Supporting Actor Oscar seems like a two horse race. Come the night, I think everything Rylance did in Bridge of Spies will turn out to have helped.