Oscars 2012: Who Should Win Best Supporting Actor?

Clockwise, from top left: Kenneth Branagh, Christopher Plummer, Max Von Sydow, Nick Nolte and (center) Jonah Hill

Splash News Online; AP; Beimages; Landov; Picturegroup

updated 02/22/2012 AT 11:00 AM ET

originally published 02/24/2012 AT 12:40 PM ET

Hard to believe, but with so many notable roles under their belts over the past several years, Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominees Kenneth Branagh, Nick Nolte, Christopher Plummer and Max Von Sydow have never grabbed the gold.

That is likely to change Sunday night – for one of them. Or, in an upset, possibly for the much-younger Jonah Hill.

And while the smart money is on either Oscar-less octogenarian Christopher Plummer, for his Screen Actors Guild-winning turn as a father who comes out sexually late in life in The Beginners, or Max Von Sydow, as a contemporary man who still suffers the effects of WWII in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, no nominee can be counted out in this race.

Nolte has rarely been so critically praised as he has been for Warrior, in which he plays a recovering alcoholic father of an ex-Marine, while Branagh has successfully channeled the most acclaimed actor of the 20th century, Laurence Olivier, as he endured work with the self-doubting Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) in My Week with Marilyn.

As for Hill, he holds his own as the nerdy but knowing numbers guy in the real-life sports drama Moneyball, opposite Brad Pitt.

May the best man win – only, who is that?

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The 84th Academy Awards will air live from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.


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