A failed boxer. A failed actor. A bad bank robber. A bad uncle. A pretty cool sperm donor.
This is your Academy Awards field for Best Supporting Actor—or, as we like to think of it: Christian Bale and Geoffrey Rush versus three other guys.
Our look back at the race so far, along with our sure-fire prediction that we're pretty sure won't misfire:
The Andrew Garfield factor: When the soul of The Social Network machine didn't get a nomination, we learned two things (even if it took us a couple of weeks to realize them): (1) The Social Network was doomed; and, (2) this race was going to be about two men, and those two men were going to be the failed boxer from The Fighter and the failed actor from The King's Speech.
Their nominations are their wins: So, congratulations, Jeremy Renner, the bad bank robber of The Town, John Hawkes, the bad uncle of Winter's Bone, and Mark Ruffalo, the pretty cool sperm donor of The Kids Are All Right, and we sincerely mean that. It is an honor to be nominated.
We also sincerely mean that these guys are not going to win.
Most of the betting sites, to cite some irrelevant, but compelling evidence, have assigned the members of this trio the exact same longshot odds.
Wait, isn't this supposed to be a two-man race? Up until last weekend's BAFTAs, when Rush prevailed, Bale had won just about everything, including, we wouldn't be surprised, a couple of Little League participation trophies.
The smart money is on: Bale.
It's not just that he's the favorite of oddsmakers, it's not just that he won at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and it's not just that he's, well, pretty great in The Fighter. It's that as the presumed frontrunner he has avoided any and all P.R. gaffes, and been perfectly charming at events.
Our money is on: Rush.
This isn't part of a greater hunch that The King's Speech will rule (as Roger Ebert predicts it will). This is just a great, big hunch we got after seeing The King's Speech.
Like Bale, Rush is pretty great in his movie. Like Bale, he's the heart of his movie. Unlike Bale's role, Rush's calls for a quiet—and there was just something about that quiet that screamed "Oscar!"
So, maybe this is part of a greater hunch that The King's Speech will rule.