Kodi Smit-McPhee (‘The Power of the Dog’) Supporting Actor Frontrunner

Kodi Smit-McPhee has maintained a stronghold this awards season for his work as Peter Gordon in Netflix’s “The Power of the Dog.” Pundits and awards enthusiasts have to wonder: has a frontrunner emerged?

Twenty-nine precursor awards have been announced thus far, with 14 naming Smit-McPhee’s darkly psychological turn the best of the year. The next closest actor to his dominance is Troy Kotsur in “CODA” and Jeffrey Wright in “The French Dispatch,” who have picked up three and two wins, respectively. In addition, Smit-McPhee’s also landed Critics Choice and Golden Globe nominations, two critical stops on the awards circuit.

Smit-McPhee is the 16th performer to win both supporting actor honors from both the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. He’s also the youngest person to ever achieve the feat. The others are:

  • Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project” (2017)
  • Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight” (2016) – Oscar winner
  • J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash” (2013) – Oscar winner
  • Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club” (2012) – Oscar winner
  • Christoph Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds” (2009) – Oscar winner
  • William Hurt, “A History of Violence” (2005)
  • Bill Murray, “Rushmore” (1998)
  • Burt Reynolds, “Boogie Nights” (1997)
  • Martin Landau, “Ed Wood” (1994) – Oscar winner
  • Gene Hackman, “Unforgiven” (1992) – Oscar winner
  • Morgan Freeman, “Street Smart” (1987)
  • Jack Nicholson, “Terms of Endearment” (1983) – Oscar winner
  • John Lithgow, “The World According to Garp” (1982)
  • John Gielgud, “Arthur” (1981) – Oscar winner
  • Melvin Douglas, “Being There” (1979)

An interesting fact is when LAFCA has named two winners for supporting actor, which has happened three times — Bill Murray (“Rushmore”) and Billy Bob Thornton (“A Simple Plan”), James Franco (“Spring Breakers”) and Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”) and this year with Smit-McPhee and Vincent Lindon (“Titane”) — one of the winners ended up being snubbed by the Academy, failing to receive a nomination. Murray’s turn in Wes Anderson’s comedy is the only winner of both LAFCA and NYFCC to fail to garner an Academy nom.

Smit-McPhee has been prominent in past features like “The Road” (2009) and “Slow West” (2015) and is in the midst of a seemingly open race, which hasn’t produced an agreed-upon frontrunner, despite names like Jamie Dornan and Ciarán Hinds (“Belfast”) in the mix. However, it doesn’t seem like the awards team has to worry about whether the Australian-born actor will make the cut.

As BAFTA and SAG Awards voting is still underway, and with more than a month to go until Oscar nomination voting opens, we can look at which of the many terrific performances this year can win and if there’s precedence for such a moment. At 25, Smit-McPhee would be the second-youngest winner in the category’s history, sitting behind Timothy Hutton. The latter was 20 when he won for Robert Redford’s best picture winner, “Ordinary People” (1980).

Produced, directed and written by Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog” has been beloved by audiences and critics since debuting at the Venice Film Festival in late summer. The movie is not just leading for supporting actor trophies. It also has the most wins in best picture (11), director (19), lead actor for Benedict Cumberbatch (13) and adapted screenplay (17). It’s in second place for wins for cinematography (Ari Wegner), supporting actress (Kirsten Dunst) and score (Jonny Greenwood).

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