There are front-runners and then there are guarantees. Jared Leto seems as much as a guarantee as possible to take home the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor on Sunday night at the 86th Academy Awards. From Time Magazine to The Huffington Post to The New York Daily News, almost every critic is predicting that the 42-year-old is as good as gold to receive the trophy for his portrayal as a transgender HIV Positive woman named Rayon in the powerful drama Dallas Buyer's Club.
Leto's competition for Best Supporting Actor:
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years A Slave
Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
While a case could be made for any other contender, especially Johah Hill's over the top comedic performance in Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, Leto leaving without a statue on Sunday would be a shock to the industry. Leto's transformation to Rayon is considered a career best for the actor who actually "retired" from the Hollywood life for the past six years in order to front his rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars.
Leto has already swept most the critic's awards this year. He also won both the Golden Globe and the Screen Actor's Guild trophies. Leto, who is known as a method actor, totally disappeared into the role of Rayon. Although, Matthew McConaughey is the star of the film and the Dallas Buyer's Club is his vision to provide HIV Positive patients with affordable and effective medicine outside of the health care system, it is Leto's Rayon that turns McConaughey's Ron Woodroof from a homophobic bigot to a compassionate caring man.
The actor describes Rayon like a living person, rather than a character on a page. "She’s an incredible, empathetic, beautiful dreamer. A heart the size of an ocean. She’s an absolutely one-of-a-kind creature. So, a lot of love and support for her as well. I feel like she became a person, a real person. Especially because I was so deep inside of her. I really feel like I got to know this person. It became like a living, breathing life. It was a once-in-a-lifetime role.”
It's clear that Leto brought that passion for the role into his performance. She wasn't just a drag queen with AIDS, Rayon was a deep soul with kindness in her heart. Leto should have his Oscar speech ready to go, there are no guarantees in life, but the chances weigh heavily in his favor that he will have "Academy Award Winner" next to his name come Sunday night.
Image via Jared Leto, Twitter