Christopher Plummer finally has Oscar within reach

Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:18am EST
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - It's been a long hike from the Austrian Alps to the Hollywood Hills for Christopher Plummer, but the actor best known for playing the steely captain with seven children in "The Sound of Music" looks set to finally win his first Oscar.

Plummer, 82, is front-runner in the best supporting actor category on Sunday that in many years is a sort of film veterans achievement award for recognizing beloved, but somehow neglected, older men.

After almost 200 movies and TV shows, and hundreds more appearances on stage, the Canadian actor may finally clinch the most coveted prize in the movie industry for playing a 75-year-old who joyfully comes out as gay after a long marriage, but who swiftly succumbs to terminal cancer.

"Christopher Plummer is the sentimental favorite," said Pete Hammond, movie writer for website Deadline Hollywood.

"It would be a huge upset if anybody but Christopher Plummer were to take this home, and it is only his second Oscar nomination, so he is way overdue," Hammond said.

But Plummer has a rival who is just as beloved, overlooked and respected by his peers.

Swedish-born Max von Sydow, also 82, is mounting a strong challenge for his performance as an elderly World War Two survivor who becomes a mentor to a young boy after the September11 2001 attacks on New York's World Trade Center buildings in "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close".

And von Sydow does it all without uttering a word. His character in the Oscar best picture contender, known only as The Renter, does not speak because of the trauma of witnessing a World War Two bombing as a child.   Continued...

Actor Christopher Plummer accepts the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a supporting role for "Beginners", at the 18th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California January 29, 2012. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson