The best supporting actor category will likely be one of the most interesting and watched of the night and with good reason. Each and every nominee has won an Oscar before. From a competitive standpoint that actually means no one owns an advantage.
The supporting performer categories are usually used for two reasons – to recognize an up-and-coming actor or actress or one who has been overlooked by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for past works. None of these gentlemen can make such a claim and they each represent the best of Hollywood.
From the wily vet Alan Arkin in Argo to the equally talented and experienced Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln) and Robert DeNiro (god of actors) who plays a cranky father in Silver Linings Playbook, these three have aged gracefully into character roles after toiling long and hard in film.
By Hollywood standards Hoffman is still young, but very talented and may have more Oscar roles in him, but his work in The Master proved worthy. And Christoph Waltz? He and Quentin Tarantino equal pure magic as he showed in Django Unchained.