After I explained how Justin Timberlake could break into the Oscar derby, I asked some experts if they thought he could be nominated — and win — for his portrayal of rapscallion Sean Parker in "The Social Network." Their views:
PETE HAMMOND, DEADLINE: He won’t be nominated because he’s Justin Timberlake. He will be nominated because it’s a very assured, cagey performance and because the film is going to be strong enough overall to be widely seen and will take him along for the ride.
I don’t see him winning for this. Of the two likely to be nominated from "Social Network," Andrew Garfield has a better shot because he has the most acting heat and another film, “Never Let Me Go” to be remembered for this year as added incentive. He’s also got the bigger emotional scenes.
SASHA STONE, AWARDSDAILY: Can Justin be nominated? I think so. He's great in "The Social Network." If they can give Jennifer Hudson a nomination and a win, well, anything is possible.
Can he win? Don't think so. His competition would be way too stiff. It's enough just to be nominated in this case.
KRIS TAPLEY, IN CONTENTION: To start, and I know you're just being playful, but I don't think people are springing for Garfield due to a stigma attached to Timberlake's career. Andrew Garfield simply gives the more emotional performance in a film somewhat emotionally removed. He's a point of connection. And he nails it.
That said, Timberlake is great in a showier turn. I could absolutely see him getting in, but two supporting gents from one film is quite rare. And I definitely don't think he would win if he did slide in. I suspect we'll be talking about Christian Bale and Sam Rockwell for that in a few months' time.
GREG ELLWOOD, HITFIX: Absolutely could be nominated if the performance is worthy, sort of silly to question it. In America you can pretty much do anything so going from the Mickey Mouse Club to 'NSYNC to Grammy-winning superstar to Oscar-nominated actor is hardly out of the question. Deserved wins for Jennifer Hudson, Mo'Nique and Sandra Bullock prove that point.
Could he win? Let's not get crazy here. There is a long way to go and it's a very competitive category this year. Sony and JT's people should just aim for the nod first and then see what happens.
NATHANIEL ROGERS, FILM EXPERIENCE: It's not just first-timers, kids and singers who win Oscars before dependable screen regulars. It's also celebrities who "surprise" them. I am proud to say that I predicted Justin Timberlake way back in April.
Sorry to toot my own horn but ...
♪ I’m bringing self-love back
Them other pundits don't know sneak attack
If you are famous, Oscar will pat your back.
So Justin's gold on that supporting track ♫
I suddenly have a desire to make a music video with Scarlett Johansson now.
Photo: "The Social Network" (Columbia Pictures)