Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Oscar Predictions: Best Actor in a Leading Role

This year, Oscar nominations will be announced on Thursday, January 16th. I’ll be offering detailed predictions in most of the major categories, saving some of the biggest categories for last.

Last year’s nominees: Bradley Cooper, Daniel Day-Lewis, Hugh Jackman, Joaquin Phoenix, Denzel Washington

This year’s locks: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Matthew McConaughey

Very likely: Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Bruce Dern

Possible: Michael B. Jordan, Forest Whitaker, Leonardo DiCaprio

Unlikely: Oscar Isaac, Christian Bale, Joaquin Phoenix, Idris Elba

The rundown: Last year, this was a six-person race. This year, it’s essentially locked up for the top five, but there are a handful of other actors who are fighting to bump into that slate. Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) and Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club), both of whom have never been nominated before, are both locks. It’s hard to imagine either Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips) or Bruce Dern (Nebraska) not being nominated if some other aspect of their film is, but, sadly, that may be the case since they might not be considered essential (far from the truth, of course). Robert Redford (All is Lost) suffered a miserable SAG snub which suggests his acting chances (one total previous nomination) pale to his behind-the-scenes abilities (an Oscar win for directing “Ordinary People” in 1980). Nipping at their heels are SAG nominee Forest Whitaker (The Butler) and Golden Globe nominees Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street), Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), Christian Bale (American Hustle), Joaquin Phoenix (Her), and Idris Elba (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom). I’m still rooting for Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station) to be rewarded for his astounding performance, but I think his movie is going to be ignored.

One possible crazy scenario: A posthumous nomination for James Gandolfini (Enough Said) happens in this category instead of the supporting race.

Forecasted winner: If he gets nominated, Redford.

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