Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Oscar Winner Predictions: Best Actor in a Leading Role

The competition: Steve Carell’s oddball billionaire (Foxcatcher), Bradley Cooper’s military man (American Sniper), Benedict Cumberbatch’s antisocial mathematician (The Imitation Game), Michael Keaton’s aging actor (Birdman), and Eddie Redmayne’s Stephen Hawking (The Theory of Everything).

Previous winners: Matthew McConaughey, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jean Dujardin, Colin Firth, Jeff Bridges, Sean Penn, Daniel Day-Lewis
My winner: Announcing shortly after the Oscars!
The facts: This category has just one returning nominee, and that's Bradley Cooper, earning his third consecutive nomination and his first for a film not directed by David O. Russell. Redmayne won both the Golden Globe and the SAG Award, and Keaton won the other Globe. All but "Foxcatcher" are nominated for Best Picture.

Who should win: I don’t think that Carell and Cooper belong in this race, but the other three are all excellent. I’d probably give it to Cumberbatch over Redmayne, but I’d be happy to see either or Keaton win.
Who will win: Even if “Birdman” surges and takes Best Picture, Redmayne won both the Globe and the SAG, and I think it’s a transformative enough performance that will serve as the major way to reward his film that isn’t technically in the Best Picture race in terms of its chances. Keaton could upset him, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

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