Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Oscar Predictions: Best Actor in a Leading Role

This year, Oscar nominations will be announced on Tuesday, January 24th. I’ll be offering detailed predictions in most of the major categories, saving some of the biggest categories for last.

Last year’s nominees: Bryan Cranston, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Fassbender, Eddie Redmayne

This year’s locks: Casey Affleck, Denzel Washington

Very likely: Ryan Gosling

Possible: Andrew Garfield, Viggo Mortensen, Tom Hanks, Joel Edgerton

Unlikely: Andrew Garfield, Michael Keaton, Chris Pine

The rundown: This race seems much more locked up than it has in the past, and the main reason for that is that no one seems like they can permeate the top five. Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) and Denzel Washington (Fences) are unstoppable, and it seems very unlikely that Ryan Gosling (La La Land) will get left behind by his film, especially after his Golden Globe win earlier this week. Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge) has done pretty well for himself, and his other role – in “Silence” – isn’t nearly buzzy enough to get him ousted since that film has barely shown up anywhere. Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic) scored Globe and SAG bids, and it looks like he’ll be able to go the distance. For some reason, Tom Hanks (Sully), who was unexpectedly snubbed for “Captain Phillips” even when it was nominated for Best Picture three years ago, hasn’t been in this awards race nearly as much as he should have been, and the fact that he hasn’t been Oscar-nominated in sixteen years doesn’t suggest that voters will be enthusiastic about embracing him now. Joel Edgerton (Loving) was an early frontrunner for a nod but the film has mostly faded from the conversation, so I doubt he’ll make the cut. Michael Keaton (The Founder) would be a shock given the fact that no one is talking about his film. I’m hoping that someone seems how good Chris Pine (Hell or High Water) was and votes for him for an underpraised performance in a terrific film that’s being recognized elsewhere, but I’m not optimistic about his chances. I’m really not sure what to make of this race since it seems so set but I really want Hanks to be a part of it.

One possible crazy scenario: Bigger than “Borat” earning a Best Adapted Screenplay mention, Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) becomes an Oscar nominee for playing the foulmouthed superhero.

Forecasted winner: I think Affleck will sweep the awards circuit this year.

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