Thursday, January 10, 2019

Oscar Predictions: Best Actor

This year, Oscar nominations will be announced on Tuesday, January 22nd. I’ll be offering detailed predictions in most of the major categories.

Last year’s nominees: Timothée Chalamet, Daniel Day-Lewis, Daniel Kaluuya, Gary Oldman, Denzel Washington

My choices: Coming in February!

This year’s locks: Bradley Cooper, Rami Malek, Viggo Mortensen

Very likely: Christian Bale

Possible: Ethan Hawke, John David Washington

Unlikely: Ryan Gosling, Willem Dafoe, Lucas Hedges, Ben Foster

The rundown: The lineup that I’m predicting is one that most have expected throughout awards season, and there’s just one question mark: Ethan Hawke (First Reformed). He has racked up a staggering twenty-four wins from critics group yet missed out with both the Golden Globes and the SAGs. The man who got in both of those places instead was John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman), and it wasn’t wise to understand his father, Denzel Washington, who earned those same two bids last year, and, like his son this year, missed out only at the Critics’ Choice Awards, before going on to make the eventual Oscar list. The question is if there will be someone like James Franco or, more likely, an expected sure thing who wasn’t hurt by publicity before the nominations, like Tom Hanks for “Captain Phillips” or John Hawkes for “The Sessions,” who gets bumped in favor of both Hawke and Washington making the cut. Though his film underperformed at the Globes, Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born) is safe. While Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) was once thought vulnerable, his Globe win and his film’s shocking victory make his inclusion a sure thing. And Viggo Mortensen (Green Book) is also looking fine after his film did excellently at the Globes. Though it seemed that critical divisiveness might stop Christian Bale (Vice), I think he’s in too, even if for some reason his film falters, which also doesn’t look likely at this point. Beyond that, there’s Ryan Gosling (First Man), who earned a Critics’ Choice bid and whose film is likely to dominate the technical categories, and Globe nominees Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate), who also earned a Critics’ Choice mention, and Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased), all likely to garner some votes. I’d be ecstatic if Ben Foster (Leave No Trace), who I had championed for a supporting nod two years ago for “Hell or High Water,” made the cut, but it’s a true longshot, especially since some will for some reason place him in the supporting race. Both John C. Reilly (Stan and Ollie), a Globe nominee, and Steve Coogan (Stan and Ollie), a BAFTA nominee, could siphon votes, but hardly enough for either of them to place.

One possible crazy scenario: A forgotten film from Sundance last year makes a deserved appearance for its Tony-winning star, Daveed Diggs (Blindspotting), who was nominated by the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

Forecasted winner: Given how popular his film has been, Malek seems pretty unstoppable at this point.

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