Saturday, March 6, 2021

Oscar Predictions: Best Actor

This year, Oscar nominations will be announced on Monday, March 15th. I’ll be offering detailed predictions in all categories.

Last year’s nominees: Antonio Banderas, Leonardo DiCaprio, Adam Driver, Joaquin Phoenix, Jonathan Pryce

This year’s locks: Chadwick Boseman, Anthony Hopkins

Very likely: Riz Ahmed

Possible: Delroy Lindo, Steven Yeun, Gary Oldman

Unlikely: Tahar Rahim, Mads Mikkelsen, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Tom Hanks, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ben Affleck, John David Washington, Eli Goree

The rundown: This category doesn’t feel quite as unpredictable as the other acting races. The late Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), who won the Golden Globe, is the surest thing, and Anthony Hopkins (The Father) will no doubt join him. Though his film hasn’t picked up all that much traction in other categories at some major precursors, Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal) feels like a safe bet, and I’m expecting that his film may perform considerably better at the Oscars. Theoretically, Gary Oldman (Mank) is next in line, given that he’s been cited by most other groups, but I’ve felt along that he might end up getting snubbed. It’s been strange that Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods) missed out with both the Globes and SAG, and it’s hard to imagine him missing out here too. Steven Yeun (Minari) showed up at SAG, and I think he’ll be able to repeat that appearance here. There are a slew of contenders who had seemed to be in the running for a while and could still show up as surprises. I feel like Tahar Rahim (The Mauritanian) may benefit most from his costar Jodie Foster’s Globe win, but he was only nominated there, and so there isn’t an industry-wise groundswell of support for his film. Mads Mikkelsen (Another Round) has the advantage of his film being a shoo-in Best International Feature nominee, but foreign actors in the past have scored consistently at other places than just the European Film Awards. While the film might perform decently, it’s likely too late for Kingsley Ben-Adir (One Night in Miami) or Eli Goree (One Night in Miami) to break into this race. Tom Hanks (News of the World) and Ben Affleck (The Way Back) both earned Critics Choice Award nominations, and Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm) won the comedy Globe. I wish that John David Washington (Malcolm and Marie) was a legitimate possibility at this point, but I think his costar Zendaya is the only one with a (slim) chance.

For your consideration: It was a year with great comedic performances, namely the surprisingly mature turns from Andy Samberg (Palm Springs) and Pete Davidson (The King of Staten Island).

Forecasted winner: I see Boseman as the very likely winner.

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