Sunday, January 10, 2016

Oscar Predictions Best Lead Actor (2016)

This year Best Actor seems to have three safe bets, and like within every other category, four or five other contenders jockeying for those fourth and fifth positions.  Many pundits/bloggers/critics are citing this as the weakest Best Actor competition in years.  This diminishes a lot of performances which are not being considered as major contenders like Christopher Abbott in James White, Jason Segel in The End of the Tour, and many more.

In the last two years BAFTA and SAG have never matched perfectly with the Lead Actor Oscar category.


This was probably the most competitive Best Actor race, I have seen in the 10s, in regard to viable nominees, the winner eventually became an easy prediction.

When predicting these awards two years ago there were six very strong candidates, all of them showed up at the Globes, only McConaughey missed out at BAFTA, and DiCaprio missed out at SAG, because of the film's later release.

The locks for this race were Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers' Club, Bruce Dern for Nebraska and Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave. When predicting I had Tom Hanks ranked fourth, and DiCaprio ranked fifth (yes I have an archive on this).  Christian Bale in American Hustle ended up bumping Hanks, the stronger love for American Hustle (which went on to lose all of its Oscar nominations) in the acting branch helped secure his nomination over Hanks.


There were 3 men who showed up consistently the Globes (which really do not matter), BAFTA, and SAG.  They were Eddie Redmayne (who won the Globe, BAFTA, SAG, and the Oscar) Michael Keaton (who won the Globe), and Benedict Cumberbatch.

The person everyone underestimated, namely because of category confusion was Steve Carell; he was nominated at the Globes, and SAG in lead, and at BAFTA in supporting.  His nomination made a ton of sense, the film also did well on nomination day.

Jake Gyllenhaal was nominated the Globes, BAFTA, and SAG; he seemed like a lock, but he was bumped by the late breaking strength of Bradley Cooper in American Sniper.  Cooper was predicted by some, but not many, especially since he received an Oscar nomination with no other precursor.


Are there any late breaking phenomena like American Sniper? That would be Star Wars, but there is no potential acting nomination here.  Michael B. Jordan could be that person, but Creed has done what American Sniper did at the Guilds, and BAFTA, so I think he is out.  The person who could fit this mold is Steve Carell in The Big Short.  While Carell does have a Globe nomination, he has not shown up anywhere else.  The Big Short has a ton of love, and is showing up everywhere, including doing well at SAG, and fantastic at BAFTA. 

Is there anyone like Bale in American Hustle, who can push out a Tom Hanks? Namely is there an actor in a film the actors love and honor it with four acting nominations, or at least more than two?  I think if Michael Keaton had bumped up to lead this would be him, possibly, but there are no films which will recieve more than two Oscar nominations this year.

So who are the locks this year? Leonardo Dicaprio in The Revenant, Bryan Cranston in Trumbo, and Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl.  These three are locked into place.

Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs, seems like an obvious lock for that fourth spot; he is nominated the Globes, SAG, and BAFTA.  The one problem I have with this nomination is that it feels like the film does not have the love or attention you would expect, including missing out on SAG ensemble.  At the moment, and statistically he makes the most sense to get a nomination

Matt Damon would seem be fifth, he is the front runner for the Globes, although, I think they may pick Bale or Carell.  Damon and The Martian were snubbed by SAG, I was not shocked by the ensemble snub, but I was surprised Damon did not make the cut; Depp made it in over him. Damon's misfortune changed at BAFTA, he made their Best Actor list while The Martian was snubbed in Best Picture, this shows his performance has support.  I also think The Martian will be a top tier contender this year, and like Gravity (Bullock) he will be rewarded with a nomination.

On the movie star front Johnny Depp for Black Mass, and Will Smith for Concussion are on many lists to make the cut.  I think the one problem is their films have no other support, besides these two performances.  Black Mass may show up in Best Make-Up, but nowhere else.  Most of the time when a movie star shows up here their films get one or two more nominations including a screenplay nomination, like Denzel in Flight, which reieved a Best Original Screenplay nomination.  There are only a few performances that get a lone nomination like Demian Bichir for A Better Life (2011), but those are rare, which I think rules out Smith.  Depp has an outside shot in sixth or seventh.

I think in the end Damon and Carell are my final picks for spots four and five.  I think The Martian and The Big Short will have enough support to boost up their likely nominations.  I think Fassbender is a strong threat.

My Predictions
1-Leonardo DiCaprio-The Revenant
2-Bryan Cranston-Trumbo
3-Eddie Redmayne-The Danish Girl
4-Matt Damon-The Martian 
5-Michael Fassbender-Steve Jobs

Update: Carell is the 6th man here, the spoiler, but the Oscar voters do not pay attention to box office (never have) and Steve Jobs is just the kind of film they like. 

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