Steve Carell "Foxcatcher"
Benedict Cumberbatch "The Imitation Game"
Michael Keaton "Birdman"
David Oyelowo "Selma"
Eddie Redmayne "The Theory of Everything"
Other Contenders - Bradley Cooper "American Sniper", Oscar Isaac "A Most Violent Year", Timothy Spall "Mr. Turner", Jack O'Connell "Unbroken", Chadwick Boseman "Get On Up", Ralph Fiennes "The Grand Budapest Hotel", Jake Gyllenhaal "Nightcrawler", Ben Affleck "Gone Girl", Matthew McConaughey "Interstellar", Bill Murray "St. Vincent", Ellar Coltrane "Boyhood", John Lithgow "Love is Strange", Brad Pitt "Fury", Miles Teller "Whiplash", Christian Bale "Exodus: Gods and Kings", Brendon Gleeson "Calvary", James Corden "Into the Woods"
Commentary - This is going to be said a dozen more times throughout this season, but this year's Best Actor race is simply brutal. Despite that four guys have managed to weasel their way into what looks like four solid positions. And for the record, while I am predicting those four, I am not stupid enough to think that these four are locks. Remember Tom Hanks was a lock last year for Captain Phillips, and at the last minute was squeezed out. Nothing is certain, except for maybe Michael Keaton, who looks to be the front runner going into the race, and will probably be a critical favorite. Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Redmayne are looking pretty good right now as well, the two young hotshots looking to upset the overdue veteran. Redmayne is riding high right now with his film opening (not well, I might add), but I think by the end this will be a battle between Cumberbatch and Keaton for the gold. Steve Carell is the fourth one right now, and while a lot of people are doubting Foxcatcher's Oscar chances, I think that the acting branch has enough respect for Carell, and is shocked enough by his dramatic transformation to reward him. So those are the four, but there are plenty of guys waiting in the wings to take a spot. Bradley Cooper was underestimated and still managed back to back nominations. He is hot right now, apparently is fantastic in American Sniper, and has enough muscle to break through. Timothy Spall is the veteran in a Mike Leigh movie who will have a lot of British support, and Jack O'Connell is the newcomer leading one of the biggest contenders of the year. Chadwick Boseman and Ralph Fiennes are both starting to reappear on the circuit hoping that Oscar voters remember their earlier projects. And names like Ben Affleck, Bill Murray, Matthew McConaughey, and newcomers Miles Teller, Ellar Coltrane, and James Corden are hoping voters are looking for alternatives. But in the fifth slot, I think it is between three guys. First Cooper, then A Most Violent Year's Oscar Isaac, who is owed a nod for Inside Llewyn Davis. Finally, and my current predictions, I think that David Oyelowo, who stars as the great Martin Luther King Jr. in the shiny new Oscar contender Selma will have enough support, and a powerful enough performance to make the top five.