Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Oscar Narrative: Post Telluride/Venice/Toronto Predictions - Best Actor

Post Telluride/Venice/Toronto Predictions
Matt Damon "The Martian"
Johnny Depp "Black Mass"
Leonardo DiCaprio "The Revenant"
Michael Fassbender "Steve Jobs"
Eddie Redmayne "The Danish Girl"

Other Contenders - Tom Hanks "Bridge of Spies", Michael Caine "Youth", Will Smith "Concussion", Bryan Cranston "Trumbo", Jake Gyllenhaal "Southpaw", Bradley Cooper "Burnt", Geza Rohrig "Son of Saul", Michael Fassbender "Macbeth", Joseph Gordon-Levitt "The Walk", Tom Courtenay "45 Years",  John Cusack "Love & Mercy", Abraham Attah "Beasts of No Nation", Steve Carell "The Big Short", Christian Bale "The Big Short", Brad Pitt "The Big Short", Brad Pitt "By the Sea", Chris Hemsworth "In the Heart of the Sea", Samuel L. Jackson "The Hateful Eight", Kurt Russell "The Hateful Eight", Channing Tatum "The Hateful Eight", Tom Hiddleston "I Saw the Light", Chiwetel Ejiofor "Secret in Their Eyes", Ian McKellen "Mr. Holmes", Antonio Banderas "The 33", Robin Williams "Boulevard", Shameik Moore "Dope", Tom Hardy "Legend", Jesse Eisenberg "The End of the Tour", Thomas Mann "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl", Tobey Maguire "Pawn Sacrifice", Michael B. Jordon "Creed", Andrew Garfield "99 Homes", Daniel Craig "Spectre", Joaquin Phoenix "Irrational Man"

Commentary - If you peruse across the predictions, articles, podcasts, etc. of the Oscar season four actors, one still sight unseen seem to be holding places in the top five. First and foremost is Michael Fassbender playing Steve Jobs. The films is getting raves, and Fassbender is at its center. After getting a nomination for 12 Years a Slave two years ago, he is now on the radar, and he has a knockout. Black Mass has slipped in recent weeks as newer contenders have emerged, and lets face it, the film overall is not that great, but there is still plenty of buzz for Johnny Depp. He has the narrative, the reviews, and could make an Oscar comeback. Eddie Redmayne could become the first actor since Tom Hanks to win this award back to back. Honestly, as the buzz has moved and changed, I don't see the voters going for it again, especially with so many on the ballot that have yet to win. But the reviews are great for Redmayne, his role is timely, and I think he will easily score his second nomination. Finally, sight unseen, there is a lot of buzz for Leonardo DiCaprio for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's The Revenant. It could end up not being a player, but if it is, then no actor is more deserving than the way overdue DiCaprio. So there are the consensus four among most folks who look at this race. It is that fifth slot that feels up for grabs. My money is on Matt Damon. He could easily win the Comedy/Musical Globe (I know the film has funny moments, but an outright comedy feels like a bit of a stretch), and carries a film that is clearly well-liked across the board. Tom Hanks and Bridge of Spies have launched themselves into the Oscar fray, but if he could not get nominated for Captain Phillips, I don't know if he can do it here, where apparently he is good, but doesn't have the range or physicality of the previous film. Will Smith is getting a lot of buzz ahead of Concussion, and could be his first nomination in over a decade. Bryan Cranston is getting rave reviews for Trumbo, even the film has some mixed opinions. Jake Gyllenhaal lifts an otherwise so-so Southpaw, Geza Rohrig is going to get a huge push for the Hungarian smash Son of Saul, and John Cusack is certainly worthy for his Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy. Bradley Cooper has his role in Burnt, a movie he made sure got made (remember American Sniper?), one of The Hateful Eight guys could get bumped up (rumor is Samuel L. Jackson, which would mess up my Supporting Actor nominations), and The Big Short guys are in the same boat. Tom Hiddleston and Tom Hardy lift bad projects with great performances, Thomas Mann is Endearing, Michael B. Jordon is owed a nod for Fruitvale Station, Chris Hemsworth could prove his acting might in In the Heart of the Sea, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is great in The Walk, Tom Courtenay holds his own against Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years, Ian McKellen is Mr. Holmes, and young Abraham Attah could join Idris Elba in the buzz for Beasts of No Nation.

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