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", Will Smith "Concussion", Michael Caine "Youth", Bryan Cranston "Trumbo", Michael B. Jordon "Creed", Ian McKellen "Mr. Holmes", Steve Carell "The Big Short", Geza Rohrig "Son of Saul", Tom Courtenay "45 Years", Samuel L. Jackson "The Hateful Eight", Abraham Attah "Beasts of No Nation", Jake Gyllenhaal "Southpaw", John Cusack "Love & Mercy", Chris Hemsworth "In the Heart of the Sea", Michael Fassbender "Macbeth", Mark Ruffalo "Infinitely Polar Bear", Thomas Mann "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl", Joseph Gordon-Levitt "The Walk", Tom Hardy "Legend", Andrew Garfield "99 Homes", Tobey Maguire "Pawn Sacrifice", Bill Hader "Trainwreck", Ben Kingsley "Learning to Drive", Robin Williams "Boulevard", Joaquin Phoenix "Irrational Man", Jesse Eisenberg "The End of the Tour", Shameik Moore "Dope"
Commentary - I am still sticking with the same five I have had for a while now. Michael Fassbender knocks it out of the park as Steve Jobs, and is a previous nominee. Matt Damon is fantastic in The Martian, and the film has risen to the top of the Oscar pack. Eddie Redmayne will get a nomination just after winning for this transgender character in The Danish Girl. And while The Revenant has not been seen, Leonardo DiCaprio feels like a safe bet here, and if he and the film are as good as they look, he could finally end his Oscar drought. The last slot had been reserved for Johnny Depp, and for the moment he holds his slot, despite a dramatic dip in buzz for Black Mass. Beyond those five, Tom Hanks is still sitting there, hoping to right the Bridge of Spies wave to the nod they owe him for Captain Phillips. Will Smith is apparently good, but also apparently really subtle in Concussion, and the film as a whole is getting mixed reactions. Youth could play well with older voters, and Michael Caine is a two-time winner. Bryan Cranston is great in Trumbo and is probably still getting good vibes from Breaking Bad. Michael B. Jordan has been a young star to watch for a while, and is apparently fantastic in Creed. Ian McKellen is a beguiling Sherlock Holmes, Steve Carell is back to funny in The Big Short, Tom Courtenay is fantastic in 45 Years, and Geza Rohrig could be a compelling foreign contender this year. Samuel L. Jackson might be bumped up to lead for The Hateful Eight, Chris Hemsworth could breakthrough with In the Heart of the Sea, and Tom Hardy is jaw-dropping in Legend. Throw in Jake Gyllenhaal, John Cusack, Thomas Mann, Bill Hader, Abraham Attah, and Shameik Moore, and this race is far from over.