First Oscar Predictions
Adam Driver "Silence"
Steve Martin "Billy Lynn's Halftime Walk"
Liam Neeson "Silence"
Jack O'Connell "Money Monster"
Craig Robinson "Morris From America"
Other Contenders - Andrew Garfield "Silence", Oscar Isaac "The Promise", Marhershala Ali "Moonlight", J.K. Simmons "La La Land", Edward Norton "Collateral Beauty", Micahel Pena "Collateral Beauty", Michael Sheen "Passengers", John Goodman "10 Cloverfield Lane", John Carroll Lynch "The Founder", Nick Offerman "The Founder", Aaron Eckhart "Sully", Aaron Eckhart "Bleed for This", Jack Huston "The Yellow Birds", Forest Whitaker "Story of Your Life", Kurt Russell "Deepwater Horizon", Michael Shannon "Loving", Michael Shannon "Nocturnal Animals", Billy Crudup "20th Century Women", Jared Leto "Suicide Squad", Steve Carell "Cafe Society", Corey Stoll "Cafe Society", Joel Edgerton "Midnight Special", Lucas Hedges "Manchester By the Sea", Edgar Ramirez "Gold", Peter Saarsgard "Jackie", David Wenham "Lion", Channing Tatum "Hail, Caesar!", Colin Farrell "The Lobster", Alden Ehrenreich "Untitled Howard Hughes Project", Kevin Costner "Hidden Figures", Jeffrey Tambor "The Accountant", Riz Ahmed "Una", Ben Mendolsohn "Una", Robert Pattinson "The Lost City of Z", Robert Downey Jr. "Captain America: Civil War", Sebastian Stan "Captain America: Civil War", Armie Hammer "The Birth of a Nation", Dwight Henry "The Birth of a Nation", C. Thomas Howell "LBJ", Daniel Bruhl "The Zookeeper's Wife", Denzel Washington "The Magnificent Seven", Vincent D'Onofrio "The Magnificent Seven", Ethan Hawke "The Magnificent Seven", Ben Kingsley "War Machine", T.J. Miller "Deadpool", Hugh Jackman "Eddie the Eagle", Adam Driver "Midnight Special", Sam Shepard "Midnight Special", Cedric the Entertainer "Barbershop 3", Tye Sheridan "Last Days in the Desert", Guy Pearce "Genius", Hugh Grant "Florence Foster Jenkins", Morgan Freeman "Ben-Hur", Timothy Olyphant "Snowden", John Malkovich "Deepwater Horizon"
Commentary - This race took a lot of twists and turns last year, ending with probably the biggest surprise of Oscar night. This year looks to be just as fascinating, with a lot of potentially fantastic turns in big projects. Silence, the new Scorsese flick. If Garfield goes lead (I have in the list just in case), that leaves Liam Neeson and Adam Driver to both go supporting. The chances both make the cut are slim, but for now, I will keep both of them in the top five. Neeson could get the "career" kind of win that a lot of folks win for this category, and Driver, with Star Wars, Girls, and a dozen indie projects, is one of the hottest commodities in Hollywood right now. Money Monster looks great, but could also be more of a commercial project than an Oscar contender (we will know soon). But if it is a contender, look out for Jack O'Connell, a young talent that is making waves in a lot of top projects, and looks to have an emotional role in the film. Finally, we all know that when comedians get serious, all of the sudden people start to take them more seriously and awards can follow. Steve Martin has a buzzed role in Ang Lee's newest Billy Lynn's Halftime Walk, which got a ton of support out of Cinema Con, and Craig Robinson surprised a lot of folks at Sundance with his turn in Morris From America. These are my top five now, but I really do expect this race to have a lot of twists and turns. Oscar Isaac has created a great name for himself in a wide range of roles, from huge blockbusters to indies. The Promise could be his first Oscar nomination. Marhershala Ali had a scene-stealing turn in House of Cards, and is getting a lot of buzz for his upcoming Moonlight. J.K. Simmons could return with another Damien Chazelle project La La Land, John Goodman has rocked audiences with the surprise hit 10 Cloverfield Lane, Aaron Eckhart has two buzzed projects this year, as does Michael Shannon. The new Han Solo Alden Ehrenreich has a bunch of projects including the upcoming Warren Beatty Howard Hughes project. Several films have multiple contenders including The Founder, Collateral Beauty, Una, Captain America, The Birth of a Nation, The Magnificent Seven, Midnight Special, and Cafe Society. Also in the mix: Michael Sheen in Passengers, Jack Huston in The Yellow Birds, Kevin Costner in Hidden Figures, Billy Crudup in 20th Century Woman, Lucas Hedges in Manchester By the Sea, Edgar Ramirez in Gold, Jeffrey Tambor in The Accountant, Robert Pattinson in The Lost City of Z, Kurt Russell in Deepwater Horizons, and Forest Whitaker in Story of Your Life. Then there is the big wildcard: Jared Leto. I don't think he will even get close to Ledger's brilliance, and Suicide Squad does not look anything close to The Dark Knight, but as always, we'll have to wait and see...