In the seemingly endless Oscar debate pitting Eddie Redmayne vs. Michael Keaton as Best Actor, I got a good chuckle today reading Tariq Khan‘s (Fox News) love letter for Keaton. When will Khan and other Oscar “experts” escape the black hole they’ve fallen into and admit the true acting champion of 2014 will be 32-year-old Redmayne?
Sure, Keaton has a great personal story of redemption with “Birdman,” but no one even comes close to Redmayne’s flawless transformation as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.” For my money, this is one of the most obvious Best Actor races in recent Oscars history. Don’t believe me? Then check out my five reasons below for why Redmayne will win. (Haters, please respond in the comments section at the bottom of this post.) .
1. He plays a real-life person.
The list of recent Best Actor Oscar winners plays like a who’s who of real-life history: Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof (“Dallas Buyers Club”), Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln (“Lincoln”), Colin Firth as King George (“The King’s Speech”), Sean Penn as Harvey Milk (“Milk”), Day-Lewis as Daniel Plainview/Edward Doheny (“There Will Be Blood”), Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin (“The Last King of Scotland”), Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote (“Capote”), Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles (“Ray”), etc. The major difference between Redmayne and all of those examples? The character Redmayne portrays — physicist Stephen Hawking — actually provides his own Equalizer computerized voice to the role. Hey, does that mean if Redmayne wins the Oscar, Hawking will get one, too?
2. He transforms physically.
There’s nothing Oscar voters love more than when actors and actresses transform physically on screen for our enjoyment. Think Meryl Streep as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (“Iron Lady”), Heath Ledger as the crazy Joker (“The Dark Knight”), Nicole Kidman as the nosy Virginia Woolf (“The Hour”), and yes, even Day-Lewis as a man with cerebral palsy (“My Left Foot”), a performance that Khan correctly compares to Redmayne’s. Whether or not you’re a fan of Redmayne, there’s no question he completely disappears within this role. Conversely, isn’t Keaton just playing Keaton?
3. The British vote.
Never underestimate the power of the British vote within the Academy. The LA Times estimates there are about 250 Oscar voters that hail from Great Britain, compared to roughly 57 Canadian and 45 Australian members. That powerful voting block could help ensure their UK brother Redmayne gets the #1 votes he needs to surpass Keaton on the Best Actor ballot. And with two English lads in the race this year — the other being Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Imitation Game“) — Keaton could even drop down to third place amongst British voters who’re looking to keep the trophy in the family.
4. He’ll win the Golden Globe.
Based on Gold Derby’s Experts, Editors and Users, Redmayne has the Golden Globe in the bag as Best Drama Actor. In the past 64 years, 49 Golden Globe winners for Best Actor went on to win Oscar. Yes, Gold Derby also predicts Keaton will win the Globe for Best Comedy Actor for the quirky “Birdman,” but 41 out of those 49 Globe victories were for dramatic performances.
5. Passionate support.
Forget facts, statistics, and Oscars history for a moment. When it comes down to it, who gives the performance that people are passionately rooting for to win? It’s Redmayne. In fact, almost every Oscar expert interviewed by Gold Derby’s Tom O’Neil on our podcast channel admits that they’re predicting Keaton for the win even though they personally want Redmayne to claim the gold. (To subscribe to our podcast series, do a search for “Gold Derby” at iTunes store or check out Gold Derby’s channel at Libsyn.)
Do you think Redmayne will earn an Oscar nomination for Best Actor? Click here to enter your own predictions for this category and all of Oscar’s top races, or use our easy drag-and-drop menu at the bottom of this post to get started.
Your predictions determine our racetrack odds and you can keep editing them right up until the day Oscar nominations are announced. Top score wins $1,000. You score points based on how accurately you predict the nominees (you get more points if you correctly predict a long-shot candidate before anyone else does), and if you’re one of our most accurate predictors, you’ll be included next year among our elite Top 24 Users and have even greater influence over our odds.