The Oscar race for Best Actor is turning into a runaway for Michael Fassbender ("Steve Jobs") with 9 of our 19 experts from Yahoo, Variety, Rollling Stone, IMDB and other top media predicting him to prevail. "Michael Fassbender is fascinating in a complex role, rarely sympathetic but always interesting," notes Tim Gray (Variety). "He's kind of miscast, which makes his performance even more impressive." See the individual predictions of all 19 Oscar Experts here.
That support for Fassbender in Danny Boyle's biopic of the computer whiz translates into odds of 3/1 for this Irish import to win his first Oscar; he contended in supporting two years ago for "12 Years a Slave," losing to Jared Leto ("Dallas Buyers Club").
Four experts are betting on four-time also-ran Leonardo DiCaprio to win for "The Revenant." As Michael Hogan (Vanity Fair) wryly observes, "Hey, now that Jon Hamm has his Emmy, maybe Leo can finally get his Oscar.” His odds of winning for his work as a vengeful hunter in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Western are 9/2.
Below: Rankings for the top Best Actor contenders with odds to win and commentary from our experts.
#1. Michael Fassbender, "Steve Jobs" (9 Experts; Odds to win: 3/1)
Oscar winner Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire") handles helming and Oscar champ Aaron Sorkin ("The Social Network") adapted Walter Isaacson's best-selling bio.
Edward Douglas (ComingSoon): "One of the best movies I’ve seen this year and I realized that within the first five minutes. Sorkin’s screenplay is as good as the one for 'The Social Network' and I fully expect him to win a second Oscar for it and Boyle and his cast do a fantastic job with the material which is more like a good Broadway play."
Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post): "I'm giving the advantage to Fassbender, seeing as seven of the past 10 Best Actor winners came from biopics. Having 'Slow West' and 'Macbeth' in the can this year will give him added leverage."
Jack Mathews (Gold Derby): "Fassbender's arrival time is now and Steve Jobs, the character and the movie, are his vehicle. The structure of the film makes it an actor's showcase and I expect to see the phrase tour de force mentioned in the same sentence with his name in many of the reviews."
Tom O'Neil (Gold Derby): "Oscar voters love to see one famous face successfully portray another. Think Meryl Streep becoming Maggie Thatcher and Eddie Redmayne as Steven Hawking. This year Fassender fits that bill perfectly and he's got one more plus: he's widely considered to be a 'cool' star."
#2. Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Revenant" (4 Experts; Odds to win: 9/2)
In this still-unscreened film, DiCaprio plays legendary frontiersman Hugh Glass, who is mauled by a bear and left for dead by the rest of his hunting party. He treks 200 miles across the Dakota Territory to exact his revenge.
Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood Elsewhere): "DiCaprio has been doing good work in tough roles for the last 22 years, and right now is arguably as "due" as Julianne Moore was thought to be due last year."
Other Experts: Michael Hogan (Vanity Fair), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby) and Susan Wloszczyna (RogerEbert.com).
#3. Eddie Redmayne, "The Danish Girl" (1 Expert; Odds to win: 11/2)
Last year's Best Actor Oscar champ ("The Theory of Everything") takes on another real-life role, the transgendered Lill Elbe in a biopic by Oscar winner Tom Hooper ("The King's Speech").
Brian Truitt (USA Today): "One could argue that Redmayne's transformation into and performance as a transgender woman is even more impressive than him playing Stephen Hawking and that won him Oscar."
#5. Michael Caine, "Youth" (1 Expert; Odds to win: 14/1)
The two-time Supporting Actor champ ("Hannah and Her Sisters," 1986; "The Cider House Rules," 1999) could become the first to be nominated in six consecutive decades for his portrayal of a retired conductor considering one last performance in Italian auteur Paolo Sorrentino's intimate film
Expert: Christopher Rosen (Entertainment Weekly)
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