Will Michael Keaton get revenge on Eddie Redmayne at next year’s Oscars?

One of this year’s most heated Oscar races was for Best Actor, a neck-and-neck marathon that ultimately ended with Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”) upsetting early front-runner Michael Keaton (“Birdman”). The two may very well go head-to-head again next year for films that have the potential to be major players: “The Danish Girl” and “Spotlight.”

In “The Danish Girl,” Redmayne portrays artist Einar Wegener, one of the first known recipients of male-to-female sex reassignment surgery. The film, helmed by Academy Award-winning director Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech,” 2010), is a true-life story right up Oscar alley, and the first images of Redmayne in drag hint at a transformative performance of the same ilk that led to awards-glory for “The Theory of Everything.” Should he win, he’d be only the sixth actor to win back-to-back Oscars in the same category, and only the third to do so in Best Actor.

The first person to pull off a repeat victory was Luise Rainer, who won Best Actress for “The Great Ziegfeld” (1936) and “The Good Earth” (1937). She was followed shortly thereafter by two-time Best Actor champ Spencer Tracy, who took the gold for “Captains Courageous” (1937) and “Boys Town” (1938). Three decades later, Katharine Hepburn won Best Actress Oscars #2 and #3 for “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (1967) and “The Lion in Winter” (1968), the latter of which she famously took in a tie with Barbra Streisand for “Funny Girl.” Jason Robards became the only person to win back-to-back Supporting Actor trophies for “All the President’s Men” (1976) and “Julia” (1977). Finally, Tom Hanks became the last repeat victor in Best Actor for “Philadelphia” (1993) and “Forrest Gump” (1994), almost sixty years after Tracy.

So while there is precedent, it’s an anomaly for an actor to win back-to-back Oscars. This is good news for Keaton. In “Spotlight,” he portrays Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Walter “Robby” Robinson, who led the Boston Globe’s coverage of the Roman Catholic Church’s child molestation scandal. Helmed by Original Screenplay nominee Thomas McCarthy (“Wall-E,” 2008) — who directed Richard Jenkins to a 2008 Best Actor nomination for “The Visitor” — the film could solidify the Keaton-comeback narrative that started with “Birdman.” Perhaps there will be enough goodwill leftover to carry him to victory this time around.

Of course, this is all highly speculative. Neither of the films is completed (“The Danish Girl” is still shooting), nor do they have release dates. Yet the possibility of a rematch is too juicy to ignore, and has brought the first bit of excitement to the upcoming awards season.

9 thoughts on “Will Michael Keaton get revenge on Eddie Redmayne at next year’s Oscars?

  1. The question is,will Michael Keaton get revenge on Eddie Redmayne?Answer: I hope so in the worst way.I think the film academy owes Michael Keaton too.I remember when James Stewart was up for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington in 1939,but lost to Robert Donat for Goodbye Mr. Chips.Following year Mr. Stewart got his Oscar for The Philadelphia Story over fellow actors like Laurence Olivier,Charles Chaplin,Raymond Massey and his close friend Henry Fonda in 1940.It could and hopefully will happen next awards season in 2016.

  2. “Spotlight” is already in post-production. I think “The Danish Girl” might not get released until next year, but it’s still not out of the question for the film to get one of those right-at-the-end-of-the-year runs to qualify for the Oscars next year.

  3. In my last comment I forgot about Jeff Bridges and Colin Firth.Bridges won in 2009 over Firth and the following year Firth won over Bridges(also Eisenberg,Bardem and Franco).As said before if everything goes right,Keaton can(and will) beat Redmayne and maybe Dicaprio.

  4. As they say “you never win for the right role”. So Keaton has a leg up in this race (obviously speaking sight unseen, but I can’t think of something topping his performance in “Birdman”).

    Also…If I can be “that guy” and nitpick: Eddie Redmayne’s character isnt in drag. Drag is putting on a costume/persona for a performance, and Elinar was transgendered not a drag queen. Might not be a big deal to you and I, but I know several trans people who would hate to have their appearance referred to as drag.

  5. Keaton is also supposed to start doing that movie about the guy who founded McDonalds, and its already been picked up by the Weinstein Company..if that comes out this year it could also be another nod

  6. At this point I think Leo is the frontrunner. It be great to see Keaton score another nomination and be in contention at least. And if it doesn’t happen for Spotlight, there’s always The Founder. And of course, who knows what he does after Skull Island. He very well could make it back to the party one day.

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