Best Actor Oscar watch: Don’t underestimate Viggo Mortensen for ‘Captain Fantastic’

The SAG Awards and the Golden Globes are two of the best indicators as to whether or not an actor will go on to earn a nomination at the Oscars. Among the double dippers this year is Viggo Mortensen for his heartbreaking performance in “Captain Fantastic” as a father raising his children in the Pacific Northwest wilderness teaching them survival skills and philosophy instead of sending them to school and living among capitalists.

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Mortensen is currently ranked fifth in our Oscar predictions with 16/1 odds of a nomination. He trails Affleck, Denzel Washington (“Fences”), Comedy/Musical Globe winner Ryan Gosling (“La La Land”) and Andrew Garfield (“Hacksaw Ridge.” He is the only one in the top five to not appear in a Best Picture-contending film. Voting for Oscar nominations is currently underway and will conclude this Friday (Jan. 13) before the full slate of nominees is announced on Jan 24.

Mortensen lost his Globe race to the current Oscar frontrunner Casey Affleck (“Manchester by the Sea”). However, the screen actors guild is more firmly behind Mortensen having nominated both him and the cast for its awards, which will be handed out on Jan. 29. That ensemble bid is one of the season’s biggest surprises, but suggests that the actors, whose branch represents almost 20% of the Oscar-voting academy, has noticed and is responding kindly to the film.

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Mortensen’s first foray into the awards race was as a part of the three-time SAG-nominated cast of “The Lord of the Rings” films; they won Best Ensemble in 2003 for the final film in the trilogy, “The Return of the King.” Since then he’s been a critics darling earning accolades from regional critics groups for 2005’s “A History of Violence,” 2009’s “The Road” and 2011’s “A Dangerous Method.” Yet none of those matched the success of 2007’s “Eastern Promises,” for which he earned his only Oscar nomination to date. That year he also earned his first solo SAG, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations, but lost all three contests as well as the Best Actor Oscar to Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood.”

Over the last five years every actor but one that was nominated for SAG, Golden Globe and in SAG Ensemble went on to also earn both BAFTA and Oscar bids. The one exception: Matthew McConaughey whose film “Dallas Buyers Club” was completely shut out at BAFTA even though he and co-star Jared Leto went on to win Oscars.

On Jan. 10, BAFTA will weigh in with their nominations and our current odds give Mortensen a fighting chance at reaping a bid there. If he finds his way into that top five he will continue to match the major accolades he earned for “Eastern Promises” just before scoring that Oscar nomination. A BAFTA bid will also match what Bryan Cranston achieved last year for “Trumbo” — SAG Best Actor, SAG Ensemble, Golden Globe Best Actor and BAFTA Best Actor –before earning his first Oscar notice.

Predict the Oscar nominations now; change them till January 24

Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how this film is faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before nominations are announced on January 24 at 5:00 am PT/8:00 am ET. Be sure to read our contest rules. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.

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