Despite the grumbling of some critics, Tom Hooper's musical "Les Miserables" has enjoyed a successful run this awards season, with strong box office and multiple nominations from the SAG Awards, Golden Globes, Critics' Choice, and BAFTA, as well as pivotal notices from the Producers Guild and Directors Guild. And stars Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway are poised to earn Oscar nominations for their performances.
But what about Eddie Redmayne? The actor is considered a standout among the cast as lovestruck revolutionary Marius. Like Hathaway, he has an emotional, showstopping musical number ("Empty Chairs at Empty Tables," in which he mourns lost friends), but despite having considerably more screentime than Hathaway, who seems on her way to an easy win for Best Supporting Actress, Redmayne has been shut out almost across the board, earning only a Satellite Award nomination from the International Press Academy. Awards voters are undoubtedly watching the film, so why hasn't Redmayne built more momentum for his performance?
Perhaps it is his lack of seniority that is holding him back. Though Oscar loves to reward young women like Hathaway, their youthful male counterparts are seldom so fortunate. Best Supporting Actor, in particular, is often awarded to veterans, and this year there is no shortage to choose from. Among our experts' top ten candidates in the category, Redmayne, at age 31, is the youngest by more than seven years, behind "Django Unchained" star Leonardo DiCaprio (38). Of the ten, six are previous winners, and only three have never been nominated, including Redmayne.
Can the actor still surprise tomorrow morning? He has previously been on voters' radar, appearing most recently in the male lead role in "My Week with Marilyn," which earned a pair of acting bids last year for Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh, and Supporting Actor is this year's most volatile race, with our experts divided between seven candidates, including Redmayne, but the actor nevertheless sits in eighth place with 50-to-1 odds.
"Les Mis" will earn 11 nominations on Oscar morning according to our current predictions, and if Redmayne isn't among them it may be the most conspicuous empty chair at that table.