Oscars update: Bruce Dern stays in lead for ‘Nebraska’

Despite his Best Actor win at Cannes in May for “Nebraska,” there has been talk as of late that Bruce Dern would be positioned in supporting for his Oscars campaign. However, Gold Derby has learned that the veteran actor will stay in lead where he will compete for a nomination with co-star Will Forte

In Alexander Payne‘s atmospheric black-and-white picture, they play a father and son with a difficult and distant relationship. The film follows the pair as they travel from Montana to the cornhusker state to collect some prize money due the dad. 

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Despite a film career stretching back more than half a century, Dern has only contended at the Oscars once; he lost his 1978 supporting bid for “Coming Home” to Christopher Walken for his work in Best Picture champ “The Deerhunter.” 

Dern is to be commended for not trying to slip into supporting. After all, that race often goes to the veteran in contention, as with Christopher Plummer (“Beginners,” 2011) and Alan Arkin (“Little Miss Sunshine,” 2005). Indeed, one of our experts — Steve Pond (The Wrap) — predicts Dern will win this award. 

Perhaps Dern sees this as his best chance to vie at least once for Best Actor, as did his pal Peter Fonda back in 1997 for “Ulee’s Gold.” Six of our dozen experts expect him to reap a bid in this competitive category: Thom Geier (EW), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Michael Musto (Gawker), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Christopher Rosen (HuffPo) and Susan Wloszczyna (RogerEbert.com)

Of course, Dern could change tack as the season progresses. With Cannes combining lead and featured roles for the one prize, it is up to the actor (and his studio) where he is positioned for the stateside kudos. (As such, we are keeping him in contention for Supporting Actor as well.)

In 2011, Jean Dujardin parlayed his Cannes win for “The Artist” into a Best Actor Oscar edging out, among others, George Clooney for Payne’s last picture, “The Descendants.” Then there was 2009 Cannes champ Christoph Waltz who danced off with the supporting actor Oscar for “Inglorious Basterds.” 

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