Eight Experts, three Editors and 18 of the Top 24 users have the same lineup of men in their Oscar predictions for Best Actor: Bruce Dern (“Nebraska”), Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave”), Tom Hanks (“Captain Phillips”), Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club”) and Robert Redford (“All is Lost”).
We are a month away from nominations, but this category is apparently a foregone conclusion. Or is it?
Right now, it seems unfathomable that any one of these five fellows should miss out on an Oscar bid.
Dern gives what is probably his best performance in three decades and he won the best actor prize at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, as well as the National Board of Review.
Ejiofor is the star of the Best Picture frontrunner.
Hanks is a likeable actor, two-time Academy Award winner and five-time nominee with performances in two awards-friendly films this season.
“Dallas Buyers Club” represents the apex of McConaughey’s career transformation from rom-com beefcake to critical darling.
Redford is in a well-reviewed one-man show and is another academy favorite, having been nominated for or won as a producer, director and actor and even has an honorary Oscar under his belt.
While some late releases are starting to build buzz, no other Best Actor contender has better than five percent odds because these five have such legitimate claims. Indeed, if voters filled out their ballots the way that Gold Derby users log their predictions, shifting them throughout the season, these probably would be the five nominees.
But this is not the case: voters will not have to make room on their ballots because they will not already be filled out when they sit down to vote at the end of this month. There are performances in films yet to be released that have similarly unbeatable narratives and all that separates them from the five top contenders is timing, which really should be a plus because they will be fresh in the membership’s minds during voting which begins Dec. 27 and ends Jan. 8.
Christian Bale is said to give the best performance of his career in “Out of the Furnace.” Wait, what? The man already has an Oscar. This is not to mention that it is the same writer-director as 2009’s “Crazy Heart,” which won Best Actor for Jeff Bridges. And Bale also has top billing in Christmas release in “American Hustle,” which just won Best Picture from the New York Film Critics Circle.
Oscar Isaac and Joaquin Phoenix are respectively starring in two December releases with scores staggeringly in the 90s on Metacritic based off of early reviews: the Coen brothers’ Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix winner “Inside Llewyn Davis” and Spike Jonze’s National Board of Review Best Picture “Her.” The Coen brothers have 14 Oscar nominations to their name and Phoenix was nominated just last year for a film that received zero non-performance nominations. These are major contenders.
Widely-unseen performances by Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Wolf of Wall Street”) and Idris Elba (“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”), as well as the power of Harvey Weinstein behind previously-released performances by Forest Whitaker (“The Butler”) and Michael B. Jordan (“Fruitvale Station”) prove that this race is far from over.
It is anyone’s guess as to which of Dern, Ejiofor, Hanks, McConaughey and Redford may miss out, but at least one of them has to don’t they? Gold Derby users would be wise to take note and start gambling.
Predict the Best Actor lineup below using our easy drag-and-drop menu.