Editors split on Best Actor Oscar: Steve Carell, Michael Keaton, or … Joaquin Phoenix?

My fellow Gold Derby editors and I have made our early Oscar predictions, but after reading the early tea leaves, we, like the Experts, are split on the outcome of Best Actor.

Oscar hopes for ‘Birdman’ soar with rave reviews from Venice film festival

Rob Licuria and Paul Sheehan think Michael Keaton will score his first-ever nomination and win for “Birdman.” Keaton and the film about a movie star hoping to stage a comeback received rave reviews when it premiered at the Venice Film Festival, and again when it screened in Telluride.

Tom O’Neil and I are putting our early money on Steve Carell for his against-type dramatic performance as real-life murderer John du Pont in “Foxcatcher,” which has also had success on the festival circuit, winning Bennett Miller the Best Director prize at Cannes.

Meanwhile, Chris Beachum thinks fourth time will be the charm for Joaquin Phoenix. In “Inherent Vice,” the three-time Oscar-nominee joins forces again with Paul Thomas Anderson, who directed him to his most recent nomination, for “The Master” in 2012. In “Vice” he plays a private detective investigating a disappearance.

16 Oscar Experts predict Best Picture showdown: ‘Boyhood’ vs. ‘Birdman’ vs. ‘Unbroken’

Take a look at our editors’ complete predictions in the race, which indicate Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Imitation Game“) and Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything“) are also strong early contenders:

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