Timothy Spall ranks fifth in our experts’ Best Actor predictions for playing British painter J.M.W. Turner in the biographical drama “Mr. Turner.” On one hand, that’s good news for the veteran actor, who is in a strong position to receive his first-ever Oscar nomination. But it’s not so good news when you consider where he stood just a few weeks ago. His odds have fallen sharply. Can he regain his momentum when the film is released in December?
Back in August, our experts collectively ranked Spall second in the race with 5/1 odds, right behind Steve Carell (“Foxcatcher“). Spall was likely bolstered by his Best Actor win at the Cannes Film Festival in May. But as other actors have risen on the festival circuit – including Michael Keaton (“Birdman“) and Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Imitation Game“) – the enthusiasm around Spall has cooled, and now he’s fifth with 14/1 odds. If he continues to lose ground, he could miss out on a nomination altogether.
Spall is at a disadvantage because, despite an extensive resume that includes popular films like “Sweeney Todd,” “The King’s Speech,” and the “Harry Potter” franchise, he’s not a household name like many of his rivals who are busy generating buzz at the most recent film festivals. That’s not always a problem for the academy, which sometimes awards lesser known actors like Adrien Brody (“The Pianist”) and Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”), but it can be difficult to stand out during an awards season full of A-list celebrities.
Lucky for Spall, then, that he has the benefit of director Mike Leigh, an internationally renowned filmmaker who has scored acting nominations for Brenda Blethyn and Marianne Jean-Baptiste (“Secrets and Lies”), as well as Imelda Staunton (“Vera Drake”), none of them superstars at the time they were in contention. Leigh himself is a seven-time nominee who also picked up screenwriting bids for “Topsy-Turvy,” “Happy-Go-Lucky,” and “Another Year,” though none of those were recognized for acting.
Spall has lost traction, but he’ll have a chance to regain it when the film is commercially released on December 19, at which point he will likely be greeted by the kinds of glowing reviews and critics’ awards Mike Leigh projects are accustomed to. With 10 critics already polled, “Mr. Turner” holds a mighty 96 score on MetaCritic.
Take a look at how Spall’s odds have changed in our experts’ predictions since August (click the chart to see more odds):
The following graph also illustrates Spall’s downward trajectory. His odds are in purple (click the graph to see more):
Do you think Timothy Spall is really in trouble, or is he still well positioned for an Oscar nomination and perhaps a win? Use our drag-and-drop menu below to make your predictions.