Are we underestimating Steve Carell (‘Battle of the Sexes’) for the Oscars after nominations at the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice and SAG Awards?

Is Steve Carell being underestimated for a return to the Oscars this year? In the past few weeks, the actor has already scored nominations for his film “Battle of the Sexes” at the Golden Globes (Best Comedy/Musical Actor), Critics’ Choice Awards (Best Comedy Actor), and SAG Awards (Male Actor in a Supporting Role).

Gold Derby experts currently give Carell 100/1 odds for 21st place in Best Actor at the 2018 Oscars. However, Fox Searchlight is campaigning him as Best Supporting Actor opposite Emma Stone playing Billie Jean King as a lead. Our odds for him in that category are also 100/1 but he’s in 47th place.

Over his remarkable career on the big and small screens, Steve Carell has earned nine Emmy nominations, nine Golden Globe nominations (including a win for “The Office”) and an Oscar nomination for “Foxcatcher” (2014). He’s had an excellent year overall with roles in “Despicable Me 3” and “Last Flag Standing,” but it’s his turn as outrageous tennis superstar Bobby Riggs in “Battle of the Sexes,” that has awards voters considering him.

With this recognition, Carell joins Christian Bale in “The Big Short” (2015) and Hugh Grant in “Florence Foster Jenkins” (2016) as the only male comedic performances to earn lead nominations at the Critics’ Choice Awards and Golden Globes but in supporting from the Screen Actors Guild. Prior to the inception of the comedy categories with the Broadcast Film Critics, Nathan Lane in “The Birdcage” (1996) also received the combo of lead at Globes and supporting with SAG Awards voters. Among these performances, Lane and Grant missed being nominated at the Oscars, while Bale garnered a nomination in Best Supporting Actor, ultimately losing that prize to Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”).

The statistics are more promising for Carell when taking into account all Comedy/Musical Actor Golden Globe nominees who also earned SAG Awards nominations, in any category. To date, a total of 20 of those Golden Globe nominees also received recognition from SAG and, among these ones gaining double bids, 14 earned Oscar nominations. The six who failed to make the Oscar cut were Lane; Grant; Jim Carrey in “Man on the Moon” (1999); Richard Gere in “Chicago” (2002); Paul Giamatti in “Sideways” (2004); and Ryan Gosling in “Lars and the Real Girl” (2007).

One statistic very much in Carell’s favor, however, is the Academy’s affection, particularly in recent years, for actors who portray real-life athletes. He would mark the ninth actor to date to achieve this feat, following in the footsteps of Gary Cooper in “The Pride of the Yankees” (1942); James Earl Jones in “The Great White Hope” (1970); Robert De Niro in “Raging Bull” (1980); Denzel Washington in “The Hurricane” (1999); Will Smith in “Ali” (2001); Matt Damon in “Invictus” (2009); Bale in “The Fighter” (2010); and Mark Ruffalo in “Foxcatcher” (2014).

Carell’s climb to an Oscar nomination may remain a steep one but in an awards season as busy and unpredictable as this, he is not to be underestimated.

Be sure to make your Oscar nomination predictions so that Hollywood studio executives and top name stars can see how their films are faring in our Academy Awards odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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