2020 Oscar Predictions: Best Actor (UPDATED: August 21)

Historically the Best Actor Oscar has gone to men with a little grey in their hair while Best Actress is usually given to an ingenue. However, we could be seeing a shift in that bias on both sides. At the 2019 Oscars, Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) won Best Actor at age 37 over a past winner and three previous nominees. Casey Affleck (“Manchester by the Sea”) did likewise in 2017. (Scroll down for the most up-to-date 2020 Oscars predictions for Best Actor.)

While Affleck won for a fictional role, Malek prevailed for portraying Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. Of the 10 most recent Best Actor champs at the Academy Awards, seven of them won for bring life to real-life fellows: Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech,” 2011); Daniel Day-Lewis (“Lincoln,” 2013); Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club,” 2014); Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything,” 2015); Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant,” 2016); and Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour,” 2018).

Malek was a first-time nominee while each of his four rivals in the 2019 Best Actor race had contended multiple times at the Oscars. Only one had won with Christian Bale having taken home the Best Supporting Actor award for “The Fighter.”

Who will win Best Actor at the 2020 Oscars? Below, we consider the contenders. This roster includes past Academy Awards champs, previous nominees and those looking for their first bids, be they film newcomers or long-time screen actors.

DISCUSS All the Oscar contenders with Hollywood insiders in our notorious forums

UPDATED: August 21, 2019

Please note: Only those films with confirmed release dates are listed below. Check back often as new contenders are scheduled while other are dropped due to delays or critical reaction. To read full descriptions of each film, check out our Best Picture predictions. Certain contenders are also included in the Best Supporting Actor round-up, pending confirmation of campaign strategies.

Leading Contenders

Christian Bale, “Ford v. Ferrari” (20th Century Fox – November 15)

Antonio Banderas, “Pain & Glory” (Sony Pictures Classics – Fall)

Matt Damon, “Ford v. Ferrari” (20th Century Fox – November 15)

Robert De Niro, “The Irishman” (Netflix – Fall)

Leonardo DiCaprio, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (Sony – July 26)

Ian McKellen, “The Good Liar” (Warner Bros. – November 15)

Gary Oldman, “The Laundromat” (Netflix – Fall)

Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker” (Warner Bros. – Oct. 4)

Eddie Redmayne, “The Aeronauts” (Amazon – Dec. 6)

Matthew Rhys, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” (Sony – November 22)

Mark Ruffalo, “Dry Run” (Focus Features – Fall)

Will Smith, “Gemini Man” (Paramount – October 11)

SEE 2020 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

Strong Contenders 

Hugh Bonneville, “Downton Abbey” (Focus – September 20)

Timothee Chalamet, “Little Women” (Sony – December 25)

Willem Dafoe, “The Last Thing He Wanted” (Netflix – Fall)

Adam Driver, “Marriage Story” (Netflix – Fall)

Taron Egerton, “Rocketman” (Paramount – May 31)

Ansel Elgort, “The Goldfinch” (Warner Bros. – October 11)

Daniel Kaluuya, “Queen & Slim” (Universal – November 27)

Eddie Murphy, “Dolemite Is My Name” (Netflix – Fall)

Edward Norton, “Motherless Brooklyn” (Warner Bros. – November 1)

Dev Patel, “The Personal History of David Copperfield” (Film 4 – Fall)

Brad Pitt, “Ad Astra” (20th Century Fox – May 24)

Jonathan Pryce, “The Two Popes” (Netflix – Fall)

SEE 2020 Oscar Predictions: Best Director

Possible Contenders

Jamie Bell, “Skin” (A24 – July 26)

Timothee Chalamet, “The King” (Netflix – Fall)

Dean-Charles Chapman, “1917” (Universal – December 25)

Daniel Craig, “Knives Out” (Lionsgate – November 27)

Willem Dafoe, “The Lighthouse” (A24 – Oct. 18)

Adam Driver, “The Report” (Amazon – Fall)

Winston Duke, “Us” (Universal – March 22)

Nicholas Hoult, “Tolkien” (Fox Searchlight – May 10)

Robert Pattinson, “The Lighthouse” (A24 – Oct. 18)

Sam Rockwell, “The Best of Enemies” (STX – April 5)

Adam Sandler, “Uncut Gems” (A24 – Dec. 13)

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Click on the linked categories below to read our previews of each of these races.

Best Picture | Best Director

Best Actor | Best Actress | Best Supporting Actor | Best Supporting Actress

Best Adapted Screenplay | Best Original Screenplay

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