2022 Oscar Predictions: Best Actor

Almost all of the Best Actor winners at this century’s 21 Academy Awards ceremonies have ticked at least one of these two boxes: they were over 40 or portraying a real-life fellow. The only exceptions: Russell Crowe (“Gladiator”) and Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”). Last year, Anthony Hopkins became the oldest Best Actor winner ever at age 83 when he prevailed for “The Father.”  At the 2020 Oscars, Joaquin Phoenix was 45 when he picked up the Best Actor Oscar for “Joker.” The previous year saw 37-year-old Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) win for his riveting portrayal of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. (Scroll down for the most up-to-date 2022 Oscar predictions for Best Actor.)

Of the 10 most recent Best Actor winners at the Oscars, Malek and six others won for taking on real-life roles: 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).

Who will win Best Actor at the 2022 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

Please note: To read full descriptions of each film, check out our 2022 Oscar Best Picture predictions.

UPDATED: January 21, 2022

Leading Contenders  (ranked by likelihood of winning)
Will Smith “King Richard”
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Power of the Dog”
Denzel Washington, “The Tragedy of Macbeth”
Andrew Garfield, “tick, tick … BOOM!”
Javier Bardem, “Being the Ricardos”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Don’t Look Up”

Strong Contenders
Clifton Collins, Jr., “Jockey”
Bradley Cooper, “Nightmare Alley”
Nicolas Cage, “Pig”
Peter Dinklage, “Cyrano”
Adam Driver, “House of Gucci”
Joaquin Phoenix, “C’mon C’mon”

Possible Contenders
Riz Ahmed, “Encounter”
Mahershala Ali, “Swan Song”
Jude Hill, “Belfast”
Hidetoshi Nishijima, “Drive My Car”
Simon Rex, “Red Rocket”

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