Oscar Breakdown: Best Actor
As the night of the 91st Academy Awards approaches, it’s time to evaluate this year’s list of nominees in the Best Actor Category. To determine who is my odds-on prediction to win one of the highest honors of the night, I am taking in to consideration each actor’s performance, history with the Oscars, and public opinion. So here we go…
I will be ranking my prediction from this year’s least likely winner to my final prediction to win the Oscar.
Willem Dafoe for At Eternity’s Gate
Total Nominations: 4, Total Wins: 0
At Eternity’s Gate flew under the radar as Oscars season approached and I can think of a few more performances that I would have recognized before Willem Dafoe’s portrayal of Vincent van Gogh (cough…Ethan Hawke…cough…First Reformed…. cough). However, that is not to say that Dafoe didn’t deliver an astonishing performance in this quietly released biopic. Although Willem Dafoe currently has 4 Oscar nominations without a win, I do not expect him to win the award this year.
Viggo Mortensen for Green Book
Total Nominations: 3, Total Wins: 0
I often forget just how many great films Viggo Mortensen has starred in (No, I am not a fan of The Lord of the Rings trilogy). Having played a myriad of characters throughout his career, his performance as Tony Vallelonga in the comedy-drama Green Book is a career highlight. While I do think that Green Brook is a major contender for Best Picture, The Best Actor category is one of the toughest ones to call this year and despite a brilliant performance, I don’t expect Mortensen to win the award.
Bradley Cooper for A Star Is Born
Total Nominations: 4, Total Wins: 0
Ever since watching his performance in what is now one of my all-time favorite films, Silver Linings Playbook, Bradley Cooper has remained one of my favorite actors in Hollywood. And Cooper’s incredible attention to detail in every aspect of A Star Is Born is a testament to his credibility as an Actor, Director, Producer, Writer, and yes…Singer. Bradley Cooper went full force into his characterization of Jackson Maine, delivering a completely different style of acting than I’ve ever seen him do. While I would never rule out the possibility of Cooper taking home the Oscar for Best Actor, the stiff competition this year may have him beat.
Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody
Total Nominations: 1 (First Nomination), Total Wins: 0
Malek had a huge shadow over his shoulder as he portrayed one of the most iconic figures in music and it’s clear to a majority of those who watched his performance as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody that Malek got the job done. Having won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama in January, Rami Malek is now the clear front runner to take home the Oscar. But that can certainly change before awards night. With the controversy surrounding Bohemian Rhapsody’s original director Bryan Singer and the sexual assault allegations against him, the focus of the film has leaned more towards Singer's horrible actions rather than Malek's brilliant performance. We all know how upset audiences got when Bohemian Rhapsody took home the Golden Globe award for Best Motion Picture – Drama. Perhaps The Academy might want to avoid another controversy this year?
Christian Bale for Vice
Total Nominations: 4, Total Wins: 1 (The Fighter in 2011)
Chameleon. I can’t think of another actor working today who changes his appearance so drastically in order to commit to a performance as much as Christian Bale. And in the biographical dramedy Vice, Christian Bale didn’t just play former Vice President Dick Cheney, he BECAME Dick Cheney but still stayed true to his conviction as an actor. Christian Bale won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy this year and the Oscars love to reward biographical films. At this point, it is a big tossup between Christian Bale and Rami Malek but taking in to account the history of the Oscars, the critics, and the overall performances, I am leaning slightly more toward Christian Bale for Vice.
The 91st Academy Awards will take place on February 24th at 8:00 PM EST (5:00 PM PST), airing live on ABC.