The two Best Actor categories this year both have good narratives to them. They are arguably the most exciting, as it is difficult to see exactly who is on top.
Best Actor – Drama
Daniel Day-Lewis – Phantom Thread
Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour
Tom Hanks – The Post
Denzel Washington – Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Timothee Chalamet – Call Me by Your Name
Will Win: Gary Oldman
Could Win: Daniel Day-Lewis
Dark Horse: Timothee Chalamet
Arguably, anyone could win in this category, save for Denzel Washington. Roman J. Israel, Esq. just didn’t rise to the surface of the award season conversation. In fact, it is surprising to see him squeeze into the top five at all. In my predictions, I had Jake Gyllenhaal rounding out the list for Stronger.
Regardless, this category isn’t as locked-in as it may appear. Since the first trailer dropped for Darkest Hour what feels like years ago, they have been trying to sell the film as Gary Oldman’s Oscar-winning performance (surprisingly, he has yet to win one and has only been nominated on one prior occasion).
But not so fast. This year marks what is supposed to be Daniel Day-Lewis’ final outing as an actor in Phantom Thread. Whether, over time, this proves to be true or not, Hollywood may be ready to give this man a curtain call by way of award (Oscar) after award (SAG award) after award (Golden Globe).
But wait! You hear of this kid Chalamet? He’s becoming a pretty big deal fast. He may be too wet behind the ears for the big game, but his performance in Call Me by Your Name is supposed to be a knockout.
Oh yeah…Tom Hanks is clanking around at the bottom of this acting bag, as well. Can you ever really count him out?
Best Actor – Comedy or Musical
Ansel Elgort – Baby Driver
Hugh Jackman – The Greatest Showman
Steve Carell – Battle of the Sexes
Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out
James Franco – The Disaster Artist
Will Win: James Franco
Could Win: Daniel Kaluuya
Should Win: Daniel Kaluuya
The “Musical or Comedy” category, for lack of a better term, is an interesting conversation this year. The Disaster Artist has seen its stock sky-rocket over the last few weeks given its recent wide release. The film revolves around Franco’s transfixing performance as the enigmatic Tommy Wiseau. Without his performance, the film would not work. Naturally, then, he has become a front-runner in this category.
Conversely, the lack of adequate recognition for Get Out is not a good sign for Daniel Kaluuya, who thankfully received a nomination here. Interestingly, The Greatest Showman has received more HFPA recognition than most expected (for perspective: Showman has three Golden Globe nominations, Get Out only has two). Does this mean that Hugh Jackman has just as good, if not a better, shot at the award than Kaluuya?
I wouldn’t go that far, but The Greatest Showman is the type of narrative that Hollywood responds to. A glossy showbiz musical about white people reaching starry-eyed for their dreams of stardom. Remember La La Land?
Wishful thinking gives this award to Kaluuya. Play-it-safe thinking tosses it over to Franco. The part of my mind that envisions a crazy unlikely scenario in which The Greatest Showman becomes an Oscar front-runner: the Jack man takes it here.
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—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)