Sometimes an actor can knock a single performance out of the park so definitively that an Oscar nomination or even a win can seem inevitable. Sometimes merely the role and the casting can do that (see Anne Hathaway and Gary Oldman).
But sometimes even seasoned veterans can use the boost of having more than one performance either in contention (hopefully in a different category) in their awards prospects. In 2011, Jessica Chastain had burst onto the scene and had no less than three heralded performances – The Tree of Life, Take Shelter and The Help. She ended up winning several critics awards in Breakthrough categories for that collective trio (and also some adding Corialanus) but it was the huge box office success and visibility of The Help that allowed the Academy to look at her body of work that year and find the place (and film) to best reward her. She earned her first Oscar nomination, in Supporting Actress, for The Help.
This year has an absolute overflow of actors with two, sometimes three films that could all help their chances this awards season…or, possibly hinder them if voters can’t make up their minds where to cast their votes.
Nicole Kidman has not one, but two films that put her in contention and in different categories. The opposite ends of the spectrum performances she gives in Boy Erased (supporting) and Destroyer (lead) can only offer voters that even already admire her a great look into her range. To top that off she’ll also appear in Aquaman, a surefire box office hit. Her Boy Erased co-star Lucas Hedges will also give voters a taste of his range with his lead performance as a closeted teen sent to a gay conversion camp and his supporting roles as a drug addict in Ben is Back and a bully in Mid90s.
Cynthia Erivo is an Emmy, Grammy and Tony winner looking to finish her EGOT with an Oscar. She has two chances with one of her first two films; Bad Times at the El Royale, which opens this month and Widows, which opens in November. This is a tough one as both roles might be a bit too slight for the Academy (especially Widows) but she’s getting the best notices of the cast of El Royale so I’d say put your money there if you’re gambling.
John David Washington burst onto the scene as the lead in Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman and followed it up with supporting performances in The Old Man & the Gun and Monsters and Men. He’s also known for his role on HBO’s Ballers. He may be Denzel’s son but he’s carved his own path this year.
Claire Foy just won an Emmy for playing the Queen in The Crown and this year has a trio of film offering a wide diversity. Earlier this year she had Steven Soderbergh’s iPhone thriller Unsane, this month she has the classic supporting wife role in Damien Chazelle’s moon landing drama First Man and then later in the fall she takes over as the new Lisbeth Salander in The Girl in the Spider’s Web.
Steve Carell will go up against himself for Best Actor contention in Beautiful Boy and Welcome to Marwen but it seems that the former is more likely to be his main push. He also has a supporting role in Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic Vice, as Donald Rumsfeld. Rumor is his role and performance is comic fire. A double nomination, perhaps?
Melissa McCarthy could be looking at her second nomination in the upcoming Can You Ever Forgive Me? but her other two critical and box office flops this year (The Happytime Murders and Life of the Party) could taint that chance a bit.
Black Panther co-stars Michael B. Jordan and Daniel Kaluuya could battle head to head in Supporting Actor – Jordan for BP, Kaluuya for Widows – but Jordan also has the Creed sequel in November to help boost his chances.
Sometimes you’ll have a great performance hobbled by being preceded by some very poorly received ones (I’m looking at you, Melissa McCarthy). Think about Eddie Murphy for Dreamgirls. He won the Golden Globe, Critics Choice and Screen Actors Guild award – all of which should have made him a lock. Then Norbit was released right as Oscar voting was taking place. The dismally reviewed film earned a Makeup nomination but many still think it was that film that (partially) sank Murphy’s own Oscar chances. He lost to Alan Arkin in Little Miss Sunshine that year.
Stay updated with 2019 Oscar Predictions starting right here
Here’s a list of actors with multiple performances in 2018 that could increase their chances at awards glory.
Emily Blunt – Mary Poppins Returns, A Quiet Place
Steve Carell – Beautiful Boy, Vice, Welcome to Marwen
Timothée Chalamet – Beautiful Boy, Hot Summer Nights
Toni Collette – Hearts Beat Loud, Hereditary
Cynthia Erivo – Bad Times at the El Royale, Widows
Claire Foy – First Man, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, Unsane
Jake Gyllenhaal – The Sisters Brothers, Wildlife
Armie Hammer – On the Basis of Sex, Sorry to Bother You
Lucas Hedges – Ben Is Back, Boy Erased, Mid 90s
Oscar Isaac – At Eternity’s Gate, Life Itself, Operation Finale
Michael B. Jordan – Black Panther, Creed II
Daniel Kaluuya – Black Panther, Widows
Nicole Kidman – Aquaman, Boy Erased, Destroyer
Rachel McAdams – Disobedience, Game Night
Melissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me?, The Happytime Murders, Life of the Party
Joaquin Phoenix – Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far on Foot, The Sisters Brothers, You Were Never Really Here
John C. Reilly – The Sisters Brothers, Stan & Ollie
Saoirse Ronan – Mary Queen of Scots, On Chesil Beach, The Seagull
John David Washington – BlacKkKlansman, Monsters and Men, The Old Man & the Gun
Rachel Weisz – Disobedience, The Favourite