Just as it did in the Best Picture predictions, The Theory of Everything steamrolls into Best Actor with Eddie Redmayne rocketing past Steve Carell to land at the #3 spot this month. Redmayne has been at every event, every screening, every red carpet available to promote his film and has become an undeniable contender in this race. Michael Keaton, whose Birdman has opened to strong reviews and very good limited release box office, remains at #1 but is stagnant in doing so. The Intimidation Game‘s Benedict Cumberbatch is a comfortable #2 again but inching ever so close to Keaton.
Steve Carell (Foxcatcher) and David Oyelowo (Selma) take big hits this month with the latter falling out of the top 5. In doing so, he makes room for Bradley Cooper in American Sniper. This last minute release from Clint Eastwood (who knows a little bit about last minute releases performing strong: Million Dollar Baby) seems to be a good decision as Cooper hits the top 5 for the first time. It should be noted that should Cooper make it in at the expense of Carell or Oyelowo (or any of the other top contenders in this category) it will maintain an 80-year statistic of a former nominee (or winner) always making it into Best Actor. You have to go all the way back to 1934 to find the last time Best Actor was populated entirely by first time nominees. A strong argument indeed, but rules and stats are always there to be broken.
Currently, Kenneth and myself have dropped Carell (and keep Oyelowo) while everyone save Alexander, Evan and myself have Bradley Cooper making it in and keeping that statistic going. And again, I am the sole support for Jack O’Connell, which is predicated on my belief that Unbroken is the film to beat and that O’Connell’s role and performance will be indisputable as a result.
But what about the outliers? Over at the Gurus of Gold you’ll see lots of support for Cannes Best Actor winner Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner), who sits in their #5 slot. In another year he’d seem like a lock, but not this one, not to us anyway. With a new poster, two new trailers and a prime spot at AFI Fest, Oscar Isaac in A Most Violent Year stands a chance at a nod. Then there’s reigning champ Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar. Word seems a bit mixed on that although he did have some support a few weeks ago that has now fizzled out.