Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born) maintains his #1 status and right now still looks like the one to beat in Best Actor. I think the question for many people is how many Oscars can Cooper take home in one night? He could be personally nominated for five awards and I feel like the industry likes him the way they liked George Clooney a decade ago. While some think A Star Is Born is the frontrunner for Best Picture, I’m not there yet. It’s up there but it’s a more open year than people want to give it credit for. It’s probably one of the main reasons I’m sticking with Cooper here as an easier win. No one has ever directed themselves into a Best Actor, Best Director and Best Picture win in the same year. Sir Laurence Olivier got close. So did Roberto Benigni. I suppose there’s a first time for everything, especially at the Oscars, but it’s only October. Let’s see where we are in a few months before giving up on a race.
Christian Bale sneaks back up after a small tumble last month. The release of the first trailer for Vice was a doozy but is Bale doing transformative almost old hat now? And with no festival run? Plus, didn’t we just see a Best Actor win for playing a tubby tyrant?
Viggo Mortensen makes a small but important move this month. After going from #10 to #5 in September, he enters the top 3 for the first time on the strength of Green Book overall. The film just won another Audience Award and seems destined to be one of the biggest hits of the Thanksgiving holiday. Plus, Mortensen managed a Best Actor nomination for a film few people even saw (Captain Fantastic) just two years ago so this is a no-brainer.
John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman) stays put at #4 but Lucas Hedges dances very precariously at #5, his lowest point on the chart so far. While his film, Boy Erased, has gotten good festival audience word of mouth, its critical response is held at a 69 on Metacritic. He’ll also be competing directly with himself as Lionsgate is pushing him in lead for Ben is Back. When compared to others in the top 10, and with his inability to campaign due to performing in a play all awards season, he could find himself outside very soon.
Yes, I still have Ryan Gosling outside the top 5. Sue me. I felt this was a strong possibility for months and that even if the critics were behind the film that audiences wouldn’t be and I was right. First Man bombed in its opening weekend and whether you chalk that up to lack of audience interest, poor release date or the bogus flag controversy (or all of the above) it doesn’t matter because the film simply didn’t perform. I still think it will be a technical nomination getter and even win some but it will probably begin and end there, giving me shades of Gosling other October failure, Blade Runner 2049 last year.
Ethan Hawke (First Reformed) just got a Gotham nomination and I think he might be able to fight his way through the chart very soon. He’ll definitely get an Independent Spirit nomination and I think if he wins a few critics awards along the way it could keep him and his film in the spotlight long enough to get his third Oscar nominations.
Steve Carell (Beautiful Boy) drops a bit this month, as does Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody. As if that film wasn’t under the microscope enough, another exposé on its director, Bryan Singer, is due from Esquire and is going to keep the film mired in controversy. That coupled with early response of the films’ basic biopic nature doesn’t help Malek at all.
Robert Redford (The Old Man & the Gun) and Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate) both fall out of the top 10 and Hugh Jackman (The Front Runner) lands all the way down into the Other Contenders section now.
Two major chart debuts this month come in the form of If Beale Street Could Talk‘s Stephan James, who Annapurna has decided to run in lead and Oscar winner Clint Eastwood for his new film The Mule.
Here are my 2019 Oscar predictions in Best Actor for October 18, 2018.
Green – moves up; Red – moves down; Blue – chart debut
1. Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born (Warner Bros)
2. Christian Bale – Vice (Annapurna)
3. Viggo Mortensen – Green Book (Universal)
4. John David Washington – BlacKkKlansman (Focus Features)
5. Lucas Hedges – Boy Erased (Focus Features)
6. Ryan Gosling – First Man (Universal)
7. Stephan James – If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna)
8. Steve Carell – Beautiful Boy (Amazon)
9. Ethan Hawke – First Reformed (A24)
10. Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody (20th Century Fox)
Chadwick Boseman – Black Panther (Disney)
Willem Dafoe – At Eternity’s Gate (CBS Films)
Clint Eastwood – The Mule (Warner Bros)
Robert Redford – The Old Man & the Gun (Fox Searchlight)
John C. Reilly – Stan and Ollie (Sony Classics)
Steve Carell – Welcome to Marwen (Universal)
John Cho – Searching (Screen Gems)
Ben Foster – Leave No Trace (Bleecker Street)
Hugh Jackman – The Front Runner (Sony)
Michael B. Jordan – Creed II (Warner Bros)
Tim Blake Nelson – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Netflix)
Joaquin Phoenix – You Were Never Really Here (Amazon)
Jonathan Pryce – The Wife (Sony Classics)