Best Actor, one of the most competitive categories of the season, is taking some shape as three contenders have secured Critics Choice, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations but that means there are two spots that are pretty fluid right now and could go many ways.
Right now, Adam Driver (Marriage Story), Joaquin Phoenix (Joker) and Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) have all secured the first three precursors. Driver is the critics’ favorite so far, with 15 wins to Phoenix’s four. DiCaprio has no critics wins so far and although he’s in a top 3 Best Picture contender, he may be more vulnerable than most expect.
The big story of the moment is the huge surge by Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari). When Bale chose to go lead (alongside co-star Matt Damon) instead of category fraud himself into supporting, most applauded the integrity of the choice but it also seemed like a rough road ahead, even playing a real-life person in a box office hit. Turns out, it wasn’t. Bale secured a Globe and SAG nod and he’ll probably get BAFTA too. That vaults him over most of his competition and puts him in good spot, for now.
Interestingly enough, Taron Egerton (Rocketman) also has GG and SAG, is playing a real-life person and in a blockbuster hit and will probably land a BAFTA nom. So why is he out and Bale in? Surely, playing Elton John holds more cache than playing Ken Miles. Besides the obvious that Egerton is a newcomer and Bale is not only a previous winner but was just nominated last season, Ford v Ferrari is going to be the stronger film. With likely nods in film editing and the sound categories but, more importantly, a good shot at a Best Picture nomination, Ford v Ferrari is in the pole position there. Could there be a Rocketman surge come Oscar nomination morning? Definitely. It’s landed guild nominations with Cinema Audio Society, Motion Picture Sound Editors, Makeup & Hairstyling and Costume Designers. That’s a good haul so far but there aren’t many people seeing Rocketman being a BP contender, myself included.
Below that is the mystery of The Irishman‘s Robert De Niro only securing a Critics’ Choice nod and nothing else. He’s been heavily overshadowed by his supporting co-stars who are getting in everywhere. The Irishman would have to perform at the Oscars like it did with Critics’ Choice for him to get in (which it very well could). Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes) grabbed a Globe nod but that’s it so far (he could be good for BAFTA though) and Eddie Murphy (Dolemite Is My Name) has CCA and GG, mostly benefiting from multiple categories or nominees at both places. What do all three of them have in common? They’re all from Netflix, who already has the Best Actor frontrunner in Adam Driver.
Here are my 2020 Oscar Nomination Predictions in Best Actor for December 19, 2019.
Green – moves up Red – moves down Blue – new/re-entry
1. Adam Driver – Marriage Story (Netflix) – CCA, GG, SAG
2. Joaquin Phoenix – Joker (Warner Bros) – CCA, GG, SAG
3. Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia) – CCA, GG, SAG
4. Antonio Banderas – Pain and Glory (Sony Classics) – CCA, GG
5. Christian Bale – Ford v Ferrari (20th Century Fox) – GG, SAG
NEXT UP (alphabetical by actor)
Robert De Niro – The Irishman (Netflix) – CCA
Taron Egerton – Rocketman (Paramount) – GG, SAG
Eddie Murphy – Dolemite Is My Name (Netflix) – CCA, GG
Jonathan Pryce – The Two Popes (Netflix) – GG
Adam Sandler – Uncut Gems (A24) – CCA
OTHER CONTENDERS (alphabetical by actor)
Michael B. Jordan – Just Mercy (Warner Bros)
George McKay – 1917 (Universal)
Mark Ruffalo – Dark Waters (Focus Features)