Sat. Jul 11th, 2020

2020 Oscar Nomination Predictions: BEST ACTOR (July)

Adam Driver with Scarlett Johansson in Marriage Story (photo: Netflix)

While I’m sticking with Jonathan Pryce in Fernando Meirelles’s The Pope from Netflix as my top Best Actor choice, I’m feeling better and better about Adam Driver in the Untitled Noah Baumbach (possibly titled Marriage Story and also from Netflix) and the rise of Antonio Banderas for his Cannes-winning role in Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain and Glory from Sony Classics.

Doing this predictions ahead of the announcement of the lineup of the Venice Film Festival next week (July 23) is necessary but that lineup could, and likely will, heavily impact what next month looks like. There’s an obvious symbiosis to something like The Pope having its world premiere there and Venice is what brought our first looks at last season’s Best Actress winner Olivia Colman (The Favourite) and Best Actor nominee Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate), both of whom won the Volpi Cup on the Lido. If The Pope doesn’t show up here I’ll likely end up bumping Pryce down.

Even though Netflix is holding its cards very close to its vest – we don’t have any official release dates of any of their fall or winter films – I’m still bullish on Adam Driver. After earning his first Oscar nomination last season, Supporting Actor for BlacKkKlansman, Driver is prime for an afterglow nom and for what word of mouth is saying is Baumbach’s best, and definitely most personal, film. Those bumps up push two-time Academy Award winner Robert De Niro (The Irishman) down a bit but he’s far from out.

Two more moves up (back up in one case) are Michael B. Jordan in Just Mercy (which just moved to a limited release on Christmas Day) and Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne in Aeronauts. Jordan is looking for his first nomination after probably bubbling under in supporting actor for Black Panther last season and is building a career of award-worthy performances in films like Creed and Fruitvale Station. It doesn’t hurt that director Destin Daniel Cretton’s second film, Short Term 12, has spawned two future acting Oscar winners in Brie Larson (Best Actress, Room) and Rami Malek (Best Actor, Bohemian Rhapsody). Playing real-life civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson could be his ticket. For Redmayne, the word of mouth on Tom Harper’s Aeronauts (or The Aeronauts) is getting louder and louder and that could be a return for the Theory of Everything Oscar-winner and possibly joining his co-star Felicity Jones in the process.

Ben Affleck joins the chart for Long Time Coming (formerly Torrance) for Warner Bros. in a bought for a comeback after marriage woes and drug and alcohol problems (as well as dumping the Batman franchise). We’ll see how that turns out. Sterling K. Brown and Lucas Hedges (A24’s Waves) pop up as newbies but as part of the new Lead or Supporting? conundrum that predictions this early always bring us. Jack O’Connell (Against All Enemies) and Tim Roth (Luce) also join the chart.

Taron Egerton (Paramount’s Rocketman) drops down into Other Contenders as his star is not likely going to be able to shine as bright through the rest of the year to remain a top contender. He’s still a solid bet for a Golden Globe nomination, and maybe even a win. If that happens, he’s back in the race. Brad Pitt also drops (for Sony/Columbia’s Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood) but that’s more because I feel that Sony will position him in supporting to make way for Leonardo DiCaprio’s lead campaign.

Here are my 2020 Oscar Nomination Predictions in Best Actor for July 18, 2019.

Green – moves up Red – moves down Blue – new/re-entry

1. Jonathan Pryce – The Pope (Netflix)
2. Adam Driver – Untitled Noah Baumbach aka Marriage Story (Netflix)
3. Antonio Banderas – Pain and Glory (Sony Classics)
4. Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia)
5. Robert De Niro – The Irishman (Netflix)

NEXT UP (alphabetical)

Matt Damon – Ford v Ferrari (20th Century Fox)
Michael B. Jordan – Just Mercy (Warner Bros)
Eddie Murphy – Dolemite Is My Name (Netflix)
Eddie Redmayne – Aeronauts (Amazon)
Matthew Rhys – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Sony/Columbia)

OTHER CONTENDERS (alphabetical)

Ben Affleck – Long Time Coming (Warner Bros)
Christian Bale – Ford v Ferrari (20th Century Fox)
Sterling K. Brown – Waves (A24)
Timothée Chalamet – The King (Netflix)
Taron Egerton – Rocketman (Paramount)
Lucas Hedges – Waves (A24)
Hugh Jackman – Bad Education (TBD)
Daniel Kaluuya – Queen & Slim (Universal)
Ian McKellen – The Good Liar (Warner Bros)
Edward Norton – Motherless Brooklyn (Warner Bros)
Jack O’Connell – Against All Enemies (Amazon)
Dev Patel – The Personal History of David Copperfield (TBD)
Robert Pattinson – The Lighthouse (A24)
Joaquin Phoenix – Joker (Warner Bros)
Brad Pitt – Ad Astra (20th Century Fox)
Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia)
Tim Roth – Luce (Neon)
Mark Ruffalo – Untitled Todd Haynes aka Dry Run (Focus Features)
Adams Sandler – Uncut Gems (A24)


Christian Bale – Ford v Ferrari (20th Century Fox)
Sterling K. Brown – Waves (A24)
Willem Dafoe – The Lighthouse (A24)
Matt Damon – Ford v Ferrari (20th Century Fox)
Tom Hanks – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Sony/Columbia)
Lucas Hedges – Waves (A24)
Anthony Hopkins – The Pope (Netflix)
Robert Pattinson – The Lighthouse (A24)
Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia)
Matthew Rhys – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Sony/Columbia)

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