Wed. Nov 13th, 2019

2020 Oscar Nomination Predictions: BEST ACTOR (October)

ROCKETMAN (Paramount Pictures)

The top 10 in Best Actor this month remains the same as last month and the top 5 with just a small tweak in placement. Don’t mistake that as me thinking this is an easy or locked up category, quite the opposite. There are solid cases for most of the lower 10 to be nominated.

I’m sticking with Adam Driver in Marriage Story at #1 and unless he loses industry and televised awards in January he’ll stay there. Jonathan Pryce, a former #1 here, ekes back up for The Two Popes, which has grabbed a handful of film festival audience awards this week. They’ll both compete directly with Eddie Murphy in Dolemite Is My Name (in his career comeback) The Irishman‘s Robert De Niro for Netflix’s affections and FYC campaigns. It’s crazy to think that De Niro won’t be able to make it in but as I mentioned in Supporting Actor, it doesn’t always work out for Scorsese leads even if his film is an Oscar player (The Departed, Goodfellas, The Age of Innocence). His understated performance in the sprawling gangster epic, to me, feels ripe for a miss.

But then, Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood doesn’t feel as locked anymore either. Other, stronger contenders have emerged. He’ll compete against Brad Pitt for votes even if Pitt is campaigned in supporting. Joaquin Phoenix is still a contender for the massive blockbuster that is Joker but I think those marking him for a win will be in for a surprise.

Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory) should be able to earn his first Oscar nomination but the actor is currently wrapped in directing a theater production of A Chorus Line in his brand new theater in Malaga, Spain and might not have as many opportunities in front of voters as other actors will make the time for. That’s good news for someone like Taron Egerton, whose Rocketman was a summer hit and who is already working the circuit. He’ll likely secure SAG and Golden Globe nominations (and probably BAFTA) and that will position him well. Or it will make him the nominee that hits all the precursors but misses out in the end as we’ve seen many times before (especially with non-American contenders).

New this month is George McKay from 1917. It’s a huge, uphill battle for him as a largely unknown presence in a war ensemble film but I hear he’s great in it so a spot on the list is warranted. Then there’s Paul Walter Hauser for Richard Jewell from Clint Eastwood. The scene stealing character actor from I, Tonya is in his first major lead role here and Warner Bros is positioning the film as an awards player so this could be his ticket.

Here are my 2020 Oscar Nomination Predictions in Best Actor for October 17, 2019.

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

1. Adam Driver – Marriage Story (Netflix)
2. Jonathan Pryce – The Two Popes (Netflix)
3. Joaquin Phoenix – Joker (Warner Bros)
4. Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia)
5. Antonio Banderas – Pain and Glory (Sony Classics)

NEXT UP (alphabetical by actor)

Taron Egerton – Rocketman (Paramount)
Robert De Niro – The Irishman (Netflix)
Michael B. Jordan – Just Mercy (Warner Bros)
Eddie Murphy – Dolemite Is My Name (Netflix)
Mark Ruffalo – Dark Waters (Focus Features)

WATCH OUT FOR (alphabetical by actor)

Paul Walter Hauser – Richard Jewell (Warner Bros)
Edward Norton – Motherless Brooklyn (Warner Bros)
Eddie Redmayne – The Aeronauts (Amazon)
Matthew Rhys – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Sony/TriStar)
Adam Sandler – Uncut Gems (A24)

OTHER CONTENDERS (alphabetical by actor)

Timothée Chalamet – The King (Netflix)
Matt Damon – Ford v Ferrari (20th Century Fox)
Daniel Kaluuya – Queen & Slim (Universal)
George McKay – 1917 (Universal)
Robert Pattinson – The Lighthouse (A24)
Brad Pitt – Ad Astra (20th Century Fox)

LEAD OR SUPPORTING?

Christian Bale – Ford v Ferrari (20th Century Fox)
Matt Damon – Ford v Ferrari (20th Century Fox)
Anthony Hopkins – The Two Popes (Netflix)

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