Even more up in the air than Best Actress, Best Actor has what appears to be a pretty ‘locked’ in four with Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal), Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Anthony Hopkins (The Father) and Gary Oldman (Mank). Each has hit the main precursors plus the BAFTA longlist, which is the piece of the puzzle that either helps solidify the list or throws it into chaos.
For just below that list are four actors that have earned two or three of the four of those. Steven Yeun (Minari) has SAG, the BAFTA longlist and BFCA nominations; Tahar Rahim (The Mauritanian) has GG and the BAFTA longlist; two-time Best Actor winner Tom Hanks (News of the World) and Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods) both have BFCA and the BAFTA longlist mentions.
For all but Hanks, they’d be first-time nominees aiming to best a two-time winner, not an easy feat. News of the World could end up being a big player come nomination morning. For Lindo, he started out with a strong critics run but after missing Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations, his path gets smaller. Tahar Rahim is making a late-breaking shot and his film did phenomenally well with the BAFTA longlists. He’d have to make it in there to push himself ahead. Then there’s Steven Yeun. Minari did even better with the BAFTA longlists but more importantly his SAG nomination and the nomination for the film’s cast make him the favorite to earn a spot in the top 5. That he would be the first ever Asian-American Best Actor nominee in the Academy’s 93-year history, and after the backlash of the Golden Globes’ placement of Minari in Foreign Film only, Yeun is extremely well-positioned in a film that will likely do better than both Da 5 Bloods and The Mauritanian on Oscar nomination morning.
Longer shots like Kingsley Ben-Adir (One Night in Miami), Mads Mikkelsen (Another Round), Ben Affleck (The Way Back), LaKeith Stanfield (Judas and the Black Messiah) and John David Washington (Malcolm & Marie) would have to overcome some big odds to jump into the top 5 but it’s certainly not impossible. I’m keeping a close eye on Adarsh Gourav in The White Tiger as his film just earned a Writers Guild nomination over stiff competition and also performed well with the BAFTA longlists. We’ll see how things look once nominations come out.
The Golden Globe Awards are February 28, Critics’ Choice Awards are March 7, BAFTA nominations come out March 9, Oscar nominations drop March 15 and the Screen Actors Guild Awards are April 4.
Here are my ranked 2021 Oscar predictions in Best Actor for February.
Green – moves up ↑; Red – moves down ↓; Blue – new entry this month +; Black – no change ↔
1. Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom ↔ (Netflix) – GG, SAG, BAFTA longlist, BFCA
2. Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal ↔ (Amazon Studios) – GG, SAG, BAFTA longlist, BFCA
3. Anthony Hopkins – The Father ↑ (Sony Pictures Classics) – GG, SAG, BAFTA longlist, BFCA
4. Steven Yeun – Minari ↑ (A24) – SAG, BAFTA longlist, BFCA
5. Gary Oldman – Mank ↔ (Netflix) – GG, SAG, BAFTA longlist, BFCA
6. Delroy Lindo – Da 5 Bloods ↓ (Netflix) – BAFTA longlist
7. Tom Hanks – News of the World ↔ (Universal Pictures) – BAFTA longlist
8. Tahar Rahim – The Mauritanian ↑ (STX Films) – GG, BAFTA longlist
9. Kingsley Ben-Adir – One Night in Miami… ↔ (Amazon Studios) – BAFTA longlist
10. Adarsh Gourav – The White Tiger ↑ (Netflix) – BAFTA longlist
Other Contenders: Ben Affleck – The Way Back ↓ (Warner Bros), George Clooney – The Midnight Sky ↔ (Netflix), Colin Firth – Supernova (Bleecker Street), Tom Holland – Cherry ↔ (Apple TV+), Mads Mikkelsen – Another Round ↔ (Samuel Goldwyn Mayer) – BAFTA longlist, Dev Patel – The Personal History of David Copperfield ↔ (Searchlight Pictures) – GG, LaKeith Stanfield – Judas and the Black Messiah ↓ (Warner Bros) – BAFTA longlist, John David Washington – Malcolm & Marie ↔ (Netflix) – BAFTA longlist