Hot off his Best Actor Oscar win for 2019’s Joker and having to awkwardly close out this year’s Oscar’s when the show’s producers thought it would be a good idea to have him hand out this year’s Best Actor trophy, Joaquin Phoenix is back and in a role as opposite the Joker as can be.
In A24’s C’mon C’mon from Oscar-nominated writer/director Mike Mills (20th Century Women), Phoenix plays a kindhearted radio journalist deep into a project in which he interviews children across the U.S. about our world’s uncertain future. His sister, Viv (Emmy nominee Gaby Hoffmann), asks him to watch her 8-year-old son, Jesse (newcomer Woody Norman), while she tends to the child’s father, who’s suffering from mental health issues. After agreeing, Johnny finds himself connecting with his nephew in ways he hadn’t expected, ultimately taking Jesse with him on a journey from Los Angeles to New York to New Orleans.
A24 kept the film close to its vest until the announcement that it will be in the Spotlight section of this year’s New York Film Festival and we also know that, based on its premiere status, it will have its world premiere at Telluride, a fantastic jumping off point for an awards campaign.
But he’ll face very formidable competition from other previous winners as well as a few contenders who are hoping for their first nomination. Phoenix is well known for not being a big campaigner, which didn’t hurt him for Joker as the film was a billion dollar hit and racked up 11 Oscar nominations, the most for a 2019 film. C’mon C’mon obviously won’t get numbers like that and A24 also has The Humans (with previous nominees Steven Yeun and Richard Jenkins) as well as The Tragedy of Macbeth (in partnership with Apple) with two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington, which will also hit NYFF.
Here are my ranked Best Actor Oscar predictions for August 2021.
Green – moves up ↑ Red – moves down ↓ Blue – new/re-entry ♦ Black – no movement ↔
1. Denzel Washington – The Tragedy of Macbeth (A24/Apple) ↔
2. Will Smith – King Richard (Warner Bros/HBO Max) ↔
3. Benedict Cumberbatch – The Power of the Dog (Netflix) ↔
4. Bradley Cooper – Nightmare Alley (Searchlight Pictures) ↔
5. Joaquin Phoenix – C’mon C’mon (A24) ↑
6. Adam Driver – House of Gucci (MGM/UA) ↓
7. Clifton Collins, Jr. – Jockey (Sony Pictures Classics) ↓
8. Leonardo DiCaprio – Don’t Look Up (Netflix) ↑
9. Timothée Chalamet – Dune (Warner Bros/HBO Max) ↓
10. Peter Dinklage – Cyrano (MGM/UA) ↓
Other contenders: Javier Bardem – Being the Ricardos ♦ (Amazon Studios), Antonio Banderas – Official Competition (Sony Pictures Classics), Nicolas Cage – Pig ♦ (NEON), Andrew Garfield – tick, tick…BOOM! (Netflix) Jude Hill – Belfast (Focus Features), Cooper Hoffman – Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson aka Soggy Bottom (MGM/UA), Amir Jadidi – A Hero (Amazon Studios), Caleb Landry Jones – Nitram (TBA), Jonathan Majors – The Harder They Fall (Netflix)