One of the tougher early races to call for nominations is starting to take some shape.
While Will Smith (King Richard), who won NBR, is still the perceived frontrunner to win, it’s been Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog) whose been collecting awards hardware. With wins from NYFCC, NYFCO, Atlanta, Boston Online, Phoenix and South Eastern critics, Cumberbatch has a significant lead as the critics’ favorite so far.
Smith, Cumberbatch, Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth), Andrew Garfield (tick, tick…BOOM!) and Peter Dinklage (Cyrano) all nabbed Golden Globe and Critics Choice nominations this week and all but Washington have won one critics’ prize so far.
There are two important details within the presence of Garfield and Dinklage here and they each have to do with Oscar history. As both actors come from film musicals (real musicals, not music biopics), you’d have to go all the way back to 1944 to find a year where two Best Actor nominees came from a musical: Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald, both from Going My Way. You would have thought the musical-heavy 1950s and 1960s would have given us at least one year but nope, it’s been 77 years. The other is the stat I’ve been holding onto in all of my Best Actor predictions: the first-timer. It’s been a battle between Dinklage and Clifton Collins, Jr. (in Jockey) to keep that 41-year stat alive and although Collins Jr. nabbed a Spirit Awards nomination this week, it’s Dinklage who has pulled out to a pretty clear lead with a win from Detroit and those GG and CCA nods.
Joaquin Phoenix (C’mon C’mon) hit the skids this week, failing to secure anything, not even a Spirit Awards nomination. He, Collins and several other actors like Leonardo DiCaprio (Don’t Look Up), Nicolas Cage (Pig) or Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos) would need to earn SAG and BAFTA nominations to unseat this top 5.
Here are my ranked 2022 Best Actor Oscar predictions for December 2021.
Green – moves up ↑ Red – moves down ↓ Blue – new/re-entry ♦ Black – no movement ↔
1. Will Smith – King Richard (Warner Bros/HBO Max) – GG, CCA ↔
2. Benedict Cumberbatch – The Power of the Dog (Netflix) – GG, CCA ↔
3. Denzel Washington – The Tragedy of Macbeth (A24/Apple Original Films) – GG, CCA ↔
4. Andrew Garfield – tick, tick…BOOM! (Netflix) – GG, CCA ↑
5. Peter Dinklage – Cyrano (MGM/UAR) – GG, CCA ↑
6. Clifton Collins, Jr. – Jockey (Sony Pictures Classics) ↓
7. Leonardo DiCaprio – Don’t Look Up (Netflix) – GG ↓
8. Nicolas Cage – Pig (NEON) – CCA ↑
9. Joaquin Phoenix – C’mon C’mon (A24) ↓
10. Javier Bardem – Being the Ricardos (Amazon Studios) – GG ↔
Mahershala Ali – Swan Song (Apple Original Films) – GG
Bradley Cooper – Nightmare Alley (Searchlight Pictures) ↓
Timothée Chalamet – Dune (Warner Bros/HBO Max)
Adam Driver – House of Gucci (MGM/UAR)
Jude Hill – Belfast (Focus Features)
Cooper Hoffman – Licorice Pizza (MGM/UA) – GG
Simon Rex – Red Rocket (A24)
Photo: Macall Polay/Netlfix