Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog), Joaquin Phoenix (C’mon C’mon), Clifton Collins, Jr. (Jockey) and Andrew Garfield (tick, tick…BOOM!) all tick up this month in a category so rich with possibility – and former winners and nominees – that it’s going to be a real horse race for a spot in the final five.
Sony Pictures Classics secured Antonio Banderas his first Oscar nomination two years ago (for Pain and Glory), in a category that’s only ever seen two Spanish nominees (Banderas, Javier Bardem twice). For Latin American and Hispanic actors it’s almost equally as bleak with only four ever: José Ferrer (1950’s Cyrano de Bergerac – WON, 1952’s Moulin Rouge), Anthony Quinn (1957’s Wild is the Wind, 1964 Zorba the Greek), Edward James Olmos (1988’s Stand and Deliver) and Demián Bichir for 2011’s A Better Life, ten years ago. Sony Pictures Classics, who is distributing Jockey, has a chance to add Collins, Jr. to that deserving list, which has been a major blind spot in Academy history.
With audience awards for King Richard starting to pile up (Heartland, Chicago Film Festival), this is still Will Smith’s to lose. When you add memoir and his book tour, new YouTube show and more it starts to look like an unstoppable train. As one of the last big ‘movie stars,’ Smith is the only actor to have starred in eight consecutive films which grossed over $100 million at the United States box office, eleven consecutive films which grossed over $150 million internationally, and eight consecutive films which opened at the number one spot in the U.S. box office. With King Richard debuting in theaters and on HBO Max at the same time, his box office prowess will truly be tested but also taken with the proper grain of salt of what the new normal is for U.S. box office in a pandemic era.
Here are my ranked 2022 Best Actor Oscar predictions for October 2021.
Green – moves up ↑ Red – moves down ↓ Blue – new/re-entry ♦ Black – no movement ↔
1. Will Smith – King Richard (Warner Bros/HBO Max) ↔
2. Benedict Cumberbatch – The Power of the Dog (Netflix) ↑
3. Denzel Washington – The Tragedy of Macbeth (A24/Apple) ↓
4. Joaquin Phoenix – C’mon C’mon (A24) ↑
5. Clifton Collins, Jr. – Jockey (Sony Pictures Classics) ↑
6. Bradley Cooper – Nightmare Alley (Searchlight Pictures) ↓
7. Peter Dinklage – Cyrano (MGM/UA) ↓
8. Andrew Garfield – tick, tick…BOOM! (Netflix) ↑
9. Leonardo DiCaprio – Don’t Look Up (Netflix) ↓
10. Adam Driver – House of Gucci (MGM/UA) ↔
Other contenders: Mahershala Ali – Swan Song ♦ (Apple Original Films), Javier Bardem – Being the Ricardos (Amazon Studios), Nicolas Cage – Pig ↓ (NEON), Timothée Chalamet – Dune (Warner Bros/HBO Max), Jude Hill – Belfast (Focus Features), Cooper Hoffman – Licorice Pizza (MGM/UA), Amir Jadidi – A Hero (Amazon Studios), Simon Rex – Red Rocket (A24)