Brendan Fraser remains at the top for The Whale from Darren Aronofsky and A24. His career comeback will world premiere at Venice then hit Toronto (seemingly skipping Telluride, a mistake in my estimation, would make a fantastic actor tribute there) on its way to the film’s release this fall. Based on the play of the same name by Samuel D. Hunter (who also penned the screenplay), The Whale tells the story of a reclusive and obese English professor who tries to reconnect with his estranged 17-year old daughter (played by Stranger Things‘ Sadie Sink) after leaving her and her mother for his gay lover. Sounds like a lot, right? While it seems like it could ride the line between baity and problematic, Aronofsky is well-versed at managing very complicated lead characters; we can’t forget that Natalie Portman won her Oscar for his unconventional horror/thriller Black Swan.
Is it just me or does Best Actor this year feel a bit weak on contenders? While we definitely have major players, potential sleepers and everything in between, the sheer number feels quite small, especially compared to Best Actress.
One of the reasons is that Apple is in a state of flux this season and the closer we get to its true kickoff, we still have no real answers as to their plans for Killers of the Flower Moon, Emancipation and Napoleon, all of which have major Best Actor contenders in Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith and Joaquin Phoenix. All three landing in 2023 would make a very complicated level of marketing and prioritizing these three previous Best Actor winners. Something, or someone’s, gotta give.
We know Netflix made that ‘2023’ announcement for Rustin, starring Colman Domingo as gay civil rights icon Bayard Rustin, but even that was vague. Why announce a 2023 release without before dating any of their 2022 contenders? Could it be a late-breaking 2022 qualifier? A Sundance premiere? Too many questions, not enough answers. Yet.
Here are my 2023 Oscar predictions in Best Actor for August 2022.
Green – moves up ↑ Red – moves down ↓ Blue – new entry ♦
1. Brendan Fraser – The Whale (A24)
2. Hugh Jackman – The Son (Sony Pictures Classics)
(Leonardo DiCaprio – Killers of the Flower Moon – Apple Original Films)
3. Austin Butler – Elvis (Warner Bros) ↑
4. Daniel Giménez Cacho – Bardo, or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (Netflix) ↑
5. Diego Calva – Babylon (Paramount Pictures) ↑
6. Song Kang-ho – Broker (NEON) ↓
7. Bill Nighy – Living (Sony Pictures Classics) ↑
8. Micheal Ward – Empire of Light (Searchlight Pictures) ↑ – lead or supporting?
9. Colin Farrell – The Banshees of Inisherin (Searchlight Pictures)
10. Adam Driver – White Noise (Netflix)
11. Park Hae-il – Decision to Leave (MUBI) ↑
12. Brendan Gleeson – The Banshees of Inisherin (Searchlight Pictures) ♦ – lead or supporting?
13. Jeremy Pope – The Inspection (A24) ♦
14. Paul Mescal – Aftersun (A24) ↑
15. Kelvin Harrison Jr. – Chevalier (Searchlight Pictures) ↑
16. Gabriel LaBelle – The Fabelmans (Universal Studios) ↑
17. Colman Domingo – Rustin (Netflix) ↓ – 2022 or 2023?
18. Will Smith – Emancipation (Apple Original Films) ♦ – 2022 or 2023?
19. Christian Bale – The Pale Blue Eye (Netflix) ↓ – 2022 or 2023?
20. Eddie Redmayne – The Good Nurse (Netflix) – lead or supporting?
Other contenders (alphabetical)
- Timothée Chalamet – Bones and All (MGM/UAR)
- Steve Coogan – The Lost King (IFC Films)
- Harris Dickinson – Triangle of Sadness (NEON)
- Michael Fassbender – The Killer (Netflix) – 2022 or 2023?
- Colin Firth – Empire of Light (Searchlight Pictures) – lead or supporting?
- Jamie Foxx – The Burial (Amazon Studios)
- Jalil Hall – Till (UAR/Orion)
- Ethan Hawke – Raymond & Ray (Apple Original Films)
- Ewan McGregor – Raymond & Ray (Apple Original Films)
- Paul Mescal – Carmen (Sony Pictures Classics)
- Paul Mescal – Foe (Amazon Studios)
- Jack O’Connell – Lady Chatterley’s Lover (Netflix)
- Jim Parsons – Spoiler Alert (Focus Features)
- Jean Dujardin – November – TBD
- Joel Edgerton – The Brutalist – TBD
- Jesse Eisenberg – Manodrome – TBD
- Jon Hamm – Maggie Moore(s) – TBD
- Melvil Poupaud – Brother and Sister – TBD
- Tahar Rahim – Don Juan – TBD