With both the Gothams and Spirit Awards announcing nominations, we’re just starting to see how some of these acting races and narratives can take early shape. Both groups have moved to non-gendered categories but the Oscars (and others) have not so for purposes of predictions, they’ll be more binary than that.
In lead actor, only one performer earned nominations at both – Paul Mescal for Aftersun. As one of only two out ten male actors at the Spirits Awards and three out of ten at the Gotham Awards to earn nominations with both bodies, Mescal is finding himself in better position every day. But even in the year’s best-reviewed film, adding another potential first-timer to this list seems tenuous and I bump him up cautiously. While Aftersun isn’t a completely straightforward drama, it’s much closer than previous genre and critic faves like Toni Collette in Hereditary, Lupita Nyong’o in Us or Ethan Hawke in First Reformed who all missed out. Mescal will likely need to secure more than just critics’ nominations (a LAFCA, NYFCC and/or NSFC win would be good) to truly break in though. Golden Globe? Maybe, with comedy and drama separate. SAG? Feels pretty unlikely. Now BAFTA, that’s another story. He’s a winner there for television (Normal People, for which he was also Emmy-nominated). He’s never been nominated for a film performance, or even as an EE Rising Star yet, but that will likely all change this season.
A lot of chatter filled the Twitterverse this week when The Whale was completely snubbed at the Spirit Awards, including frontrunner Brendan Fraser (who did receive a Gotham nomination, as did co-star Hong Chau). But from what I know it was less about not liking the film or his performance but more about A24 being a bit too hesitant to screen the film. Are they worried about think piece blowback? Possibly, but that would likely come from the general public versus critics and industry groups, who are exactly the people that need to see the film if Fraser is indeed on a coronation run this season.
Here are my 2023 Oscar predictions in Best Actor for November.
Green – moves up ↑ Red – moves down ↓ Blue – new entry ♦
1. Brendan Fraser – The Whale (A24)
2. Austin Butler – Elvis (Warner Bros)
3. Colin Farrell – The Banshees of Inisherin (Searchlight Pictures)
4. Bill Nighy – Living (Sony Pictures Classics) ↑
5. Hugh Jackman – The Son (Sony Pictures Classics) ↓
6. Will Smith – Emancipation (Apple Original Films)
7. Paul Mescal – Aftersun (A24) ↑
8. Diego Calva – Babylon (Paramount Pictures) ↓
9. Tom Cruise – Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures) ↑
10. Tom Hanks – A Man Called Otto (Sony Pictures)
11. Daniel Giménez Cacho – Bardo, or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (Netflix) ↓
12. Gabriel LaBelle – The Fabelmans (Universal Studios) ↑
13. Jeremy Pope – The Inspection (A24)
14. Adam Driver – White Noise (Netflix) ↑
15. Adam Sandler – Hustle (Netflix) ↓
16. Timothée Chalamet – Bones and All (MGM/UAR) ↑
17. Christian Bale – The Pale Blue Eye (Netflix)
18. Daniel Craig – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix) ↓
19. Park Hae-il – Decision to Leave (MUBI) ↓
20. Song Kang-ho – Broker (NEON) ↓
Other contenders (alphabetical)
Eden Dambrine – Close (A24) ♦
Harris Dickinson – Triangle of Sadness (NEON)
Colin Farrell – After Yang (A24)
Ralph Fiennes – The Menu (Searchlight Pictures)
Jonathan Majors – Devotion (Sony Pictures)
Jim Parsons – Spoiler Alert (Focus Features) ↓