2024 Oscar Predictions: BEST ACTOR (May)
As a 9-time Oscar nominee in four different categories, Bradley Cooper should be in his George Clooney or Kenneth Branagh era by now but the actor/director/writer/producer has been showered with nominations by an Academy that keeps holding back.
With three of those nominations being in Best Actor (Silver Linings Playbook, American Sniper, A Star Is Born), Cooper is one of the safer early bets in this category this Oscar season, as Maestro is ticking off as many classic boxes as you can get for traditional Oscar bait: a biopic that spans a lifetime (of master composer Leonard Bernstein), directing and co-writing the film himself and layers of astonishingly good makeup. Even as the Academy constantly stretches its own definitions of what an ‘Oscar’ movie is, these performances and transformations remain constant; they are staples of an awards economy that has stood the test of time of nearly 100 years.
But Cooper will face stiff competition from other previous nominees and some previous winners. Joaquin Phoenix in Ridley Scott’s Napoleon and Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon come to mind. But with that comes the reality that both are from Apple Original Films (Napoleon being distributed by Sony, Killers by Paramount) in what will amount to two very hefty campaigns. But maybe more so the fact that Scott hasn’t directed an Oscar-winning performance since Russell Crowe in 2000’s Gladiator (and has even struggled with nominations) and DiCaprio’s collabs with Scorsese are spotty at best, netting him two Best Actor nominations but no wins and some big nomination misses like Gangs of New York, The Departed and Shutter Island.
Here are my 2024 Oscar predictions in Best Actor for May 2023.
- Bradley Cooper – Maestro (Netflix)
- Colman Domingo – Rustin (Netflix)
- Leonardo DiCaprio – Killers of the Flower Moon (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures)
- David Strathairn – A Little Prayer (Sony Pictures Classics)
- Anthony Hopkins – Freud’s Last Session (Sony Pictures Classics)
- Barry Keoghan – Saltburn (Amazon Studios)
- Kingsley Ben-Adir – Marley (Paramount Pictures)
- Joaquin Phoenix – Napoleon (Apple Original Films/Sony Pictures)
- Paul Giamatti – The Holdovers (Focus Features)
- Cillian Murphy – Oppenheimer (Universal Pictures)
Other top contenders: Zac Efron – The Iron Claw (A24), Jamie Foxx – The Burial (Amazon Studios), André Holland – The Actor (NEON), Wagner Moura – Civil War (A24), LaKeith Stanfield – The Book of Clarence (Sony Pictures)
Other contenders and/or possible 2024 releases:
- Jay Baruchel – Blackberry (IFC Films)
- Gael García Bernal – Cassandro (Amazon Studios)
- Demián Bichir – Without Blood (Freemantle)
- Austin Butler – The Bikeriders (20th Century Studios) – lead or supporting?
- Timothée Chalamet – Dune Part Two (Warner Bros)
- Timothée Chalamet – Wonka (Warner Bros)
- Matt Damon – Air (Amazon Studios)
- Paul Dano – Dumb Money (Sony Pictures)
- Adam Driver – Ferrari (STX Entertainment)
- Alden Ehrenreich – Fair Play (Netflix)
- Mike Faist – Challengers (MGM) – lead or supporting?
- Michael Fassbender – The Killer (Netflix)
- Michael Fassbender – Next Goal Wins (Searchlight Pictures)
- Rafael Federman – Society of the Snow (Netflix)
- Christian Friedel – The Zone of Interest (A24)
- Tom Hardy – The Bikeriders (20th Century Studios) – lead or supporting?
- Ed Harris – Long’s Day Journey Into Night (MGM)
- Kelvin Harrison Jr. – Chevalier (Searchlight Pictures)
- Paul Mescal – Foe (Amazon Studios)
- Josh O’Connor – Challengers (MGM) – lead or supporting?
- Josh O’Connor – La Chimera (NEON)
- Sean Penn – Black Flies (Open Road Films)
- Ben Platt – Theater Camp (Searchlight Pictures)
- Mark Ruffalo – Poor Things (Searchlight Pictures) – lead or supporting?
- Adam Sandler – Spaceman (Netflix)
- Andrew Scott – Strangers (Searchlight Pictures)
- Tye Sheridan – Black Flies (Open Road Films)
- Sebastian Stan – A Different Man (A24)
- Callum Turner – The Boys in the Boat (MGM)
- John David Washington – The Piano Lesson (Netflix)
- Teo Yoo – Past Lives (A24) – lead or supporting?
- Ramy Youssef – Poor Things (Searchlight Pictures) – lead or supporting?
Without U.S. distribution: Paul Bettany – The Collaboration (TBD), Ralph Fiennes – Conclave (TBD), Anthony Hopkins – One Life (TBD), Benoît Magimel – The Pot au Feu (TBD), Pierre Niney – The Book of Solutions (TBD), Jeremy Pope – The Collaboration (TBD), Aswan Reid – The New Boy (TBD), Peter Sarsgaard – Memory (TBD), Ben Whishaw – Limonov: The Ballad of Eddie (TBD)
Photo: Jason McDonald/Netflix