As we inch closer to not only all contenders being seen but being on the precipice of the Gotham Awards, the first awards of the season – and completely without budget restraints now – the acting races will finally begin to take real shape rather than simply a predictive one.
The major contenders in Best Actor remain: Colman Domingo (MVFF Audience Award winner Rustin, which just dropped its first trailer), Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer), Bradley Cooper (Maestro, a Gotham honoree), Leonardo DiCaprio (Killers of the Flower Moon). But then things start to get a little wily. While it would be a bit presumptuous to think those four are locked and we’re simply looking to see who will fill the 5th spot when there are so many variables at play, it’s still a solid-looking and ‘safe’ quartet for the moment.
However, there are moving parts absolutely ready to tilt the wheel in the form of Jeffrey Wright in American Fiction (TIFF People’s Choice and MVFF Audience Award winner), Paul Giamatti in The Holdovers, Andrew Scott in All of Us Strangers and surprise, surprise, two-time Best Actor winner Anthony Hopkins making a late-breaking shot at another, playing Sigmund Freud, no less, in Freud’s Last Session. More still with newcomers like Christian Friedel in The Zone of Interest, Cannes Best Actor winner Kôji Yakusho in Perfect Days and Teo Yoo in Past Lives.
Adding to the complication of the kickoff of this awards season is the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike. With few performers able to promote their films until the strike is resolved, that opens the door for those that do have SAG interim agreements and/or from films with studios that are not a part of the AMPTP. Among them are A24 and NEON, where we have contenders like Zac Efron in the upcoming The Iron Claw (A24), the previously mentioned Yoo and Friedel (both A24) and Adam Driver in Ferrari (NEON). That could give them an early advantage but we’re also still a ways off from the major industry nominations to start rolling in (SAG nomination voting begins on December 4), which gives us just about a month and a half SAG-AFTRA to get a fair deal and get back to work, and also have to kick campaigning into high gear. We also now have three films who have backed off their original release dates as a result of the strike; MGM’s Challengers and Warner Bros’ Dune Part Two both moved to Spring 2024 and 20th Century Studios just pulled The Bikeriders from its December 1 bow, holding its release in limbo.
The Screen Actors Guild will reveal their nominations on January 10, 2024 and the 30th SAG Awards will be held on February 24. Oscar nominations will be announced on January 23 and the 96th Academy Awards will be held on March 10.
Here are my 2024 Oscar predictions in Best Actor for October 2023.
- Bradley Cooper – Maestro (Netflix) (▲)
- Cillian Murphy – Oppenheimer (Universal Pictures) (-)
- Colman Domingo – Rustin (Netflix) (▼)
- Leonardo DiCaprio – Killers of the Flower Moon (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures) (-)
- Jeffrey Wright – American Fiction (Amazon MGM/Orion) (▲)
- Paul Giamatti – The Holdovers (Focus Features) (▼)
- Andrew Scott – All of Us Strangers (Searchlight Pictures) (-)
- Anthony Hopkins – Freud’s Last Session (Sony Pictures Classics) (▲)
- Christian Friedel – The Zone of Interest (A24) (▼)
- Zac Efron – The Iron Claw (A24) (▲)
Next up: Kingsley Ben-Adir – Bob Marley: One Love (Paramount Pictures), Adam Driver – Ferrari (NEON), Barry Keoghan – Saltburn (Amazon Studios), Joaquin Phoenix – Napoleon (Apple Original Films/Sony Pictures) (▼), David Strathairn – A Little Prayer (Sony Pictures Classics), Kôji Yakusho – Perfect Days (NEON), Teo Yoo – Past Lives (A24)
- Riz Ahmed – Fingernails (Apple Original Films)
- Jay Baruchel – BlackBerry (IFC Films)
- Austin Butler – The Bikeriders (20th Century Studios)
- Timothée Chalamet – Wonka (Warner Bros)
- Matt Damon – Air (Amazon Studios)
- Paul Dano – Dumb Money (Sony Pictures)
- Alden Ehrenreich – Fair Play (Netflix)
- Jamie Foxx – The Burial (Amazon Studios)
- Gael García Bernal – Cassandro (Amazon Studios)
- Michael Fassbender – The Killer (Netflix)
- Michael Fassbender – Next Goal Wins (Searchlight Pictures)
- Tom Hardy – The Bikeriders (20th Century Studios)
- Kelvin Harrison Jr. – Chevalier (Searchlight Pictures)
- Benoît Magimel – The Taste of Things (IFC Films)
- Paul Mescal – Foe (Amazon Studios)
- Mads Mikkelsen – The Promised Land (Magnolia Pictures)
- Josh O’Connor – La Chimera (NEON)
- Peter Sarsgaard – Memory (TBD)