As with all of the acting categories this year, we’re going to see a complete and full sweep by all four performers taking all precursors on their way to the Oscar stage, and all with different narratives getting them there.
For Joaquin Phoenix in Joker, this is his fourth nomination and has the biggest hallmarks of what the Academy loves; physical transformation (Phoenix lost massive amounts of weight for this a la Christian Bale). He made history as the first person to be nominated in lead for a comic book-based character and he’ll make history again as the first person to win for it, following Heath Ledger’s posthumous win in supporting for playing the same character in The Dark Knight.
But there’s another factor in Phoenix’s favor and that’s that he has been notoriously super uncomfortable about campaigning and giving speeches but at each of his opportunities to speak after a win, and there have been many, he’s blown away audiences both in the theater where he’s given them and viewers at home. Whether it’s promotion of a non-meat eating lifestyle and climate change awareness to his stirring BAFTA speech condemning the systemic racism in his industry, himself included, Phoenix has found a way to embrace the part of his job he hates the most by using it for the greater good.
“I think that it is the obligation of the people that have created and perpetuate and benefit from a system of oppression to be ones that dismantle it”Joaquin Phoenix
Here are my ranked Final Oscar predictions for Best Actor with a chart of a decade of related precursors and history.
|1. Joaquin Phoenix – Joker (Warner Bros)||BAFTA, CCA, GG (Drama), SAG|
|2. Adam Driver – Marriage Story (Netflix)||BAFTA, CCA, GG (Drama), SAG|
|3. Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia)||BAFTA, CCA, GG (Comedy/Musical), SAG|
|4. Jonathan Pryce – The Two Popes (Netflix)||BAFTA, GG (Drama)|
|5. Antonio Banderas – Pain and Glory (Sony Classics)||CCA, GG (Drama)|