Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal) and Anthony Hopkins (The Father) have all earned the top precursors on their way to Oscar nominations and none feel like surprise snubs this year.
But it’s the next two spots that could go a lot of ways on Monday. Gary Oldman (Mank), Tahar Rahim (The Mauritanian) and Steven Yeun (Minari) are the likely fighters for them with a few possible outside spoilers.
For Oldman, he hit BFCA, GG and SAG – all safetys for getting an Oscar nomination. The BAFTA miss is a bit surprising, even with the juries, but then Mank didn’t perform that well overall. It missed the top category, Best Film, the only category voted on by all members. It missed a SAG cast nomination too, putting the film on shakier ground than it probably thought it would be at this point. But since he got the individual nomination, support for him seems to be there, although he feels so vulnerable.
Steven Yeun is poised to become the first Asian-American actor nominated for Best Actor if he gets in. After the success of Parasite in Best Picture last year, and doing so with none of its actors nominated anywhere along the way, the time is now. Although he made SAG (an historic nomination, he’s the first Asian-American actor nominated in lead) and BFCA, missing BAFTA when his two co-stars made it in is a bit of curious snub in a category with six slots and a small jury that focused on diversity. In his favor is that Minari has been hugely over performing right when it needed to. It got PGA, director Lee Isaac Chung got DGA, the film earned a surprise ACE nomination this morning, a huge get. Those all point to the film being a top 3 player come Oscar nomination morning. But, will Yeun’s subtle and borderline supporting role hinder his chances? They could; the acting branch has been fickle there before when it comes to ‘subtle’ performances by actors in top 5 films, snubbing Amy Adams in Arrival after she got everything and John David Washington in BlacKkKlansman while nominating his co-star in a showier role.
Tahar Rahim has been building a stellar canon of performances from his 2009 breakthrough in A Prophet to now. Nabbing that surprise Golden Globe nomination alongside his co-star Jodie Foster gave him the fuel to repeat at BAFTA in a movie that was also nominated for Best Film. He’s yet to truly break through with American audiences but could be a fantastic, late-breaking spoiler in this category.
Adarsh Gourav (The White Tiger) and Mads Mikkelsen (Another Round) got the last two BAFTA nominations and both have a lot behind them to get in. Gourav’s film is backed by Netflix, who’s been pushing it hard. It earned a WGA nomination, where it could find a spot in adapted screenplay. But it feels like a pretty big stretch to translate that BAFTA nom to an Oscar one.
Mads Mikkelsen has been one of Hollywood’s favorite actors for years, churning out indelible performances in NBC’s Hannibal as the titular doctor, the villain in the first Daniel Craig Bond movie, Casino Royale, and in The Hunt, also from his Another Round director Thomas Vinterberg, which won him Best Actor at Cannes in 2012. Mikkelsen won the European Film Award for his performance as a teacher who, along with his teacher friends, push the boundaries of ‘functional alcoholism’ and anyone who’s seen the film can’t stop talking about that ending. It’s a shoe-in for an International Feature Film nomination and the frontrunner to win. Vinterberg earned a directing nomination at BAFTA and, in my estimation, could get an Oscar nomination too.
Here are my final 2021 Oscar nomination predictions in Best Actor.
- 1. Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix) – BFCA, BAFTA, GG, SAG
- 2. Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios) – BAFTA, BFCA, GG, SAG
- 3. Anthony Hopkins – The Father (Sony Pictures Classics) – BAFTA, BFCA, GG, SAG
- 4. Steven Yeun – Minari (A24) – BFCA, SAG
- 5. Gary Oldman – Mank (Netflix) – BFCA, GG, SAG
Watch out for: Mads Mikkelsen – Another Round (Samuel Goldwyn Mayer) – BAFTA
Photo credit: David Lee/NETFLIX