Circuit Breaker Episode 61: Best Actor’s Age Bias, NYFF Premieres, and “Locks” In the Race


Welcome to the Awards Circuit podcast titled “CIRCUIT BREAKER!,” a weekly podcast from AwardsCircuit.comfeaturing host Clayton Davis along with panelists Sam Coffey, Mark Johnson, Joey Magidson, and Karen Peterson. We discuss movies, television and all the awards shows that need predicting. New episodes are released every Monday.

Find us on Twitter at @Circuit_Pod, email us at, and submit your comments and questions at the bottom of the episode.

On the agenda:

  • Announcing the category placements and campaigns for Algee Smith (“Detroit”), Cynthia Nixon (“A Quiet Passion”), Claire Foy (“Breathe”), and Melissa Leo (“Novitiate”).
  • We talk about the first reviews for Richard Linklater’s “Last Flag Flying” and where it stands in the Oscar race.  Also, does Steve Carell stand a chance in either category he’s campaigned in?
  • We talk about the news of the week including the next installment of “It” and it should play the adults.
  • We talk about the curse word “lock” and using it in the months of September and October.
  • We’re talking about Best Actor and the chances for Timothee Chalamet and who needs to fall in order for him to make the lineup for “Call Me By Your Name.”

Comment and send in #CinephileShowdowns#DeleteTheActor,
#ChoosetheGold, and #ACCircuitBreaker questions in the comment section below!

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  • Joey Magidson


  • Tee

    1. Algee Smith is on my ballot at the moment in lead, but he’s probably my fifth spot.
    2. Is the hype for Breathe actually existing? It looks like such a dull and baity film, I genuinely have no interest at all in seeing it.
    3. The Meyerwitz Stories is something I’m unexpectedly excited for.
    4. They say comedy is harder to pull of in comedy, so it isn’t ever surprising to me when comedians like Will Ferrell, Jim Carrey, and even Adam Sandler pull out a good dramatic performance.
    5. Netflix hasn’t really had a movie I’d put in a Best Picture race IMO.
    6. Bryan Cranston’s controversial performance sounds fantastic- I love unlikeable characters.
    7. I still put Steve Carrell’s best performance for Crazy, Stupid, Love.
    8. I vehemently disagree with Clayton on this- there is always a lead character, and making them all split up is the exact reason Carrell has missed nominations. Campaigning aside, Carrell’s placement ultimately relies on the character. Is the character the protagonist of the story or not? That has to be what determines the placement.
    9. Steve Carrell is the closest thing to a lead in The Big Short- he actually campaigned supporting from the perspective of “It’s an ensemble!” and he got screwed because Christian Bale (wrongly) took the Oscar spot. If Carrell had been campaigned as a firm lead, I’m 100% sure he could’ve got in over Damon or Redmayne.
    10. I’m going to say The Greatest Showman in Best Picture- you guys have it so low but I feel it can pull enough support all around to get into the lineup. A second is Michelle Williams for Best Supporting Actress, also Greatest Showman.
    11. The Disaster Artist’s best nod is a dark horse for James Franco and maybe Adapted Screenplay.
    12. I think the expanded line-ups pretty dumb, and Clayton has a point- in a long run, snubs can be great for potential future winners from getting nods. I do think they should go back to a mandatory 10 for Best Picture.
    13. Dafne Keen for Logan is the only one I’ve seen.
    14. I’d say I’m disappointed, but the very name of the film says how horrible it’d be.
    15. I’ll be the mean guy- Get Out isn’t getting nominated anywhere. It’s very, VERY best shot is a drunken, shot in the dark, done at 3 AM is Screenplay.
    16. Two and a half stars isn’t positive- Three stars is, as I read, is subpar.
    17. Bridges of Madison County, Sophie’s Choice, Kramer vs. Kramer, in that order.
    18. Watch FX- it’s on there every month at some point.
    19. …I really like Avatar.
    20. I fucking hate the Lobster, you just took any excitement I had for the Square and squashed it.
    21. Wind River deserves the Oscar campaign- Jeremy Renner really deserves to get a nomination. I think Renner’s only real competition is Gyllenhaal- since Daniel Day-Lewis and Oldman feel like locks, while Jackman is a safe bet. It depends on where Carrell goes, but Renner is fighting for that fifth spot with Gyllenhaal and Hanks.
    22. I still feel like Oldman is the closest thing to a lock this year, entirely because he’s the only contender that has been seen yet.
    23. SNL kind of got a disappointing premiere for me- Gosling was a fine host, but the skits didn’t really stick out for me.
    24. Logan for Best Actor?
    25. I still think Chastain is gonna get snubbed this year- Molly’s Game has the same vibe as Miss Sloane.
    26. I have Meryl winning, to be perfectly honest. I don’t want it, but Meryl’s got a shot. She’s got an entire campaign; a media icon taking on the presidency, she’s the closest thing to a four-time winner we have, and she’s Queen Meryl in a Spielberg film. They’ve given her more for less, so I’d bet on it.
    27. Wait…you’ve seen Mudbound?! No review yet?!
    28. Hugh Jackman for Logan, and Andy Serkis for War for the Planet of the Apes.
    29. Deakins needs to win eventually.

  • Sam

    Chalamet pros:

    – Most critically acclaimed film of the year that will likely contend in Picture, Director, Screenplay
    – Sony Pictures Classics (remember when everyone said they wouldn’t be able to get Huppert in last year and she ended up the likely runner up)
    – November release
    – Raved performance and will contend for critics awards
    – Started a strong campaign already
    – Will also be seen in Lady Bird and Hostiles
    – Weak category – the only other contenders with probable BP nominees are Oldman and Hanks. This isn’t a category like Best Actress that tends to have lots of non-BP candidates.

    Chalamet cons:

    – His age

    The age thing may seem major, but do we really think that we’re never gonna nominated someone that young in this category again? Surely they’re more likely to now than ever with a younger, more diverse, more European, more female Academy. We saw Lucas Hedges get into supporting last year over someone like Hugh Grant in a role that was basically co-lead and was seen as overdue. Chalamet’s role is a dream for someone his age, it’s multi-faceted and layered, vulnerable and confident, comedic and emotional, he speaks three languages, plays two instruments and he’s the undeniable lead of the story.

    Most importantly in my mind, the last time this category didn’t have someone who had never been nominated before was 1980 and no other newcomer makes anywhere near as much sense as Chalamet.

    I don’t do locks this early either but I struggle to see Call Me By Your Name making it into Best Picture and Chalamet not making it into Actor.

    • John

      Now obviously you want to see Chalamet in the lineup, to the point you liked your own post, and you wrote a summary on his role like you’re his press agent, however you went a little sparse on your cons side.

      First your point about Lucas Hedges doesn’t matter since supporting actor has been more welcoming to youth, there have been over ten nominations for actors under 25 in that category, in lead actor there has been 4 total with only one of them being in the last 50 years. Since you pointed it out the last time there were five previous nominees was indeed 1980 which is more recent, the last time there was a lead actor below 25, 1977 with John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.

      Call Me By Your Name may not be a best picture nominee due to age difference in the central relationship. We don’t know how the academy will respond to that aspect, and he’s sorta the face of it.

      If it is though the academy has frequently forgotten the young leads to best picture nominees, Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire, Room, Boyhood, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Hugo, The Reader, The Cider House Rules.

      He can get in, but acting like it’s a done deal at this venture is a little silly.

      • Sam

        Liking my own post was obviously an accident.

        I think the Supporting Actor point matters a lot actually. Why would they be willing to nominate younger male actors in one category and not in another? An Oscar nomination is an Oscar nomination. Is it not more likely that young men in this age group either have supporting roles in films much more often (most Best Picture nominations are not centered around men in the 18-25 age range) or they get pushed supporting so as to avoid the age bias of the leading category, like A24 campaigning Jacob Tremblay in Supporting for Room when he was a co-lead. Voters went for Lucas Hedges – a year younger than Chalamet – over the overdue Hugh Grant. If they can do it one category, why would they not in another? Does the difference between ‘lead’ and ‘supporting’ matter that much to them? I recognize your point about Travolta but as I pointed out, it’s more likely to happen now than ever before if you look at the makeup of the Academy. We’re seeing unprecedented things happen.

        The difference between those examples you mention and this is that Chalamet has the buzz and he has the campaign. Sony Pictures Classics have said they want him in and they’re going all out for it. No one was really trying to get David Kross nominated for The Reader. And he also wasn’t getting the reviews that Chalamet has. They focused on Winslet who had the buzz and the reviews. Pretty much all of those examples you mentioned the stars were overshadowed by their co-stars. That’s not the case in this film, he gives the performance of the film and one of the performances of the year.

        It might not be a Best Picture nominee (although I doubt it will be because of the age difference which is a complete non factor when you watch it), and if it wasn’t then obviously I would have my doubts about him making it in. And therefore I’m not acting like it’s a done deal so not sure where you got that from. But if they go for the film, then yes I’d be shocked if they didn’t go for him. They’re bound to nominate someone in their early 20s at some point again and this is the prime opportunity.

  • Avi Saks

    The answer to the “two acting winners, but no BP nom” happened twice. Back to back years (Hud and The Miracle Worker)

  • blake011

    Isn’t PTA dated? I don’t see how it could move.

  • Cornelius Buttersby

    I have spent a lot of time thinking about casting It: Chapter 2, accounting for age and star power and physica matching.

    Bill Denbrough – Colin Hanks. Appropriate age and good appearance match, I can see Hanks taking the timid but grounded Bill to an understated lead in the sequel. Lots of potential choices – Adam Scott, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Jimmi Simpson would all be fine choices.

    Beverly Marsh – Bryce Dallas Howard (fun though it would be to have Amy Adams, it felt more cost-realistic to have Bryce Dallas Howard. Chastain is worth considering but her presence and appearance is perhaps too regal for the character, and her eyes don’t match up).

    Ben Hanscom – Jesse Plemons (I cheated the age here, whereas everyone else is genuinely close to 40, Plemons is only about 30. Still, he looks like a convincing grown up version of the actor in the first flick, and the character reads as younger than the rest of them anyway).

    Richie Tozier – Scoot McNairy (Not much to be said. I lean more this way than putting a fairly recognisable comedian star like Hader or Rudd in. McNairy can be realistically funny.)

    Eddie Kapsbrak – Fred Savage (Another one with lots of great choices to pick from, but Savage’s sensibility and quite small look evoked little Eddie to me).

    Stanley Uris – Jimmi Simpson (The hardest by a country mile, since nobody quite looks like him. I went through Hugh Dancy, Paul Dano, Michael Stuhlbarg, Seth Green, all varieties of actors. Simpson is a sort of compromise choice, but his appearance and talent can pull off the fairly small part.

    Mike Hanlon – Okieriete Onaodowan (Something about Mike’s frame made me think of Oak, and less like Chadwick Boseman (as many suggest). Jordan Peele is a good choice, but I’d also be curious about how Oak would pair with a big screen role, considering his fame thus far is limited to the stage).

    Henry Bowers – Norman Reedus (Again, kind of a cheat. He’s actually borderig on 50, but he also doesn’t even remotely look it. He’s more recognisable to an audience than most of my choices, but the role is so batshit he could probably slip into it. Plus, unlike in the book, the movie seemed to imply he was dead at the bottom of the well, so the character may not return. Nevertheless, Reedus’ resemblance to young Nicholas Hamilton is a little too perfect for me to ignore).

  • AndreTheTurtle

    To chime in on the whole Get Out situation, you have to remember that Metacritic does not get nearly as many critics as RT. Like, only 48 people on Metacritic reviewed the film, compared to the 286 on RT. Also, of the 48 on metacritic that reviewed it, 36 gave the film a score of 80/100 or higher, meaning that most people on Metacritic agree it is a great film, as from my point of view an 8/10(or 80/100) is equivalent to a 3 and a half star score. Even comparing that with RT, most critics there still gave the film an average score of 8.3/10, which based on ratings from RT of films that are at 90% or above from this year is actually the second highest rated film of the year behind Dunkirk(8.6/10). This means that the majority of people who reviewed it agree it is a great film. Now I am not here at all saying it will get nominated anywhere(truth me told I feel Logan actually has better odds), but I can definitely understand why there would be a loud group out there championing it for award season.

    I would also like to address the comment Karen made about the fact that people who are wanting Get Out to get nominations should see more movies. I think that is more to deal with people’s personal favorite films of the year rather than the amount they have seen. As of today, I’ve seen 103 films released this year, and I still have Get Out as the second best of the year, so that is not to say people who love Get Out only love it because they haven’t seen very many films, but more along the lines that people just have different tastes.

    Not trying to throw any shade at all, as I really enjoy the discussions of topics like this. Just thought it would put my input in.

    • I do apologize if it sounded like I was suggesting that the only people who love Get Out have seen very few movies this year. That’s not what I meant. It was an incomplete thought. I was mostly referring to the fact that there are still a lot of very buzzy movies coming.

      • AndreTheTurtle

        I completely understand. To be fair, I don’t think how you came off is how you meant to come off, which I why I just wanted to bring it up to clarify. And I also agree that there are so many buzzy movies coming out in the last three months that it is premature to just say it should get all the awards at this moment. In three months time, it is possible that Get Out will get taken out of my top 10 just based on competition alone. But at the end of the day, only time will tell. Haha.

  • Reece

    With Last Flag Flying, early reviews have it at a 63 on Metacritic.

    But The Big Short had the same at its early reviews (64), and then climbed up to a 81.. It could do the same?

    • Reece

      ooo, I got a mention in the podcast

  • Mike

    Out of all the nominated GKids films, of one them had to win. which one do you think most deserved the Oscar?

    The Secret of Kells over UP
    Cat in Paris or Chico & Rita over Rango
    Ernst & Celestine over Frozen
    Song of the Sea or The Tale of Princess Kagua over Big Hero 6
    Boy and the World or When Marnie Was There over Inside Out
    My Life as a Zucchini over Zootopia

    Mine would be My Life as a Zucchini over Zootopia

    • Reece

      Ernst & Celestine over Frozen

  • Kevin

    Question for Circuit Breaker:
    Going off the talk last week about snubs not always being terrible and can actually be a good thing, what are some movies and performances that you think actually benefited from being snubbed, and are remembered and praised more because they didn’t get nominated?

    To give an example, I’d say The Dark Knight. Many people now think of it as the movie that forced the Oscars to change their Best Picture rules, and people talk about that more than they would if it had been nominated but didn’t stand a chance of winning.

  • cat

    Hi, I have a few questions:

    Firstly whats your opinion about the trailer for annihilation, the alex garland movie. I read the book but I heard that it will be very different and the test screenings weren´t very successful.

    Secondly I heard in the Film Comment Podcast that Armie Hammer was totally miscast in Call Me By Your Name and that some critics had problems believing in Hammer playing a 23year old jewish student. Since Chalamet looks like a 12year old – according to them, they took offense in the big age difference between the two characters. Did you have the same problems bying Hammer´s character? And who has the better shot to get into the best supporting actor race – Hammer or Stuhlbarg?

    Also I heard a lot of great praise for Mudbound, Neftlix awards contender. I wanted to ask if you could take about Netflix chances to get any of their movies into the oscar race. I heard that since the movies dont really have any theatrical release and only being streamed on Netflix (also making them eligible for both Emmys and Oscars), the academy might deemed these movies to be uneligible for the oscars.

  • Ryan

    Power Hour Question:

    When was the most soul-crushingly disappointed you ever felt after watching a movie?

    (This has absolutely nothing to do whatsoever with that Blade Runner movie that everyone loves. I mean, sure I loved it, of course I loved it, why wouldn’t I love it…..)

  • Raul Gama

    In honor of possible Steve Carel possible double nomination:

    From the actors with double nominations both Lead and supporting, who u think had the best shot at winning?

    Do you believe the academy put Kate Winslet’s The Reader performance in Lead not to give her 2 oscars?

  • Raul Gama

    In honor of Steve Carel possible double nominations:

    From the actors with double nominations both Lead and supporting, who u think had the best shot at winning both?

    Do you believe the academy put Kate Winslet’s The Reader performance in Lead not to give her 2 oscars?