OSCAR PREDICTIONS: Best Actor

Updated: October 18, 2017

AND THE PREDICTED NOMINEES ARE

1

Gary Oldman
“Darkest Hour” (Focus Features)

PROS:
WAY overdue for love. Winston Churchill is a baity role and judging by the trailer, we are in for something fierce from this one-time nominee ("Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy").
CONS:
It's hard to be the declared frontrunner and survive it all year long. Simply put, he has to be good.

2

Daniel Day-Lewis
“Phantom Thread” (Focus Features)

PROS:
One of the greatest living actors is rumored to be retiring. 3-time winner and could be able to become the male Katherine Hepburn.
CONS:
He has many Oscars already and this subject matter may not be necessarily "accessible."

3

Jake Gyllenhaal
“Stronger” (Lionsgate)

PROS:
Still on the hunt for his second nomination following "Brokeback Mountain" in 2005 and a huge snub for "Nightcrawler" a few years ago. Is this his ticket?
CONS:
He always feels close until the rug is pulled out from under him.

4

Steve Carell*
“Last Flag Flying” (Amazon Studios)

PROS:
Has felt like a contender for some time for a future win with his nomination for "Foxcatcher" and his miss for "The Big Short." If "Battle of the Sexes" falls off, this could be his ticket.
CONS:
Split votes with himself for "Battle of the Sexes."

5

Andrew Garfield
“Breathe” (Bleecker Street)

PROS:
Just nominated for his work in "Hacksaw Ridge." Word is that he's very good and the role is extremely baity by Oscar standards.
CONS:
He may need the film to be a bigger player outside of him.

NEXT IN LINE

6

James Franco
“The Disaster Artist” (A24)

PROS:
SXSW launched the talk that his work here is completely worthy and could find its way to a nomination (following his first for "127 Hours").
CONS:
Comedy in Lead Actor? Good luck, because many have missed over the decades.

7

Timothée Chalamet
“Call Me By Your Name” (Sony Pictures Classics)

PROS:
Sundance praised him and he could be able to do some damage if the film is a big player.
CONS:
Very young for a Lead Actor candidate. They'll need to REALLY love the film.

8

Christian Bale
“Hostiles” (Entertainment Studios)

PROS:
Academy Award winner for "The Fighter" said to deliver once again and he's becoming a "default" choice for the Academy (remember his nods for "American Hustle" and "The Big Short?").
CONS:
Film still has no distribution.

9

Tom Hanks
“The Post” (20th Century Fox)

PROS:
Two-time Oscar-winner of "Philadelphia" and "Forrest Gump." Hasn't been nominated since "Cast Away" in 2000. Many also remember his shocking snub for "Captain Phillips." Playing a high-profile figure.
CONS:
It's becoming a trend that we think Tom Hanks is going to make it, until he doesn't (i.e. "Saving Mr. Banks," "Sully").

10

Hugh Jackman
“The Greatest Showman” (20th Century Fox)

PROS:
Previous nominee for "Les Miserables" taking on P.T. Barnum.
CONS:
Was also great in "Logan," which is getting a campaign. Could he split?

OTHER TOP TIER CONTENDERS

11

Matt Damon
“Downsizing” (Paramount Pictures)

PROS:
Two big projects this year and as proved by "The Martian," he can get in for just about anything.
CONS:
He doesn't seem to have the "scene" that nabs him his nomination. Even the Venice crowd didn't cite him as much.

12

Jason Clarke
“Chappaquiddick” (Entertainment Studios)

PROS:
Playing Ted Kennedy, a real life role that is baity enough to garner him recognition after showing promise in roles in "Zero Dark Thirty" and "The Great Gatsby."
CONS:
Can he leapfrog some big names, from bigger studios in Best Actor? Critics need to keep him on their minds.

13

Hugh Jackman
“Logan” (20th Century Fox)

PROS:
Previous nominee for "Les Miserables" who captured the tears of superhero lovers everywhere with his final outing as Wolverine. Very moving.
CONS:
"The Greatest Showman" will likely be the focus for him. Genre.

14

Donald Sutherland
“The Leisure Seeker” (Sony Pictures Classics)

PROS:
Despite an outstanding career, he's never been nominated. The reviews for him are great.
CONS:
The film's buzz is low and it may get the 2018 push back.

15

Sam Elliott
“The Hero” (The Orchard)

PROS:
Veteran actor received career-best reviews. Snubbed for so many, even most recently for "Grandma."
CONS:
Smaller film with an early release. Needs the critics awards to go his way.

16

Denzel Washington
“Roman Israel, Esq.” (Sony Pictures)

PROS:
Just lost his third Oscar for "Fences" and they may still be in the mood for more Denzel.
CONS:
Reviews weren't exactly glowing. He'll likely sit this one out.

17

Chadwick Boseman
“Marshall” (Open Road Films)

PROS:
Has shown promise with well-received performances in films like "42" and "Get On Up." Early word is positive for him.
CONS:
He'll need to show strength at the televised shows.

18

Jeremy Renner
“Wind River” (The Weinstein Company)

PROS:
Previous nominee for "The Hurt Locker" and "The Town" who delivers his best work in years. If there's a push, he can squeeze in.
CONS:
Will TWC focus on the film and his performance?

19

Algee Smith
“Detroit” (Annapurna Pictures)

PROS:
Algee Smith is the closest thing to the film's lead and he's phenomenal in his screen time.
CONS:
It's more of an ensemble and he's a "thinner" lead.

20

Domhnall Gleeson
“Goodbye Christopher Robin” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

PROS:
Gleeson has shown promise for years with terrific turns in "Ex Machina" and "The Revenant."
CONS:
Oscar likes their Best Actor nominees and winners a little older. He'll need to be on Eddie Redmayne/Jesse Eisenberg level to get noticed.

ALSO IN CONTENTION

21

Adam Sandler
“The Meyerowitz Stories (New And Selected)” (Netflix)

PROS:
Has shown great work before ("Punch Drunk Love") and is said to be delivering strong work once again.
CONS:
Is he really a lead? Seems more ensemble.

22

Liam Neeson
“Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down The White House” (Sony Pictures Classics)

PROS:
Previous nominee for "Schindler's List." He seem to rally many for "Silence" until people saw how little his screen time was.
CONS:
This is from the director of "Parkland." He may not be the showcase we're thinking.

23

Ben Stiller
“Brad’s Status” (Amazon Studios)

PROS:
Seems to be in line with "Greenberg," which many liked and felt he should have been in contention for.
CONS:
Film's reviews are not that good to get him in a competitive Oscar race.

24

Steve Carell
“Battle of the Sexes” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

PROS:
Previous nominee for "Foxcatcher" looks as though he's having the time of his life in the trailer.
CONS:
Could be campaigned in Lead Actor and/or split with himself for "Last Flag Flying."

25

Woody Harrelson
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

PROS:
Previous nominee for "Foxcatcher" looks as though he's having the time of his life in the trailer.
CONS:
Could be campaigned in Lead Actor and/or split with himself for "Last Flag Flying."

26

Kenneth Branagh
“Murder on the Orient Express” (20th Century Fox)

PROS:
Five-time nominee (really?) who hasn't had his Oscar moment yet. Can this remake do it for him? Also good in "Dunkirk."
CONS:
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27

Javier Bardem
“mother!” (Paramount Pictures)

PROS:
Oscar-winner for "No Country for Old Men." Is layered with lots
CONS:
May have another film later this year where he plays Pablo Picasso. This also could be about the ladies.

28

Kumail Nanjiani
“The Big Sick” (Amazon Studios)

PROS:
The story has been how great he is in the screenplay that he co-wrote. Globes player?
CONS:
Globes will likely be his best shot for any type of acting recognition. Screenplay is where his focus should be.

29

Daniel Kaluuya
“Get Out” (Universal Pictures)

PROS:
Brings a natural charisma to his role of a man with lots under the surface other than fear.
CONS:
Unknown and the genre is a huge factor.

30

Miles Teller
“Thank You for Your Service” (Universal Pictures)

PROS:
Brings a natural charisma to his role of a man with lots under the surface other than fear.
CONS:
Unknown and the genre is a huge factor.

OTHER POSSIBILITIES

31

Colin Farrell
“The Beguiled” (Focus Features)

PROS:
Golden Globe winner of "In Bruges" has continued to show his range over the years. Can he finally get his due?
CONS:
He's good but not exactly a standout in a film that's full of many standouts.

32

Ryan Gosling
“Blade Runner 2049” (Warner Bros.)

PROS:
The lead role in this long-awaited sequel can offer up a surprise or two...perhaps even a nomination for Gosling following his "La La Land" run last year.
CONS:
The genre does not suggest an acting nomination based on the track record.

33

Robert Redford
“Our Souls At Night” (Netflix)

PROS:
One of his final performances, alongside Jane Fonda. One last time?
CONS:
He's always been more of a directing love for Oscar rather than acting.

34

Doug Jones
“The Shape of Water” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

PROS:
He's the man in the creature. Can he translate outside of that?
CONS:
If Andy Serkis can't do it, then no one can.

35

Lakeith Stanfield
“Crown Heights” (Amazon Studios)

PROS:
Has shown lots of promise after "Short Term 12" with well received performances along the way. Amazon is giving the film a push and he could pop up in places.
CONS:
The film needs to keep building the buzz for anyone get in. He's also young by Best Actor standards.

36

Ali Fazal
“Victoria and Abdul” (Focus Features)

PROS:
Holds his own remarkably against the veteran Judi Dench.
CONS:
It's hard for "newcomers" to enter the Best Actor fray. He also borders on Supporting.

37

Robert Pattinson
“Good Time” (A24)

PROS:
There are vocal admirers of his work and his post-Twilight career has been steadily rising. Could he be moving towards his eventual Oscar nomination?
CONS:
He needs to do a few more high-profile and well-received films before Oscar bites.

38

Matt Damon
“Suburbicon” (Paramount Pictures)

PROS:
A possible double threat with both this and "Downsizing?"
CONS:
Not based on the early reviews.

39

Andy Serkis
“War for the Planet of the Apes” (20th Century Fox)

PROS:
People have been shouting for an Honorary Oscar for sometime. Doesn't feel like an acting nomination is more apt since it's exactly what he's been doing for this entire franchise? Some voters may feel compelled.
CONS:
They have foolishly campaigned him supporting before. Honestly, actors don't care or see the magic of this...yet.

40

Joel Edgerton
“It Comes at Night” (A24)

PROS:
Helms the horror-thriller with an impeccable precision. Feels like something people will notice...
CONS:
...if they watch the film and even then, it's very uncomfortable horror.

CLICK THE CATEGORY TO SEE THE OSCAR PREDICTIONS:

MOTION PICTURE | DIRECTOR |
LEAD ACTOR | LEAD ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | 
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE |
PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING | SOUND MIXING | SOUND EDITING | VISUAL EFFECTS |
ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG |
| FOREIGN LANGUAGE |

  • Alec Glass

    Would love some more thoughts as to your predicting Joaquin Phoenix’s nom? I’m so tempted to hop on that train as well but between the fact that he’s not exactly the kind of celebrity that campaigns well are and the potential genre bias against the film for an acting nom, it gives me pause… and yet that Cannes win is sweet…

  • Sentinel666

    My predictions :

    1.James Franco “The Disaster Artist”
    2.Daniel Day-Lewis “Phantom Thread”
    3.Gary Oldman “Darkest Hour”
    4.Joaquin Phoenix “You Were Never Really Here”
    5. Bryan Cranston “Last Flag Flying”

    Next in line :

    6.Denzel Washington “Roman Israel, Esq”
    7.Jake Gyllenhaal “Stronger”
    8.Donald Sutherland “The Leissure Seeker”
    9.Daniel Kaluuya “Get Out”
    10.Hugh Jackman “The Greatest Showman”

    • chrosTV

      They did not even include Franco? Are they kidding?

      • Sentinel666

        And He is at 12! But Joaquin Phoenix disappeared :/

  • mads

    Steve Carell a former nominee for ‘Trumbo’?

    • Rapid Readers

      Now, it says former nominee for Les Miserables, and was also good in Logan ?!??

      • Facebook User

        It’s ridiculous how this once “cool site” is being so neglected.

        • Avi Saks

          You do realize they do predictions, not just top 5 either (top 40 for some, top 50 for best picture, 25 for some) with pros and cons for a lot of the films, besides that they do news, podcasts, reviews, FYC tracker, etc. They are busy. Everything won’t always be the most up to date.

  • chrosTV

    Did they throw Sandler and Pattinson out of the race?!

  • Facebook User

    How Jake G. is not in the Top 5 a this time, when all the others work hasn’t been released yet is amazing. This site is really losing people’s interest.

    • “Prediction”. It generally involves guessing things that haven’t happened yet. It wouldn’t be much of a site if it only took into account films that have been released.

    • Todd H

      What people would that be exactly?

      You and……??

      In other words, you are pissy at a Prediction you don’t like, and now suddenly try to say the site is losing interest. (Funny how you post as “Facebook User”, rather than having the balls to at least attach a name to your comment

  • Baggins

    If they really want to get Franco that nomination, their best bet is to not only get nominated but win the Golden Globe for best comedy actor. alot of the time the winner of that award will get the oscar nod.

    • Emi Grant

      They really have a strong chance at winning the Globe for Best Comedy/Musical Actor, only people threatening their chances are Hugh Jackman (who we still haven’t watched) and Kumail Nainjiani

  • Sentinel666

    my predictions (2):

    1.James Franco “The Disaster Artist”
    2.Gary Oldman “Darkest Hour”
    3.Daniel Day-Lewis “Phantom Thread”
    4.Joaquin Phoenix “You Were Never Really Here”
    5.Sam Elliot “The Hero”

    next in line:

    6.Denzel Washington “Roman Israel, esq”
    7.Jake Gyllenhaal “Stronger”
    8.Bryan Cranston or Steve Carrell “Last Flag Flying”
    9.Jeremy Renner “Wind River”
    10. Daniel Kaluuya “Get Out”

  • Eric Benzema

    Jonathan Rhys Meyers just snagged Best Actor at the Boston Film Festival.

  • John Smisek

    Have you COMPLETELY forgotten James McAvoy in Split? This is still the best performance of the year. It’s a stretch but he is still safely in at least the top 10

    • michaeldal65

      Way too early a release.

      • John Smisek

        The performance is too good to make a difference.

        Silence of the Lambs

        • Silence of the Lambs went on to win the Big Five. Split will likely be nominated for one or two Saturn Awards at best. Reviews were just ok (62 Metascore) and it was a box-office hit, but nothing more than that. It wasn’t a game-changer in any way, shape or form. It’ll be a long time before people start giving an M. Night Shyamalan movie important awards nominations again. Which is too bad, because McAvoy really is great and deserves to be nominated. But he won’t.

  • Baggins

    my picks as of right now in alphabetical order

    James Franco – The Disaster Artist
    Andrew Garfield – Breathe
    Tom Hanks – The Post
    Hugh Jackman – The Greatest Showman
    Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour

  • Lucas Le Moal

    frankly, if Hugh Jackman gets nominated but not for Logan, I quit keeping an eye on the Oscars !

    • The man’s range as an actor from heavy drama to singing/dancing spectacular while making it all look easy deserves the nomination for either film.

  • Lucas Le Moal

    To me, it’s clear they deserve the nomination : Hugh Jackman (Logan), Gary Oldman (The Darkest Hour), Jake Gyllenhaal (Stronger), Matt Damon (Downsizing), Robert Pattinson (Good Time)

  • John

    What do you have against Harry Dean Stanton? I don’t think he’s getting nominated, but I’d say he should be in a top 40.

  • michaeldal65

    Feel confident you can remove Bardem from any discussion. For mother!, it will NEVER happen.

    • Sentinel666

      like Joel Edgerton, Doug Jones, Matt Damon (for “Suburbicon”), Kenneth Branagh, Robert Redford (because of Netflix), Adam Sandler, Hugh Jackman (for “The Greatest Showman”, probably weak role and film), Andrew Garfield (very weak reviews for “Breathe”).

    • Emi Grant

      I think he would still have a chance going for supporting. His performance is pretty damn great (despite what anyone thinks of the film), and there might be a chance of not being total category fraud since Jen does have the majority of the screen time.

  • Patrick Downing

    Jeremy Renner is finally getting some traction for Wind River. Oldman is the only lock so far.

  • Hugh lost to DDL when he should have won. Oldman is the front runner, but I would hate to see Hugh lose in an actor heavy year when he has the Logan backup to show major range, and is it Prisoners all over again with Jackman and Gyllenhaal in competition?

    • Emi Grant

      *Implying DDL shouldn’t have won for Lincoln*

  • Michael

    Does this Harvey scandal take Renner out of a top ten? Genuinely wondering…

  • michaeldal65

    Just a little heads up. You have the same pros and cons for Miles Teller and Jason Clarke.

  • DaKardii

    It’s only been a few days, so anything can happen. But I’m convinced that the fallout from the Weinstein scandal is going to have a major negative effect on any actors or actresses who have received Oscar nominations working for him. For that reason:

    -I would move Daniel Day-Lewis down to the “Other Top Tier Contenders” category.

    -I would remove Matt Damon, Christian Bale, and Kenneth Branagh from the list entirely. Bale and Branagh because they are too low on the list to survive being moved down, and Damon because the revelation that he tried to cover up the scandal could mean the end of his career.

    • Sentinel666

      “The Leisure Seeker” will released in USA on january 19th, so Donald Sutherland won’t be nominated in 100%.

      • DaKardii

        You’re right. Thanks.

  • Paul Skye Karim Kahawaty

    What’s good about Kumail Nanjiani in ” The Big Sick”, his performance in there is so mediocre, what kind of move is this, so-called Oscar experts, a political statement, simply to show people of Brown skin that they’re being accepted and treated equally?!

    • Emi Grant

      He’s hilarious and has some pretty good scenes, what are you talking about?

    • Emi Grant

      He’s hilarious and has some pretty good scenes, what are you talking about?

  • Jonathan

    Sandler is being campaigned in Supporting

  • DaKardii

    Remove Cumberbatch from the list. “The Current War” has been pushed back to 2018 due to the chaos at TWC caused by Harvey’s scandal.

  • Has an actor ever been nominated in this category for a film with reviews as tepid as Breathe?
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e675dd64ee6a00cbe5206cfb0de78809f9b1099b546aee3022a0727ea5a84bbe.jpg

    • Jonathan

      I think the last time was Sean Penn in “I Am Sam”, which has 28 on Metacritic (even worse).

      • Coincidentally (or perhaps not), another case of an actor playing a role with a disability.

      • Coincidentally (or perhaps not), another case of an actor playing a role with a disability.

  • Sentinel666

    I can’t understand why Garfield is so high…

  • John

    Well Harry Dean Stanton has been nominated for the Gotham award, not a major precursor but still a precursor, that should at least give him the number 40 spot. Your lack of Stanton on your list is nonsensical.

  • Sentinel666

    my predictions (3):

    1.James Franco “The Disaster Artist”
    2.Daniel Day-Lewis “Phantom Thread”
    3.Gary Oldman “Darkest Hour”
    4.Jake Gyllenhaal “Stronger”
    5.Robert Pattinson “Good Time” (I’m not kidding)

    next in line:

    6.Denzel Washington “Roman Israel, esq”
    7.Timothee Chalamet “Call Me By Your Name”
    8.Daniel Kaluuya “Get Out”
    9.Sam Elliot ‘The Hero”
    10.Jeremy Renner “Wind River”