If you need more evidence that 2015 was the rise of the women in Hollywood – finally – look no further than the lead actor and actress categories. Lead actress this year is, as we said, loaded. Meanwhile, the typically overstuffed Best Actor nominee pool is relatively thin. Aside from a few locks, the Academy may stretch to fill out Best Actor this year with some smaller roles in smaller films; which, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
There were plenty of films with lead performances hopeful to get into this race but, alas, they didn’t deliver the goods (I’m looking at you, Johnny Depp). Here we go…
Leo Leo Leo DiCaprio… may just win a lifetime achievement Oscar for his role in The Revenant. I know he ate raw animal livers and slept in carcasses and the shoot was incredibly arduous, believe me I know guys. We all know. Stop talking about it, DiCaprio will get his nomination and likely his win. I hope he wins just so the DiCaprio memes will stop. But there are four other actors left to fill out this category. I expect Matt Damon to grab a spot here for his (practically) one-man show in The Martian. Damon embodies Andy Weir’s Mark Watney perfectly, and perhaps he could sneak in and steal Leo’s thunder.
Despite the abysmal box office of Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs picture, Michael Fassbender should grab a nomination playing the title role. Jobs is positioning itself to be the oft-nominated film to get shutout this year. That leaves two spots and, with such a thin field, only a few legitimate candidates left to fill these two.
Bryan Cranston gave it a shot with Trumbo, but I doubt his performance will be noticed as the film is mediocre at best. And yes, Johnny Depp went all in for a nomination once again, playing Whitey Bulger in Black Mass, but the end result was just more proof his time as a genuine performer has apparently passed. One of these final two slots may in fact belong to Michael Caine for his performance in Youth. Eddie Redmayne may have designs on this fifth spot in overrated Tom Hooper’s overrated drama The Danish Girl, but I feel a surprise on the way.
This surprise has as much to do with diversity as it does true justification. The Oscars have repeatedly been criticized for whitewashing the ceremony, no more so than last year. Which leads me to Michael B. Jordan, who will be the surprise nomination this year for his performance in Creed. Jordan is absolutely deserving, make no mistake, and I would prefer his nomination over any of the other hopefuls mentioned here.
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
Matt Damon – The Martian
Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
Michael Caine – Youth
Michael B. Jordan – Creed
Up next week we predict Best Director and Best Picture ahead of the January 14th nominations.
Best Supporting Actor Predictions
Best Supporting Actress Predictions