1) Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”
2) Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”
3) Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
4) Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”
5) Matt Damon, “The Martian”
For years and years, the internet has lost its collective shit over Leonardo DiCaprio not winning an Oscar for any of the roles he’s been nominated for. And while many would argue that the time has finally come, we need to weigh the different options and see if we can predict any possible upsets.
Last year, about a month after Eddie Redmayne won in this very category for his work in The Theory of Everything, news surfaced of the actor achieving the feat not repeated since Tom Hanks in 95: winning in the same category twice in a row. The poster of The Danish Girl ignited it all, and with that, the buzz about the actor’s performance dominated discussions that pertained to this category.
It was the remake (yet another) of Steve Jobs that stole some of the spotlight away from Redmayne, with the film’s star Michael Fassbender delivering a tour de force performance that has had him pick up accolades left and right. In a truly inspired turn, Fassbender captivates and enamours, becoming a bit of a dark horse in the Oscar race.
Trumbo saw Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston‘s foret back to the big screen in an unforgettable performance this year. The actor is no stranger to award shows as Breaking Bad, one of the highest rated shows in TV history, earned dozens of statues in its time. But is his a winning performance? No. As good as it is, it doesn’t quite leave the viewer in awe of the sheer talent that is displayed, as was the case last year.
The fourth nominee is also no stranger to the Oscars. A previous nominee and winner himself, it’s no surprise Matt Damon is back to the spotlight. He stars as astronaut Mark Watney in The Martian, Ridley Scott‘s most recent effort. While the same can be said of Cranston and Damon, one thing that can be added is that the latter’s film was larger than his role, and that will ultimately be his downfall. Despite having won the Golden Globe, it is our firm belief that Damon will not emerge victorious come Oacar Sunday.
The four join DiCaprio to make up thr five nominees in this category. While the buzz surrounding DiCaprio‘s take on Hugh Glass was positive when the film had its limited release, he wasn’t considered a contender for the win. But when news of his trials during filming were made public, coupled with the overwhelming reception The Revenant got, DiCaprio emerged as the possible winner. With a Golden Globe win under his belt already, prospects are looking strong for the actor.
That said, a Golden Globe doesn’t ensure an Oscar win. It gives the actor an edge, yes, but history (and logic, as there can only be one Best Actor in the Oscars but two Best Actors in the Globes) has proven otherwise. DiCaprio himself won the Globe for The Wolf of Wall Stree, but lost the Oscar.
Another thing that might hinder DiCaprio‘s road to the win is a recent trend in Best Actor winners whereby the winner has always portrayed a significant character. A king, an AIDS awareness and curing activist, and Stephen Hawking are the past three character whose actors won. In this respect, Lili Elbe, Steve Jobs, or even Dalton Trumbo would perhaps trump Hugh Glass, who is inspirational in his own right, but not someone who has faced something unprecedented — uncommon as that may be.
So, here’s how it’s looking:
Winner: Leonardo DiCaprio
Possible upset: Michael Fassbender
Honourable mention: Eddie Redmayne