1) Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
2) Christian Bale, The Big Short
3) Tom Hardy, The Revenant
4) Sylvester Stallone, Creed
5) Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
When I first saw the list of nominees in this category, I was quite shocked to see not one, but two major snubs. Not only did I think Room‘s Jacob Tremblay deserved a nomination, I also thought that the talented young actor actually deserved to win. He gave what was, to me, one of the best performances of the year, and so to see him snubbed was a huge shock. Another name missing from thay list is Beasts of No Nation‘s Idris Elba, whose masterful delivery has completely been neglected and the actor wronged.
But who would have lost his spot had the aforementioned actors been nominated? In a nutshell, Christian Bale and Mark Ruffalo.
Christian Bale stars as a doctor turned financial wiz in The Big Short. While his performance is generally a very good one, and the actor adds his own flavour to the already quirky character, I would probably either substitute him, or add him as a sixth nominee. It could have made for a much more interesting race.
Mark Ruffalo stars in Spotlight in what is another great performance by the actor. One of the main reasons I’m quite fond of Ruffalo is the actor’s belief in the authenticity of his own characters. In every role he plays, much like his work in Spotlight, he is believable in his delivery, which is the main reason he is on this list. That said, and as close a call it is, perhaps this spot should have also been given to someone else. Am I particularly angry with his nomination? Not really. Would I substitute him for Tremblay or Elba? Probably.
That narrows it down to the three main contenders: Stallone, Rylance, and Hardy.
Sylvester Stallone has been named the comeback kid ever since the actor reclaimed his A-list status with his performance in Creed. It had been a while since the actor was involved in anything critically-acclaimed, so to see him pick up two major Oscar precursors in this category already — the Golden Globe and the Critics’ Choice Award — has delighted fans all around. Everyone loves the underdog, and while the race started off a lot differentlyy, Stallone seems to be charging ahead.
The race, in fact, belonged to Mark Rylance for his work in Bridge of Spies. Early buzz named the actor the likely winner, and seeing him nominated for every major award seemed to lock it in. That is, until Stallone‘s winning streak began. The game is not over yet, of course. While his star power might be down, the same cannot be said of Bridge of Spies which has been well-received by the Academy with 6 Oscar nods. That might give Rylance a bit of a push, but is it likely to push him to victory? I wouldn’t bet on it.
Rounding up this category is surprise nominee Tom Hardy for his work in the ever-hyped The Revenant, Alejandro G. Iñarritu‘s follow-up to his Best Picture winner, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). When the film first came out, I had nothing but praise for his acting, but lack of nominations in some major awards didn’t look good for the actor. Abd while Tremblay and Elba didn’t get their much-deserved moment in the Sun, I’m glad Hardy did at least. His turn as Firzgerald in The Revenant renderred the actor completely unrecognisable — a stark contrast to most of his previous roles, and one that showcases the actor’s talent. Is it enough to win, though? The buzz generated by the film as well as its garnering an astounding 12 nominations have set the actor up for a possible upset. The way it’s looking now, it’s going to be the comeback kid VS. the dark horse.
Here’s my prediction:
Winner: Sylvester Stallone
Possible upset: Tom Hardy
Honourable mention: Mark Rylance