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Premature Oscar Predictions: The 2014 Best Actor Nominees

Awards
by Oliver Lyttelton
February 27, 2013 2:45 PM
37 Comments
  • |

Possibilities

Tom Hanks - "Saving Mr. Banks"/"Captain Phillips"
Despite five nominations and two (consecutive) awards, it'll be thirteen years since Tom Hanks was last nominated for an Oscar by the time the 2014 ceremony rolls around. But fortunately for him, he's got his best chance in years with a pair of films due for release in the next twelve months. In the first, Paul Greengrass' true story tale "Captain Phillips," Hanks plays the captain of the Maersk Alabama, that was held hostage by Somalian pirates. In the second, he's playing none other than Walt Disney, in "Saving Mr. Banks," which tells the story of the making of "Mary Poppins." The big question is which of the two turns out to be the one that vies for Oscar. Greengrass' films haven't traditionally been great showcases for actors, but this sounds like it could be the exception. Meanwhile, Walt Disney is an iconic role, but from the script, it's perhaps less showy than Emma Thompson's P.L. Travers. And then there's the possibility that the two films split the Hanks vote and leave him empty-handed (it would help if 'Banks' was cheated into a supporting turn, but that's a fairly big ask).

Leonardo DiCaprio - "Wolf Of Wall Street"/"Great Gatsby"
Despite three nominations, Leonardo DiCaprio has yet to actually win an Oscar, his part in "Django Unchained" having failed to make the cut this year, in favor of co-star Christoph Waltz. He's talking about taking a break from acting, but first up, he's got two big parts on the way, in the shape of Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" and Martin Scorsese's "Wolf Of Wall Street." Strictly speaking, the former is, at least in the novel, technically a supporting part, but Warner Bros are likely to campaign it as the lead (he is the title character, after all), while there isn't much option for category fraud in "Wolf Of Wall Street." It's hard to tell at this stage which is the more viable option (we'd lean with 'Gatsby,' but the film's production troubles give us pause), and so we wonder if DiCaprio might end up missing out once again.

Idris Elba - "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom"
Four of the last five years have seen an actor from a Weinstein Company film pick up an Oscar nomination, and this year, the best chance the company have could come from British actor Idris Elba. Already nominated for Golden Globes and Emmys for "Luther," and winning increasingly major roles in studio tentpoles (he has "Pacific Rim" and "Thor: The Dark World" on the way this year), Elba follows in the footsteps of Morgan Freeman and Terrence Howard to play Nelson Mandela. It might seem like an odd fit at first, but one forgets that Mandela is 6'4, so Elba's imposing frame is actually a solid fit. And he's certainly charismatic and talented enough to pull the part off. Even if the film disappoints, Elba could certainly be someone to watch in this category, particularly with Harvey Weinstein pushing him.

Oscar Isaac - "Inside Llewyn Davis"
One of the more consistently underrated actors of the last few years, Oscar Isaac finally started getting the attention he'd long been due thanks to his role in "Drive." And while he's got a few potentials on the way that could grab awards attention ("Therese" with Elizabeth Olsen, "The Two Faces Of January"), easily his best chance at his first Oscar nod comes with the Coen Brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis." Isaac has the title role, and the film's trailer suggests that he's very much front-and-center, and he looks absolutely terrific, funny and charismatic. The Coens' leading men haven't always had much luck awards-wise (Jeff Bridges in "True Grit," is the only time someone earned a Best Actor nomination for one of their films), but this could change here. Our big question is with stiff competition, will enough people know who Isaac is? And moreover, does CBS Films have the resources to make it happen?

Anne Marie Fox
Forest Whitaker - "The Butler"
As we've discussed before, Forest Whitaker's had one of the more depressing post-Oscar careers around, with various DTV releases and short-lived TV series. But he's got a damn good chance at a comeback with "The Butler." The part, originally intended for Denzel Washington, is that of Eugene Allen, who worked for eight different presidents at the White House, so there's a lot to play with there. The Weinstein Company are putting the film out, which always helps, and for all his flaws as a director, Lee Daniels has proved impressive with actors in the past, helping Mo'nique win her "Precious" Oscar. Still, we wonder if the role may prove to be too passive, more of a sounding board for the various actors cameoing as presidents, than anything else. We'll find out later in the year.

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37 Comments

  • JACK CRAWFORD | October 28, 2013 11:10 PMReply

    my predictions
    best supp actress 2014 nominees

    nyongo
    roberts
    seydoux
    scott thomas
    winfrey

  • BERNIE ROSE | October 28, 2013 11:08 PMReply

    my predictions
    best supp actor 2014 nominees

    abdi
    fassbender
    goodman
    gosling
    pansringarm

  • MIRANDA PRIESTLY | October 28, 2013 11:07 PMReply

    my predictions
    best actress 2014 predictions
    blanchett
    bullock
    exarchopolous
    larson
    streep

  • JORDAN BELFORT | October 28, 2013 11:04 PMReply

    my predictions
    best actor 2014 nominees
    dicaprio
    ejiofor
    hanks
    quaid
    redford

  • Michael M. | March 31, 2013 11:01 PMReply

    Let me make this clear, insofar as the ACADEMY:

    Best Actor: Chiwetal Ejiofor - Twelve years a slave (Runner Up: Leonardo Dicaprio)
    Best Picture: Untitled Abscam Project (Runner up: George Clooney, Martin Scorsese).
    Best Director: David O. Russell (Runner up: Wolf of Wall Street, Monuments Men).

    Personally Ejiofor should win, I mean come on? A gut-wrenching portrayal as the kidnapped Solomon Northup. With that given I think it's almost unavoidable, although DiCaprio could pull off an upset considering he's in Scorsese's highly anticipated project. While BD and BP are up for grabs, I wouldn't necessarily mind Russell winning. He's a solid director with Weinstein backing him, and an academy darling as of late. Although I could easily see Clooney walking away for his highly touted historical piece "The Monuments Men" as well. With that being said, alas! something in me yells: WILL YOU GIVE IT TO MALICK ALREADY!

    Anything else?

  • Jamie | March 8, 2013 6:06 PMReply

    Need to keep an eye on Hugh Jackman in Prisoners. The Academy will want to apologize for having to give the award to DDL when Jackman actually earned it.

  • Michael | March 5, 2013 4:12 PMReply

    Great job, just mention pretty much EVERY film released late in 2013 so you can pat yourself on the back for "predicting" the acting nominees...wonderful feat!

  • Jo | March 2, 2013 11:11 AMReply

    Watch out for PRISONERS, a top-rated 2009 Black List script, which may produce some gripping performances from Hugh Jackman, Paul Dano, and Melissa Leo. The strong cast also includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis and Terence Howard.

  • Allie | March 3, 2013 1:04 AM

    I agree. I think it could turn out to be a really strong contender.

  • Kiss From France | March 1, 2013 5:30 PMReply

    Apparently, Leo said to Jean Dujardin that all the things he does and has suggested in "The Wolf of Wall Street" - sex and drug stuffs I guess - could make him banished from the area forever !

    Dujardin added that Leo gave all his guts in the part. So, to the people who claim he takes no risks anymore because of the consistent serious, depressing and ambiguous characters and choices them just to get a award : give me a breaaaak (that what Leo's doing by the way, mouhaha !!)

  • John | February 28, 2013 2:46 PMReply

    there is no way your 5 are making the cut in what you admit is a category that always sees familiar names/a-listers. Your 5 are all never-been-nominateds and that's, frankly, just 100% unrealistic. Benedict Cumberbatch seems like the only sure bet out of your 5 imo. Dicaprio and Hanks are two other sure bets that you stupidly left out.

  • - | February 28, 2013 12:41 PMReply

    I think Leo getting nominated is a pretty sure thing, seeing as his best work is often in Scorsesse films. (that is, unless the film ends up being really terrible)

  • bapi | February 28, 2013 8:19 AMReply

    Also Christian Bale in Out of the Furnace.

  • Alan B | February 28, 2013 2:12 AMReply

    Dennis Quaid Serious Face! Dennis Quaid Serious Face! Give the award to the Quaid-ster.

  • Tom | February 27, 2013 10:05 PMReply

    @Allan I dunno about you man but Cumberbatch's nickname in the TrekMovie is Cumby (other times, BC or nuSherlock). So there. And it is not just the gossip sites that call Fassbender Fassy, you know.

  • JB | February 27, 2013 8:02 PMReply

    Bale will indeed be a longshot as Weinberg for the Abscam movie. Thirty years ago, the plan for a movie with Weinberg as a likeable conman was scuttled after his wife committed suicide after revealing his nefarious activities on the side. And Weinberg himself is involved in both the old and new projects.

  • que | February 27, 2013 6:52 PMReply

    How is James McAvoy not on this list? The guy has 5 films coming out this year, including leading, vastly different roles in Filth, Trance, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby.

  • Travis Mills | February 27, 2013 4:52 PMReply

    Let's not forget, with talk from David Gordon Green, about Nicolas Cage in "Joe"

  • prakshid | February 27, 2013 4:29 PMReply

    Best Motion Picture
    "August Osage County"
    "The Counselor"
    "Dallas Buyer's Club"
    "Foxcatcher"
    "Labor Day"
    "Monuments Men"
    "Saving Mr. Banks"
    "Twelve Years a Slave"
    "Untitled David O Russell ABSCAM Project "- American Bullshit
    "The Wolf Of Wall Street"

    Best Actor In A Leading Role
    Tom Hanks - "Saving Mr. Banks"
    Leonardo Di Caprio - "The Wolf Of Wall Street"
    Matthew McConaughey - "Dallas Buyers Club"
    Christian Bale - "Untitled David O. Russell Project"
    Steve Carell - "Foxcatcher"

  • prakshid | February 27, 2013 4:23 PMReply

    My Top 30 Most Anticipated Hollywood Films of 2013
    1.THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
    2.THE COUNSELOR
    3. FOXCATCHER
    4.MONUMENTS MEN
    5.THE GREAT GATSBY
    6.SAVING Mr. BANKS
    7.THE DALLAS BUYER'S CLUB
    8.AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY
    9.Untitled Project by David O. Russell
    10.Untitled Project by TERRENCE MALICK
    11.KNIGHT OF CUPS
    12. TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE
    13.LABOR DAY
    14.ONLY GOD FORGIVES
    15.RUSH
    16.NEBRASKA
    17.SERENA
    18.GRAVITY
    19.OUT OF THE FURNACE
    20.CAPTAIN PHILLIPS
    21.HER
    22.LOWLIFE
    23.THE BUTLER
    24.DIANA
    25. OLDBOY
    26.TRANCE
    27.INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
    28.TO THE WONDER
    29. BEFORE MIDNIGHT
    30.THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES

  • cirkusfolk | February 27, 2013 4:13 PMReply

    Your link for lasts years piece takes us to the piece from two years ago.

  • russ | February 27, 2013 4:11 PMReply

    Anyone have a copy of the abscam script there willing to send my way. would be very nice to take a look at that.

  • prakshid | February 27, 2013 4:37 PM

    Which are the other film's script do you have?

  • Tom | February 27, 2013 4:10 PMReply

    Is Cumby confirmed in the "The Imitation Game" already because I want to see that film ASAP!!!

  • Allan | February 27, 2013 5:08 PM

    I don't think it's very likely this movie would be released within this year, considering the earliest possible filming schedule is after they wrap up filming for Series 3 of Sherlock, which may be in late summer, and Cumberbatch already has five movies line up for 2013. BTW, do you also call Fassbender Fassy, Gosling Gossy and Meryl Streep Streepy? Funny that some of The Playlist readers now seem from some gossip sites? Seriously, Cumberbatch isn't really that uncommon as a surname.

  • Allan | February 27, 2013 5:08 PM

    I don't think it's very likely this movie would be released within this year, considering the earliest possible filming schedule is after they wrap up filming for Series 3 of Sherlock, which may be in late summer, and Cumberbatch already has five movies line up for 2013. BTW, do you also call Fassbender Fassy, Gosling Gossy and Meryl Streep Streepy? Funny that some of The Playlist readers now seem from some gossip sites? Seriously, Cumberbatch isn't really that uncommon as a surname.

  • Jen | February 27, 2013 4:50 PM

    Yes it was confirmed on the producer's website.

  • Tom | February 27, 2013 4:09 PMReply

    Is Cumby confirmed in the "The Imitation Game" already because I want to see that film ASAP!!!

  • Tom | February 27, 2013 4:09 PMReply

    Is Cumby confirmed in the "The Imitation Game" already because I want to see that film ASAP!!!

  • oliver | February 27, 2013 4:17 PM

    Cumberbatch is confirmed for Alan Turing in the Imitation Game. His name is on the Production team's website. http://blackbearpictures.com/films-coming-soon/the-imitation-game/ Also a friend of his on twitter confirmed it too.

  • Tom | February 27, 2013 4:06 PMReply

    Is Cumby confirmed in the "The Imitation Game" already because I want to see that film ASAP!!!

  • Oliver | February 27, 2013 4:02 PMReply

    I'm most excited to see Cumberbatch as Assange and dearly would love him to win the Oscar. I've never seen him in a role where he doesnt deserve an award!!! However without a Weinstein type of figure pulling the strings with a huge pr budget no actor has a cat in hells chance of winning the award.

  • oogle monster | February 27, 2013 3:29 PMReply

    Why is everything underlined? I am currently being underlined. This is weird, Playlist! What's going on? Also Leo seems like a sure bet especially over your other contenders (for Wolf of Wall Street). I would also argue Christian Bale in Out of the Furnace and possibly Gosling in Place Beyond the Pines. But first, the underlining!

  • Liz | February 27, 2013 3:46 PM

    The underlining thing sometimes happens to me too (in Firefox). I refresh the page, open in a new tab, or close the window entirely, but it comes and goes seemingly in a completely random way.

  • Rex | February 27, 2013 3:05 PMReply

    Bruce Dern is winning. Dallas Buyers Club is gonna be a complete piece of shit.

  • brace | February 27, 2013 2:51 PMReply

    I'm always rooting for new contenders so your pick for best actor is perfectly fine with me.

  • cranly | February 28, 2013 1:45 AM

    Benicio Del Toro for Jimmy Picard. Well worth considering, I should think. A prime candidate for this year's Cannes best actor award, at the very least.

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