We’ve done screenplays and supportings, let’s move on to the leads!
Javier Bardem, Being The Ricardos
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power Of The Dog
Andrew Garfield, Tick Tick… BOOM!
Will Smith, King Richard
Denzel Washington, The Tragedy Of MacBeth
WHO WILL WIN?: Who’s the kid in the drop? Who else? Will Smith. Smith, in his third nominee and his first in fifteen years, seems to be primed to take home the hardware. He’s won all the right prerequisites and this is a good role for him (though not nearly his best), and it feels like it’s his time. Which is too bad for…
WHO SHOULD WIN?: Benedict Cumberbatch has, in The Power Of The Dog, given the best performance of his career so far. He is absolutely masterful as a rancher dealing with the marriage of his brother, his own masculinity, and many, many other issues. Cumberbatch needs a big performance in this film, and he is no stranger to those. He always knows how to play larger than life. But he is able to hit the smaller, sensitive beats so fucking well. In a year of great performances, this is one of the best.
UPSET SPECIAL: This feels like Smith’s race, but the one man who seems prime to catch him could be Denzel Washington. He is masterful in The Tragedy Of MacBeth, and brings a new definition and understanding to the role, which is impressive considering how long this role has been around. He brings a heaviness and weariness to his crown and brings us all in to feel it, as well. It’s a powerful performance from a powerhouse actor and if Smith doesn’t win, Washington seems primed to be there to catch another Oscar.
WHO GOT SNUBBED?: You’ve heard me talk about this performance in multiple columns now, and it was the only nomination I predicted with my heart. In a perfect world, Nicolas Cage gets not only a nomination but the win for Pig. Javier Bardem should be sitting this one out.
Jessica Chastain, The Eyes Of Tammy Faye
Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter
Penélope Cruz, Parallel Mothers
Nicole Kidman, Being The Ricardos
Kristen Stewart, Spencer
WHO WILL WIN?: This is going to be another one of the times when who will win, who should win, and who is the potential upset will all be different, and I guess that’s fun, unless you’re the person who should win. But let’s start with who will win, and that’s Jessica Chastain. It’s not my favorite performance of hers, but like Smith, her third nomination feels like it’s the one where she’ll finally be recognized. She is really great in this role, and has been recognized by enough other entities to show how respected she is as an actress. I’m not mad about it, buuuuuuut…
WHO SHOULD WIN?: With The Lost Daughter, Olivia Colman gives a better performance than she did when she won the Oscar for The Favourite. The pain and grief and confusion and uncomfortable nature her character delivers are just perfect and set the tone for such a emotional movie. Colman has been on fire lately and, if it were up to me, she would become the new Meryl Streep and just have every performance get nominated. She deserves it. She’s just that good.
UPSET SPECIAL: On the off chance Chastain’s name is called on Oscar night, there’s a better than even chance that, with her first nomination, Kristen Stewart will be winning for her performance of Princess Diana in Spencer. Stewart has been the critical darling this year, and deservedly so, as she gives a wonderful and transformative performance, even though I didn’t care particularly much for the film. She is stunning and radiant in the movie and could represent the start of her generation of actors getting their recognition.
WHO GOT SNUBBED?: I may not know how to pronounce her name, but I do know that Renate Reinsve gave one of the best performances of the year in The Worst Person In The World, which I announced should (but won’t) win Best Original Screenplay. There’s not a lot for me to say about Reinsve because I don’t know a lot about her other than that she’s perfect in this role and deserves to be among these nominees, so we’ll put her in and take Nicole Kidman out.