The Top 20 Best Actor Oscar Contenders Ranked

It’s that time of week again where I give you a status report on the Oscar race. This week, the Top 20 Actor choices.

1) Brendan Fraser (The Whale)

The absolute lock. There is no way he doesn’t get nominated, and honestly, I think he’s the closest in any category to being the lock to win. He’s really far ahead, and his narrative of skipping the Golden Globes this year due to past harassment from an HFPA member will only endear him. Will he win every pre-cursor? no. but when this comes down to five, his name will be there, and just like Aronofsky did for Natalie Portman, he will do for Fraser. It’s the comeback story of the year. Furry Vengeance and Monkeybone star wins Best Actor.

2) Colin Farrell (The Banshees Of inusharon)

It feels like he should already be an Oscar nominee, but this is his first. or, will be. his strong showing in the crowd pleasing Martin McDonaugh film has made him a lock in this race, and his other performances in the well reviewed After Yang and The Batman this year only further his chances. Can he win? i think he’s the only one who could upset.

3) Austin Butler (Elvis)

I ahve to give it to Butler, who is holding in there really well. his name constantly comes up, and his film is from July. Everyone still admires what he did, and I think he’s got a good shot at a nomination, but he’s not a lock. Just a really safe bet.

4) Gabriel LaBelle (The Fablemans)

After Butlr, the last two spots are wide open. The Fablemans has a lot of strength here, and LaBelle is essentially playing a young Spielberg. Sure, he’s not well known, but neither is Butler. This category doesn’t like nominating young guys, save your random Chalamet nominations, but I think starring in a front runner makes him a strong choice. Very much not a lock. No one from here on down is even a safe bet.

5) Jeremy pope (The inspector)

Not many people have seen this, but Gotham nominations mean that people have somewhere. It doesn’t quite have the buzz, but looking at all the non-white actors in this race, and Broadway’s pope seems poised to make this race at least a tiny bit diverse. This is a very wide open race, and I don’t think his performance or his film has hit his stride. Fun fact, if I get this right, all five nominees right now would be first time nominees.

6) Bill Nighy (Living)

I’ve heard he is really good. the film is small, Nighy has been around forever without an Oscar nomination. This could be his year, but it will take a big push from (I believe) Sony Classics to make this happen. It’s not impossible, but Nighy has been passed over before.

7) Tom Cruise (Top Gun Maverick)

his last acting nomination was for Supporting Actor in Magnolia, so a return to the Oscars for the biggest movie star seems possible. box office hits sometimes land nominations, like Jonny Depp in Pirates, or Charlize Theron in Mad Max Fury Road. This becomes more possible if Top Gun manages a Best Picture slot.

8) Diego Calva (Babylon)

Babylon is getting mixed reviews, but this little known actor (compared to his co-stars) is getting noticed and if this film takes off, this category is wide open. There’s a chance he gets nominated when Robbie and Pitt don’t, because their categories are far more competitive.

9) Hugh Jackman (The Son)

Jackman is stuck in a film that some people really really dislike, even though it seems even the haters say he’s good in this. But being in a film with a level of divisiveness means he may end up missing out. Last time he was here? Les Miserables.

10) Park Hea-I’ll (Decision To Leave)

The international race is always growing, and Park is in a film with a lot of attention. I ahven’t counted him out. I think he’s a wildcard.

11) Paul Mescal (Afterson)

The kind of indie film that ends up going nowhere, but his performance will get on some critics lists, lifting his chances ever so slightly.

12) Adam Sandler (hustle)

Netflix is reportedly giving him a solid push, but unless everyone is really trying to apologize for not nominating him for Uncut Gems, I don’t see this really happening.

13) Timothee Chalamet (Bones and All)

The well-reviewed cannibal drama is still a cannibal drama. Also, oddly, Chalamet hasn’t gotten the same level of excitement as his co-stars Taylor Russell and Mark Rylance.

14) Will Smith (Emancipation)

I suppose there’s an outside shot Smith gets two back to back nominations, a year after the Oscar slap, but his performance here is going to need to be revelatory, since many still have an odd taste after last year. Plus, even without the slap, he did just win. Who would be looking to give him two back-to-back Oscars? That’s so rare.

15) Christian Bale (The Pale Blue Eye)

Well, he won’t be nominated for Amsterdam, and this was on Gold Derby. I won’t count him out, and this race is really thin. Almost no shot, but maybe this comes out of nowhere.

16) Wes Studi (Love Song)

Look, no one in Hollywood would be even a little upset if somehow Wes Stui and Dale Dickey, two of the hardest working character actors managed to be nominated for their film but this thing doesn’t seem to be registering.

17) Sang Kang ho (Broker)

Again, we do have more international voters, but do I think more people will pick this over Decision To Leave? No.

18) Adam Driver (White Noise)

Always a chance Driver enters the race, though last year being in two Oscar bait films did nothing for him. White Noise is rumored to really not be an Oscar contender after all.

19) Jonathan Majors (Devotion)

This is currently in theatres, i believe. Hollywood is trying to make Majors happen, and there’s a chance he could take off, but it just really isn’t this year. Maybe another year.

20) Robert Pattinson (The Batman)S

Ute, I’ll address the elephant in the room with my last spot. his performance was good, but it seems like everyone has forgotten The Batman. If it had opened later in the year, maybe we’d have a contender. But it’s amazing how everyone enjoyed this, but in virtually every category it looks to be getting snubbed. If the film gets even one nomination, it would be amazing at this point.

Next time I come around to this category, the total number will be cut back, and some names will drop off, depending on the state of the race. I don’t see any name not on this list breaking in, unless Innaritu’s re-edited Bardot is just extraordinary.

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