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Best Actor Oscar Predictions 2015 UPDATED

Best Actor Oscar Predictions 2015 UPDATED

The Best Actor field of five was intensely fought: neither Jake Gyllenhaal ("Nightcrawler") nor David Oyelowo ("Selma") made the cut. There could be any number of surprises in this race.  

This year boasts three contenders who have never been nominated before. Benedict Cumberbatch as World War II codebreaker Alan Turing in "The Imitation Game," and Eddie Redmayne as cosmologist Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything" go head to head in the battle of the Brit genius biopics (Redmayne won the Drama Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA) while the actors branch will recognize themselves in Michael Keaton’s heartbreaking Comedy Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice-winning "Birdman" comeback. Both Keaton and Redmayne get points for degree of difficulty. 

But with Bradley Cooper, star of Clint Eastwood’s late-surging box office juggernaut "American Sniper," stealing their thunder, anything can happen in a three-way race. Remember "The Pianist" star Adrien Brody, who surprised the world by beating out Daniel Day Lewis ("Gangs of New York") and Jack Nicholson ("About Schmidt") in 2009? Stranger things could happen.

1. Michael Keaton. If the two Brits knock each other out, Keaton, 63, could emerge at the front of the pack. He is in top form in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s scabrous and exhilarating show business comedy "Birdman," which is all about acting. It skewers the current Hollywood obsession with superheroes as it reveals the psychological pitfalls of the creative process. Keaton got naked spiritually and physically, playing the actor-writer-director of a Broadway play whose mental state is rapidly deteriorating. He makes hairpin turns from being open and vulnerable with his wife, daughter and girlfriend, combative with his lawyer and cast and the critic of the New York Times, and under tremendous duress. And Keaton had to carry this movie through a series of elaborately choreographed long takes that go on from eight to fifteen minutes. Needless to say the Academy actors always respond to a major comeback, which this is. There’s tremendous affection for the veteran actor; this is his first Oscar nomination. 

2. Eddie Redmayne, 32, has also earned raves (and the Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA) for his performance as top physicist Stephen Hawking (Errol Morris’s "A Brief History of Time") in James Marsh’s "The Theory of Everything," and is duking it out with Cumberbatch. Oscar perennials Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of Working Title ("Les Mis," "Atonement") are pushing Universal’s Focus Features to give the Oscar campaign everything they’ve got. Redmayne, a respected character actor ("Les Mis," "My Week with Marilyn") channels Hawking, now 72, who was twisted by the progressively degenerative disease ALS. Redmayne had to calibrate Hawking’s diminished physical capacity over time with more and more limited means of expression, yet he transmits the man’s joy, wit and brilliance–and love for the woman who saved his life, Jane Hawking (Felicity Jones). Oscar voters tend to be impressed by disease-distorted performances, see: Daniel Day Lewis in "My Left Foot." This is his first Oscar nomination. 

3. Bradley Cooper, 39, gives a transformative performance as muscle-bound real-life Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in Clint Eastwood’s well-wrought Iraq war movie "American Sniper," a late entrant that is picking up steam in the Oscar race with six nominations but did not land anything from SAG or the Golden Globes. He’s currently earning raves as "The Elephant Man" on Broadway. Three times could be the charm with Cooper’s third consecutive Oscar nomination.

4. Benedict Cumberbatch. Harvey Weinstein is mounting a full court press on the level of TWC’s Oscar-winning period biopic "The King’s Speech" for "The Imitation Game," led by Cumberbatch’s acclaimed performance as Turing. He is a brilliant, off-putting, yet vulnerable mathematician who’s always the smartest person in the room–but he doesn’t work well with others. Many people didn’t know the compelling, recently revealed history of Enigma code-breaker Turing, who single-handedly saved the Allies by staying ahead of Hitler’s every move in World War II. He’s an outsider not only because of his smarts but because he is gay; he’s a lonely, unsung hero who is discriminated against, threatened with prison time, and doesn’t earn the kudos he deserved for his heroic accomplishments. Cumberbatch, 38, is a respected character actor ("Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," "Parade’s End") who thanks to TV series "Sherlock" has built a rabid following (known as Cumberbitches). But he lacks Keaton’s career cred and Redmayne’s considerable charm. This is his first Oscar nomination. 


5. Steve Carell, 52, earned rave reviews starting in Cannes as disturbed wealthy scion and wrestling fan John DuPont in Bennett Miller’s precisely written and directed "Foxcatcher." This dazzling character role is surprising for the actor who is best known for comedy ("40 Year Old Virgin") but has earned raves for drama ("Little Miss Sunshine"). He alters himself physically and also explores new terrain as a troubled billionaire with complex and dark feelings. He was nominated for the SAG, BAFTA and Golden Globes. So far Carell has collected six Golden Globe nominations and one TV win ("The Office"), without ever earning an Oscar nomination. He was due.

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Comments

Tushar Sharma

Benedict Cumberbatch <3 Always

Ishmael

I completely agree with Nick! In "Savage Grace" he was an unknown, and pre star makeup and hair, he was a shockingly pale, abundantly freckled, and obviously ginger man. Now,I guess, he cam afford a team of illusionists who make him a convincing brunette, sans freckles and forever financially indebted to makeup artists. He should just be the queen that he is. Flaunt your naturalness Mary! You know you want too!!! You can still afford a sham hetero-marriage.

Michael Jones

Boyhood will lose to "The Imitation Game" for Best Picture. Boyhood is
not a Motion Picture it is an after school special filmed over 12 years
as a desperate gimmick by a "C" grade director. The Academy represents
experienced sophisticated artists who will pick the Best Picture to
represent us to the World. Boyhood isn’t even close to Best Picture.
Can you really put Boyhood in the same category as "Schindler’s List"?
Seriously?

cadavra

As long as we’re bemoaning who didn’t get nominated, I’ll toss in Chadwick Boseman for his uncanny turn as James Brown in GET ON UP.

Sadie

Susan: Jennifer Lawrence and Penélope Cruz also won for comedic performances. Sandra Bullock too, although I don’t think she meant it to be comedic.

Rita

Just seen The Imitation Game, what a great movie and a brilliant performance by Benedict Cumberbatch, he deffinately

Just seen The Imitation Game, great movie and a beautiful moving performance by Benedict Cumberbatch , he deserves the Oscar.

unpopular truth

chris kyle boasted that he punched cows so hard he broke his hand twice. Abusing animals is a indication of a psychopath

Milo

I just watched "American Sniper" and couldn’t believe Bradley Cooper’s performance, which was stunning!

trixie

Interesting…as I really have thought all along that Michael Keaton had this in the bag. Hollywood loves a comeback. However I’m starting to lean towards Bradley Cooper now..as you mentioned the Movie is HUGE, other than technical awards for Sound/Sound Mixing that they will probably win…I have this crazy feeling now that Bradley Cooper comes in late for the win.

Crane

Benny’s fans call themselves Cumberbitches and everyone knows it. It embarrasses him and he doesn’t like it, but what can he do? And in what universe is Redmayme handsome? He’s a great actor, no question about it, but he’s not handsome. He reminds me a bit of Patrick Stewart who’s also not a looker, but he makes you think he’s good looking simply by his sheer charisma. But I’m a little tired of seeing the Academy honor actors for playing wounded – Redmayne as Hawkings, Julianne Moore as an Altzheimer’s sufferer — it’s a sympathy vote, it’s not extraordinary acting. Bill Murray gets my vote this year, he was fantastic in St. Vincent, showed a complete range. And Naomi Watts truly was extraordinary.

aquarius1271

Eddie whats his name is indeed a weird looking guy and far from handsome. I am glad that somebody finally told the truth.

TrinaLovesInfo

It’ll be interesting to see what happens. There are some great performances this year, from many terrific actors. (Go Cumberbatch)

shempy smalls

The only people who call Cumberbatch fans "Cumberbitches" anymore are reporters. Come on, Anne Thompson, for the love of feminism, stop calling your fellow women bitches!

Anna

What about Oscar Isaac for A Most Violent Year? He tied with Keaton for best actor from the National Board of Review, and his chances are much higher than say McConaughey, Cooper, or Boseman.

DL

I feel like Cumberbatch and Redmayne and maybe Keaton are only the safe bet. Gyllenhaal is coming up strong. the vote could split so who knows.

IGBO

Your comment about "Selma" and the Independent Spirit Awards is incorrect. The film received five nominations (second only to "Birdman") including Best Feature and Oyelowo for Best Male Lead.

Anti-ageist

Anne, you list the ages of all your best actress predictions, but you only listed ages for 2 of your best actor predictions. This is a little sexist, no?

helenW

I saw The Imitation game this afternoon and was very moved by the film. Cumberbatch gave a stunning performance. I wont go on and on because I’m sure supporters of other actors will just tear my comments to pieces. But i doubt I’ll see a better performance than his. I’m still moved by it many hours later

Christine

Keep your eye on Jessica Chastain & Colin Farrell -Miss Julie. Stellar performances!

American Person

I like talking about which actor will win an oscar.

James M.

Weird-looking? Right. Be sure to post your pic somewhere we can see it, Nick; I’m sure we’d all love to have a go at your physical appearance.

Dan

Anyone whose seen Starred Up will know what a great talent Jack O’Connell is. i think he’ll knock it out the park in Unbroken and probably be the fifth nomination, maybe even win the thing.

Nick

"Handsome Brit Eddie Redmayne"

Don’t you mean weird looking?

anonymous

I think you have it backwards. Miles Teller is the sure shot and Cumberbitch is the long shot. Boy that moving is slow, poorly paced and dull. What a waste of what could have been a good story.

Cate

If I had my way, Bill Hader would get a nomination for "The Skeleton Twins". His performance is so naturalistic, heartbreaking, and still hilarious. He’s a gifted comedian, but as a dramatic actor he positively sets the screen on fire.

Susan

Did you see the film St. Vincent? Bill Murray would be on your list if you had. Naomi Watts gave quite a performance too and should be considered for best supporting actress – probably the fact that her role is comedic preludes her being considered. I think Marissa Tome in My Cousin Vinny was the last actress who won an Oscar for a commedy.

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