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2015 Oscar Predictions: Best Actor

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire July 28, 2014 at 3:47PM

Here's our take on the best actor category.
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Indiewire will provide updates of our predictions for the 87th Academy Award nominations through January 2015, when the nominations are announced.

Here's our early predictions for the best actor race, which does actually have a few considerable contenders already in Ralph Fiennes (whose work in "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is pretty universally beloved),  Steve Carell and Channing Tatum (both from "Foxcatcher," which won raves in Cannes), Timothy Spall ("Mr. Turner," who won best actor at Cannes), and perhaps -- though it's probably more of an Indie Spirit deal -- Ellar Coltrane's 12 year efforts in Richard Linklater's "Boyhood." Can they hang in there? That all depends on a slew of much anticipated work from the likes of  Joaquin Phoenix ("Inherent Vice"), Oscar Isaac ("A Most Violent Year"), Benedict Cumberbatch ("The Imitation Game"), Michael Keaton ("Birdman"), Chadwick Boseman ("Get on Up"),  Eddie Redmayne ("Theory of Everything") and Jack O'Connell ("Unbroken"), among others. Notably, of all those mentioned, only Fiennes and Joaquin Phoenix are previous nominees.

Check out predictions in other categories here.

Three Genuine Contenders From What We've Seen:
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Timothy Spall, Mr. Turner

Two More With More Uphill Battles:
Channing Tatum, Foxcatcher
Ellar Coltrane, Boyhood

Very Strong Bets (At Least On Paper):
Chadwick Boseman, Get On Up
Oscar Isaac, A Most Violent Year
Joaquin Phoenix, Inherent Vice
David Oyelowo, Selma
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Bill Murray, St. Vincent
Jack O'Connell, Unbroken
Eddie Redmayne, Theory of Everything

Reasonable Possibilities (Though At This Point, Anyone Is):
Robert Downey Jr, The Judge
Christoph Waltz, Big Eyes
Matthew McConaughey, Interstellar

Brad Pitt, Fury
Ben Affleck, Gone Girl
Gael Garcia Bernal, Rosewater
Jeremy Renner, Kill The Messenger

Jonah Hill, True Story

Dark Horses From What We've Seen (But They'll Definitely Be In The Conversation To Some Degree):
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, A Most Wanted Man
Alfred Molina, Love is Strange
John Lithgow, Love is Strange
Miles Teller, Whiplash
Brendan Gleeson, Calvary
Bill Hader, The Skeleton Twins