By Peter Knegt | Indiewire December 16, 2014 at 12:23PM
For a while there, a mighty quartet had been standing in this category: Steve Carell ("Foxcatcher"), Benedict Cumberbatch ("The Imitation Game"), Michael Keaton ("Birdman") and Eddie Redmayne ("The Theory of Everything"). But the precursors have added four solid spoilers to the race: David Oyelowo ("Selma"), Jake Gyllenhaal ("Nightcrawler") and Ralph Fiennes ("The Grand Budapest Hotel"). Any of them could take the final slot, or even knock one or two of them out. This is by far the most exciting of the acting races, which is unsurprisingly because most of the major contenders this year feature male protagonists.
So what ends up going down? We'd say Keaton and Redmayne are the only true locks, with everyone else vulnerable to the competition. Like those two, Cumberbatch and Gyllenhaal got nominations from SAG, the Globes and the Critics Choice. But that doesn't always secure an Oscar spot. Ask Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson and Daniel Bruhl. They all did the same last year and missed the cut at the Oscars. Oyelowo actually seems like a safer bet than either of those two, given he seemed to only lose that SAG nomination because the voters hadn't seen "Selma." Meanwhile, Fiennes is surging as of late for "Budapest Hotel" -- and while Carell missed out on a Critics Choice nod, his performance in "Foxcatcher" has many passionate supporters. This one will have Oscar watchers biting their nails to the last minute.
Check out our predictions in other categories here.
1. Michael Keaton, "Birdman"
2. Eddie Redmayne, "Theory of Everything"
Six Men, Three Slots:
3. David Oyelowo, "Selma"
4. Benedict Cumberbatch, "The Imitation Game"
5. Jake Gyllenhaal, "Nightcrawler"
6. Steve Carell, "Foxcatcher"
7. Ralph Fiennes, "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
8. Timothy Spall, "Mr. Turner"
Dark Horses Given The Competition:
9. Oscar Isaac, "A Most Violent Year"
10. Miles Teller, "Whiplash"
11. Bill Murray, "St. Vincent"
12. Bradley Cooper, "American Sniper"
13. Joaquin Phoenix, "Inherent Vice"
14. Ellar Coltrane, "Boyhood"
15. John Lithgow, "Love is Strange"
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