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2015 Oscar Predictions: Best Actor

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire September 8, 2014 at 6:47PM

Steve Carell ("Foxcatcher") and Ralph Fiennes ("The Grand Budapest Hotel") lead our early take on the best actor category.

Indiewire will provide updates of our predictions for the 87th Academy Award nominations through January 2015, when the nominations are announced.

Here are our early predictions for the Best Actor race, which is already packed. There's Michael Keaton, who is earning intense raves for his performance in "Birdman." There's Ralph Fiennes, whose work in "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is pretty universally beloved. There's Steve Carell and Channing Tatum, both from "Foxcatcher," which has been a big hit at both Cannes and Telluride.  There's Timothy Spall for "Mr. Turner," who won best actor at Cannes. There's Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Redmayne, both looking for first nominations for "The Imitation Game" and "The Theory of Everything," respectively.  And -- though it's probably more of an Indie Spirit deal -- there's Ellar Coltrane's 12 year effort in Richard Linklater's "Boyhood." Can they all 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") and Jack O'Connell ("Unbroken"), among others. Notably, of all those mentioned, only Fiennes and Joaquin Phoenix are previous nominees.

Check out our predictions in other categories here.

A Whole Bunch of Genuine Contenders From What We've Seen:
1. Michael Keaton, "Birdman"
2. Steve Carell, "Foxcatcher"
3. Eddie Redmayne, "Theory of Everything"
4. Benedict Cumberbatch, "The Imitation Game"
5. Timothy Spall, "Mr. Turner"
6. Ralph Fiennes, "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
7. Bill Murray, "St. Vincent"
8. Jake Gyllenhaal, "Nightcrawler"

Very Strong Bets (At Least On Paper -- But Boy Is This Already Crowded):
9. Joaquin Phoenix, "Inherent Vice"
10. Jack O'Connell, "Unbroken"
11. David Oyelowo, "Selma"
12. Ben Affleck, "Gone Girl"
13. Oscar Isaac, "A Most Violent Year"
14. Christoph Waltz, "Big Eyes"
15. Matthew McConaughey, "Interstellar"
16. Brad Pitt, "Fury"

Dark Horses From What We've Seen (But They'll Definitely Be In The Conversation To Some Degree):
17. Channing Tatum, "Foxcatcher"
18. Ellar Coltrane, "Boyhood"
19. Chadwick Boseman, "Get On Up"
20. Gael Garcia Bernal, "Rosewater"
21. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, "A Most Wanted Man"
22. Alfred Molina, "Love is Strange"
23. John Lithgow, "Love is Strange"
24. Miles Teller, "Whiplash"

This article is related to: Oscars 2015 , Awards, Awards Season