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2019 Oscars: Best Actor Predictions

We have early picks on who might be in Oscar contention this year.

Lynne Ramsay and Joaquin Phoenix at Cannes

James Gourley/REX/Shutterstock

Of the films we have already seen, Chadwick Boseman buffed his stardom in the lead role in Marvel blockbuster “Black Panther,” while Joaquin Phoenix took home Best Actor at Cannes as a brutal killer trying to save a young girl from the sex trade in “You Were Never Really Here,” and Ethan Hawke earned raves as a melancholy priest out of the fall festivals for Paul Schrader’s recently released “First Reformed.”

"First Reformed"

“First Reformed”

Returning Oscar winners will likely include “The Irishman” star Robert De Niro –who last scored a Supporting Actor nomination for “Silver Linings Playbook” in 2013 — and “The Old Man and the Gun” veteran Robert Redford, who won his last (honorary) Oscar in 2002.

Up-and-down shape-shifter Christian Bale gained 40 pounds to play Dick Cheney in Adam McKay’s “Backseat”; Ryan Gosling also takes on an iconic figure, moon-walking astronaut Neil Armstrong, in Damien Chazelle’s “First Man”; bearded Willem Dafoe follows up last year’s nomination for “The Florida Project” as Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh in Julian Schnabel’s “At Eternity’s Gate”; and Rami Malek channels performer Freddy Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Steve Carell could compete in two rival films: Robert Zemeckis’s “The Women of Marwen,” based on the 2010 documentary “Marwencol” about a designer who creates a miniature fantasy world as a way to recover from a devastating attack, and “Beautiful Boy,” in which he plays the father of a drug addict (Timothée Chalamet).

Remember, no film will be deemed a frontrunner until I have seen it.

"Black Panther"

“Black Panther”

Frontrunners

Ethan Hawke (“First Reformed”)
Joaquin Phoenix (“You Were Never Really Here”)

Contenders

Christian Bale (“Backseat”)
Javier Bardem (“Everybody Knows”)
Chadwick Boseman (“Black Panther”)
Steve Carell (“Beautiful Boy”)
Willem Dafoe (“At Eternity’s Gate”)
Robert De Niro (“The Irishman”)
Ryan Gosling (“First Man”)
Lucas Hedges (“Boy Erased”)
Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”)
Robert Redford (“The Old Man and the Gun”)

Rami Malek as Freddy Mercury in "Bohemian Rhapsody"

Rami Malek as Freddy Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody”

20th Century Fox

Long Shots:

Steve Carell (“The Women of Marwen”)
Hugh Jackman (“The Front Runner”)
Stephan James (“If Beale Street Could Talk”)
Joaquin Phoenix (“Don’t Worry, You Won’t Get Far on Foot”)
Brad Pitt (“Ad Astra”)
John C. Reilly (“The Sisters Brothers”)
John David Washington (“The BlacKkKlansman”)

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