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Mar 24 2019

The Next Best Actor Race

by Nathaniel R

Pacino & DeNiro together for the fourth time in "The Irishman"

A month ago we started brainstormingabout Best Actress 2019so before the April Foolish Oscar Predictions are announced let's brainstorm about possibilities in the male acting categories.It looks thin to us thus far,reminding us that we'd be happiest with 4 female acting categories instead.That said,it's hard to keep track of everything in every stage of production so we hope you'll share anything you're exciting about that we may have missed or any hunches you have about upcoming films.

These are neither value judgments (since so few films have been screened) nor predictions (that's in April) but merely a listing of performances that are on the way...

Bale,slimmed down again for "Ford v Ferrari"LEADING ACTOR ?
As usual there are quite a few of what appear to be double lead movies(The Irishman,Ford v Ferarri,Honey Boy,Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,The Pope,etcetera) so who knows who will pretend to be supporting

  • Christian Bale,Ford v Ferrari
  • Antonio Banderas,Pain & Glory
  • Jamie Bell,Skin
  • Timothee Chalamet,The King
  • Gary Carr,Bolden
  • Willem Dafoe,The Lighthouse
  • Matt Damon,Ford v Ferrari
  • Robert DeNiro,The Irishman
  • Leonardo DiCaprio,Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Roman Griffin Davis,Jojo Rabbit (lead role but child actor so...)
  • Adam Driver,The Report
  • Winston Duke,Us
  • Taron Egerton,Rocketman
  • Zac Efron,Extremely Wicked...
  • Ansel Elgort,The Goldfinch
  • Jimmie Fails,The Last Black Man in San Francisco
  • Will Ferrell,Downhill
  • Tom Hanks,A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  • Kelvin Harrison Jr,Luce
  • Anthony Hopkins,The Pope
  • Nicholas Hoult,Tolkien
  • Noah Jupe,Honey Boy (lead role but child actor so...)
  • Shia Labeouf,Honey Boy
  • Matthew McConaughey,The Beach Bum
  • Ian McKellen,The Good Liar
  • Eddie Murphy,Dolemite
  • Liam Neeson,Normal People
  • Edward Norton,Motherless Brooklyn
  • Gary Oldman,the Laundromat
  • Al Pacino,The Irishman
  • Robert Pattinson,High Life
  • Joaquin Phoenix,Joker
  • Brad Pitt,Once Upon a Time in Hollywood / Ad Astra
  • Jonathan Pryce,The Pope
  • Eddie Redmayne,The Aeronauts
  • Sam Rockwell,Best of Enemies
  • Mark Ruffalo,Untitled Todd Haynes Project
  • Matthias Schoenaerts,The Mustang
  • Will Smith,Gemini Man


Jonathan Majors and Jimmie Fails in "The Last Black Man in San Francisco"

  • Antonio Banderas,The Laundromat
  • Jamie Bell,Rocketman
  • Sterling K Brown,Waves
  • Bobby Cannavale,The Irishman
  • Timothée Chalamet,Little Women
  • James Corden,Cats
  • Willem Dafoe,Motherless Brooklyn / The Last Thing He Wanted
  • James Badge Dale,The Kitchen
  • Joel Edgerton,The King
  • Domhnall Gleeson,The Kitchen
  • Jon Hamm,Lucy in the Sky
  • William Jackson Harper,Untitled Todd Haynes / Midsommar / Man in Woods
  • Brian Tyree Henry,Woman in the Window
  • Damon Herriman,Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Kristoffer Hivju,Downhill (is he reprising his role fromForce Majeure?...this being a remake)
  • Tommy Lee Jones,Ad Astra
  • Harvey Keitel,The Irishman
  • Anthony Mackie,Against All Enemies /  Woman in the Window
  • Richard Madden,Rocketman
  • Jonathan Majors,The Last Black Man in San Francisco
  • Sebastian Mansicalco,The Irishman
  • Ian McKellen,Cats
  • Ben Mendelsohn,The King
  • Mike Moh,Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Gary Oldman,Woman in the Window
  • Clive Owen,Gemini Man
  • Robert Pattinson,The King / The Lighthouse
  • Joe Pesci,The Irishman
  • Matthew Rhys,A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  • Sam Rockwell,Jojo Rabbit
  • Ray Romano,The Irishman
  • Taika Waititi,JoJo Rabbit
  • Bruce Willis,Motherless Brooklyn


Chalamet on the set of The King.Ben Mendelsohn costars

  • Kelvin Harrison Jr,Waves
  • Lucas Hedges,Waves
  • John Lithgow,Untitled Roger Aisles Project (he plays Roger Aisles but we think it's going to be more of an ensemble film or perhaps a multiple female lead movie.Supporting for Lithgow?)
  • Gary Oldman,the Laundromat
  • Alexander Skarsgard,The Kill Team
  • Nat Wolff,The Kill Team

We assume we're looking at 2020 for these...but they could show up early

  • Atlantic Wall(war drama Bradley Cooper)
  • Just Mercy(civil rights drama Michael B Jordan)
  • Minimata(environmental drama Johnny Depp)
  • Waiting for the Barbarians(period drama Robert Pattinson and Johnny Depp)
  • West Side Storyremake (musical Ansel Elgort)
  • Wrong Answer(education drama starring Michael B Jordan)

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Reader Comments (31)

"James Corden,Cats"
don't know whether to laugh or cry

March 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterCorey

Also Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins in "The Pope".It doesn't have an official release date yet but allegedly it'll be out in 2019.

March 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

The Good Liar sounds on paper like an Oscar player.Releasing in November,Ian McKellan and Helen Mirren as leads.I'll see for Russell Tovey.

March 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterReady

Thanks for this early look at a category that has been oddly underwhelming in recent years.Re: the two kings in The King,as it's an adaptation of Henry IV Part I,Henry IV Part II and Henry V,I would imagine that Chalamet is a lead (as he's playing Prince Hal,who is really the main character of the two Henry IV plays as becoming Henry V) and Mendelsohn is in support (as he's playing Henry IV,which really is a significant supporting role in thr two Henry IV plays and doesn't feature in Henry V at all).I know all this because when I was at secondary school a friend and I wrote an adaptation of those same three plays as one play and it was performed as The Life of Henry V.So I'm very intrigued indeed to see an alternative take on the same material!

March 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

The last decade has been terrible for lead actor.

We could have had Ralph Fiennes in GBH,Timothee in CMBYN and Bradley in A Star is Born.Instead we get the biopic / mimicry winner all the effing time.

March 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterNnnnvg

Why does Al Pacino look like a kid trying on his father's clothes in that pic

I just read that The Irishman had a budge of $200 MILLION

March 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterArlo

Ethan Hawke for Supporting in The Truth.

Willem Dafoe would be a formidable player in Supporting for The Last Thing He Wanted,given that it's a juicy character in the book and it would be his third consecutive nod.But as you commented the other day,it's Netflix,so who knows whether they'll give it a campaign.

March 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Corey -- well,he is a Tony & Emmy winner already ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

March 24,2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

If the Roger Ailes movie is any good,I think Lithgow has the Supporting Oscar in the bag.He's so beloved and just waiting for the right role to win.

March 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterShmeebs

Hanks is clearly getting nominated.

March 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

There is nothing telling me that The Irishman is going to be any good.There's about a 35% chance it's a total disaster.This might be Scorcese going to the well one two many times.

March 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterBen

I wouldn't be so quick to count out musicals,we have James Cordon and Ian McKellen in Cats,and Richard Madden in Rocketman (Elton John).You may laugh,but these are great actors and all 3 are popular.Richard Madden (Robb in Game of Thrones) is really hot as well.
I'm not going out too far on a limb to say that one of these 3 gentleman will be nominated.

As for "The Irishman",I'm just hoping it is good,and not cringe-worthy.I would really love to see Robert De Niro show us his old form and style instead of the pale shadow of his talent we've been getting lately.
I haven't a clue what to expect of the rest.

March 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

If the role is there,Lithgow definitely feels like a strong potential for the 'veteran' slot in Supporting Actor.Sometimes it just takes a few minutes of screen time (Rockwell,Dench,etc) playing a real-life figure to do the trick.

Have you heard Joe Reid's recent appearance on Little Gold Men?Very informative for anyone already trying to predict the next Oscar race.

March 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick T

After two years in a row where he was clearly (to me,anyway) the best performance in his category,hopefully THE LIGHTHOUSE will give Willem Dafoe a good shot at the Oscar itself.From the writers-director of THE WITCH as well,so lots of promise.

And will Joe Wright direct a second acting Oscar in a row,with Amy Adams and THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW?Let's hope so...

March 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterTravis C

There's also Dev Patel (and many others) in Armando Iannucci's THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD.

And Viveik Kalra in BLINDED BY THE LIGHT,the Bruce Springsteen-themed memoir that was a hit at Sundance.

Far less likely is Ewan McGregor in DOCTOR SLEEP,based on the sequel to THE SHINING.He's playing adult Danny Torrance.But it's always nice to remember Ewan McGregor,isn't it?In 40 years time,he might be awarded an Honorary Oscar...

March 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterSteve G

Gloria Bell may prove to have some staying power and with that I wouldn't discount John Turturro in supporting.

March 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterFig

Little Gold Men also mentioned Jeffrey Wright as a potential Supporting Actor contender for The Goldfinch.He would fit that 'respected actor getting his first nomination' slot.

March 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick T

How do we know for sure who is lead and who is supporting for The Laundromat?

March 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Lithgow is destined to be an Oscar winner,lead would be unexpected but great.

March 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterCrystal

Jamie -- we dont really.I just assumed that Gary Oldman and Meryl Streep as the most prestigious members of the cast would be the leading roles but that might be wrong.

March 25,2019 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

We don't have full details yet on Knives Out but I believe Lakeith Stanfield is the detective,so the assumption on my end is that he could be lead.That amazing cast is bound to get an acting nod for someone if it's a solid entry.

March 25,2019 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

Great work - thank you!I just want to pick up @SteveG's conversation - I recently saw "Moulin Rouge"again & shortly after "Beginners"and I was so absolutely blown away by Ewan McGregors fine and humble performances (he often is the heart of the movie - a bit like the modern Jimmy Stewart).He is such a stunning & versatile actor if you flip through his achievements that it is nearly outrageous that he never ever was even close to a nomination - WHY ???!!!Same with James McAvoy (Split ?!/ The Last Station !?) - who else is there with such a record of diversity that never made the list - MAYBE time for a list (u know we love them) & missed or upcoming chances Nathaniel ?
Emily Blunt
Guy Pierce (Pricilla !!/ Memento !)
Myrna Loy
Richard Gere
Donald Sutherland (Hm...- great but not so diverse in my books ?)

March 25,2019 | Unregistered CommenterMartin

Don't get the underwhelmed feelings for male actors on these sites.

This year an example.The women had an exceptionally deep year (2004 was another year like that) but exceptional depth didnt -even by contrast- make the men look bad.


March 25,2019 | Unregistered CommenterMe

Ben Affleck's addiction drama just bagged a prime awards season release date of 18th October.

Not sure how long it's been since the Academy went for an inspirational teacher,but it used be sure-fire route to a nomination.The story plays on Affleck's own personal demons which may make voters warm to his candour and Gavin O'Connor directing has some history with getting nominations with the least likely materials.

March 25,2019 | Unregistered CommenterBJT

Saw "Pain and Glory"and Banderas can actually win this thing.

March 25,2019 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Alonso

@BJT;I noticed and thought that too...but Affleck,who's a better actor than he's accused of being,has never inspired as a leading man...we'll see,but that requires it to really be loved.As with anything,we'll see.

@Jesus Alonso;Win?Is it overly showy,or is he great?

March 25,2019 | Unregistered CommenterMe

He is absolutely outstanding,career best performance.He's playing a variation of Almodovar himself (attention to body language) without mimicking him.He's funny,dramatic,quite a range of feelings in the helps that he's been nominated for 4 Golden Globes,2 Emmies,1 Tony and never won a big American Award,despite becoming the reference for latino/spanish actors right away,post Anthony Quinn.He's due,snubbed before,playing (in some way) an iconic filmmaker,directed by the very same filmmaker.It will all depend on campaigning,but the story,writes itself.

Plus: it's not a showy performance,it is a believable performance that aims to the soul.I can see him winning,even if it is uphill.The film is a masterpiece that is aiming to a Best Picture nomination and has chances in plenty of categories,(Picture,Director,Actor,Supporting Actress,Original Screenplay,Cinematography,Score,Production Design,Film Editing,Sound Editing,Foreign Film),and is likely to become a critical darling...BAFTA loves Almodovar (count it,on that race),so you have a foreign film that is already in many key players radars,and it's opening to raves.Plus,I don't like Almodovar as a person,but I find the film (and specially the final shot) completely irresistible...same sensation I had with "Talk to Her"

March 26,2019 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Alonso

That sounds very interesting to see.They've worked together enough times so this does write itself.

I'm here and there with Almodovar,but sometimes he nails it nails it.Volver is a masterpiece.

March 26,2019 | Unregistered CommenterMe

I would love to see some justice for Hanks - how he didn't get nominated for either "Captain Phillips"or "Bridge of Spies"is inexplicable,and I don't love his 90's noms/wins.

Winston Duke in "Us"is good,but I don't think will get a nom,though his dorky Dad performance in the first part of the movie is totally delightful.

March 28,2019 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

Banderas is not winning for Dolor y gloria.He smokes heroin and kisses a man with lust.

March 28,2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue


March 28,2019 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

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