I’m partially agreeing with Rope of Silicon‘s Brad Brevet about the likeliest Best Actor contenders right now. Except, that is, for Nebraska‘s Bruce Dern, who won the Best Actor prize at last month’s Cannes Film Festival. I worship Dern and he’s quite good as Will Forte‘s snarly, partly deluded dad but it’s a Best Supporting Actor performance — the movie isn’t really about his journey as much as Forte’s. And BD’s performance is more about color and conviction than profound emotional spillage.
I also strongly suspect that other Best Actor nominees will arise out of David O. Russell‘s American Hustle (Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper or Jeremy Renner) and that Chiwetel (a.k.a. “Chewy”) Ejiofor will score with his lead performance in Steve McQueen‘s 12 Years A Slave.
Otherwise Leonardo DiCaprio is probably the leading contender for his undeniably affecting performance in The Great Gatsby as well as in Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf of Wall Street, which will almost certainly deliver in typical Scorsese-ish fashion. Hot on Leo’s heels is Robert Redford in J.C. Chandor‘s All Is Lost, which is a huge comeback feat for the venerated actor-filmmaker. Tom Hanks is all but assured of a Best Actor nomination but more, I suspect, for his Walt Disney performance in Savings Mr. Banks than for his turn in Captain Phillips (although I’ve been told by a somewhat vested filmmaker friend that Paul Greengrass‘s film is aces). And Michael B. Jordan is in a strong position to be Best Actor-nominated for Fruitvale Station, although more in the fashion of Bobby Richardson or Moose Skowron or Clete Boyer than Mickey Mantle going for an MVP award.
I believe that Oscar Isaac should be a contender for his sober and sardonic lead performance in Joel and Ethan Coen‘s Inside Llewyn Davis, but…that’s all I’m saying right now. I just think it might be more of a Spirit Awards thing than an Oscar thing…no offense.