The prevailing assumption right now (and please correct if I’m missing something) is that the Best Actor Oscar is Joaquin Phoenix’s to lose. The Adam Driver talk, which will probably re-surge over the next few days with Marriage Story opening on 11.6, began during the Telluride Film Festival but has since leveled out. I realize that Uncut Gems is not a typical Academy-friendly film, but Adam Sandler‘s submission to his Diamond district gambling junkie character is breathtaking — one of the all-time great crazy goon performances with manic energy to burn. (I saw it again two or three nights ago, and was all the more impressed.) Robert De Niro‘s Irishman lead isn’t as much of a knockout as Al Pacino‘s Jimmy Hoffa, agreed, but he can’t be denied a Best Actor nom, especially for his ownage of the final 30 to 40 minutes. It was painful to take Pain and Glory‘s Antonio Banderas out of the fifth slot, but The Two Popes is a popular film with the 50-plus crowd, and the acting honors belong mostly to Jonathan Pryce.