Here’s a fast and blunt assessment of Scott Feinberg’s handicapping of Best Actor and Actress hotties, posted on 9.21.23.


Cillian Murphy, OppenheimerHE: I realize he’s a likely nominee, but he wears the same chilly, cold-eyed, alien-from-Betelguese expression in every scene.

Colman Domingo, RustinHE: A spirited channelling of an iconic, live-wire activist that conveys nothing except Domingo’s idea of a spirited performance. He’s so full of love and tingling energy that he almost puts you to sleep.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Killers of the Flower MoonHE: As Ernest Burkhart, Leo is essentially playing a weak-willed, none-too-bright cockroach. He’s completely invested and believable, but who wants to concentrate upon, much less celebrate, the moral writhings of an Oklahoma yokel?

Paul Giamatti, The HoldoversHE: A masterful, onion-peeled, drop-by-drop performance of an unhappy older fellow with a snappy tongue…a history professor humming with resentment…sad and smart and as honest as performances of this type get.

Bradley Cooper, Maestro — I haven’t seen it, but the word on the street is that Carey Mulligan blows Cooper off the screen.

Haven’t yet seen Adam Driver in Ferrari or Joaquin Phoenix in Napoleon, but if you ask me it’s Giamatti’s Oscar to lose. He should have won for Sideways — nobody with a brain disputes this,


Annette Bening, Nyad — haven’t seen it but given the prickly reactions I heard in Telluride it’ll be quite the triumph for Bening to land a nomination,

Emma Stone, Poor ThingsHE: Definitely the front-runner as we speak.

Margot Robbie, BarbieHE: A likely nomination but think of Robbie’s exaggerated, chirpy-robot manner…do we really want to celebrate this kind of wind-up-doll acting?

Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower MoonHE: Gladstone’s intention to go for Best Actress may result in a nomination, but it’s a tactical mistake. She should go for supporting. Her campaign is strictly an identity pitch. Gladstone performs decently as Mollie Burkhart, but she has no (i.e., wasn’t given any) big moments. Most of the time she just glares at the bad guys and lies dying in bed.

Carey Mulligan, Maestro – haven’t seen it,

Sandra Hüller, Anatomy of a FallHE: A genuine, fully-lived-in performance — diary of a survivor of a fraught marriage.

Greta Lee, Past LivesHE: Nope.

Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, Origin — haven’t seen it.

As we speak it’s Stone’s Oscar to lose. If Gladstone wins it’ll be another equity-over-quality joke, thanks to the fanatical New Academy Kidz.