2014 Awards Season: Oscar Highlight: Best Supporting Actor

Dallas Buyers Club poster

With our annual Oscar Prediction contest underway, now is the best time to look at the nominees and try and figure out who the favorites are and which films should just feel honored to be nominated. This week we will look at the four acting categories, continuing with Best Lead Actor. This is one of the least competitive races this year. One actor has consistently pulled in win after win and I would be shocked if Oscar night wasn't the same.

(Note: All previous awards listed are only for acting and not other categories. However, they are for supporting and lead acting.)

Best Lead Actor

Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips
Tomatometer Score: 93% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: One Golden Globe and One SAGs
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Actor's Previous Major Nominations: First Movie Role
Actor's Previous Major Wins: First Movie Role
Notes: It is incredibly rare for an actor to win an Oscar for their first performance, which is a major strike against Barkhad Abdi. It would make a great storyline if he wins, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Bradley Cooper for American Hustle
Tomatometer Score: 93% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: One Golden Globe and One SAG
Movie's Previous Major Wins: One SAG
Actor's Previous Major Nominations: One Oscar, One Golden Globe, Two SAGs, and One Independent Spirit Award
Actor's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: Last year I mentioned that if Bradley Cooper won an Oscar in his career, The Silver Linings Playbook would be the film that made that possible, because it showed he could act. I knew he would earn another Oscar nominations, I didn't think it would happen so fast. That said, he is a long shot to win, as he wasn't nominated individually at the SAGs and while he picked up the SAG for Best Ensemble, it is not enough to think he's gone an even chance of winning.

Michael Fassbender for 12 Years a Slave
Tomatometer Score: 96% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: One Golden Globe, Two SAGs, and One Independent Spirit Awards
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None (One Pending)
Actor's Previous Major Nominations: One Golden Globe and One SAG
Actor's Previous Major Wins: One SAG
Notes: There was a time when Michael Fassbender was seen as the favorite to win an Oscar, mainly because it looked like 12 Years a Slave would dominate Oscar night picking up six or more Oscars. That has changed. Now it looks like the film will be lucky to win a three or four Oscars and Michael Fassbender is just one of the nominees that is no longer a favorite.

Jonah Hill for The Wolf of Wall Street
Tomatometer Score: 77% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: None
Movie's Previous Major Wins:None
Actor's Previous Major Nominations: One Oscars, One Golden Globes, and One SAG
Actor's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: This was one of the most surprising Oscar nominations, as The Wolf of Wall Street didn't do as well with critics and it had previously underperformed during Awards Season. There's almost no chance Jonah Hill will win. Then again, he's only 30 and he will likely have plenty of more opportunities to win in the future.

Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club
Tomatometer Score: 93% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: One Golden Globe, Two SAG, and One Independent Spirit Award
Movie's Previous Major Wins: Golden Globe and SAG (One Pending)
Actor's Previous Major Nominations: None
Actor's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: Jared Leto has been acting in movies for nearly two decades, but this is the first film since Requiem for a Dream that has earned serious Awards Season buzz. Even then, Requiem for a Dream wasn't able to capitalize on the buzz. Now it looks like he is a lock for his first Oscar.

Conclusion: Jared Leto wasn't always considered the favorite to win an Oscar, but it looks like his stock in particular, and indeed Dallas Buyers Club in general, has risen at the perfect time.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-02-18