Wednesday, April 21, 2010

One Category at a Time: Best Leading Actor

The lead acting races often feel crowded the whole year through. Looking to the roles bestowed upon this year's leading men seems to verify that. Even films that may not stand much chance in any other categories are likely to garner some attention for their central performance.

One that I'm quick to jot down is Robert Duvall for Get Low, the story of a hermit who throws a helluva shindig for his own funeral. The film opened at TIFF last fall, where Duvall drew so many raves for his performance, that it caused some to speculate that he could have won Best Actor if the film had been released last year.

Johnny Depp, one of America's most elite actors, stars in an adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's The Rum Diary, written and directed by Barry Robison. Depp's character is an alcoholic American journalist working in Puerto Rico who becomes involved in a sordid love triangle and violent jealousy.

And then, there are all the real-life-people parts:

Colin Firth nabbed his first career nomination this past year for an outstanding performance in A Single Man. Now he's got the momentum and attention he never had before, and with a baity part as the stuttering King George VI in Tom Hooper's The King's Speech, it seems reasonable that he'll be back for the second consecutive year, especially with the cunning Weinstein Company backing his campaign. The only possible snag is the question of Geoffrey Rush's category placement. Co-lead? Weinstein will porbably put him in Supporting to avoid any vote-splitting.

Anthony Hopkins hasn't been to the big dance in years. This year he tackles one of history's greatest authors in Andy Garcia's Hemingway & Fuentes, which recounts the friendship between the writer and a fisherman (played by Garcia himself) who inspires him to write his most acclaimed work, The Old Man and the Sea. Sounds like the kind of bait that could be right up the Academy's alley.

Finally, Mark Wahlberg takes on the role of pro boxer "Irish" Mickey Ward in David O'Russell's The Fighter. The man's profile continues to get higher and healthier following his first Oscar nomination for The Departed in 2007. It's a very physical role in a possible Best Picture contender, so he could manage his first Lead nomination if the film delivers.

Predicted 5:
Johnny Depp, The Rum Diary
Robert Duvall, Get Low
Anthony Hopkins, Hemingway & Fuentes
Brad Pitt, The Tree of Life
Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter

Also consider: Jeff Bridges in True Grit, Benicio del Toro in Somewhere, Leonardo Dicaprio in Inception, Aaron Eckhart in Rabbit Hole, Colin Farrell in The Way Back, Ryan Gosling in Blue Valentine, James MacAvoy in The Conspirator, Ewan McGregor in The Ghost Writer, Jack Nicholoson in How Do You Know?, Brad Pitt in The Tree of Life, Forest Whitaker in My Own Love Song.


Anonymous said...

I think Andy Garcia should get an nomination for the best actor in the Oscar for City Island. He is brilliant in that movie. Also the movie Hemingway and Fuentes is yet to be filmed. I don't think it will be released this year.

The Oscar Nazi said...

Quite true, but for year-in-advance predictions, I'm willing to take a chance on an incomplete film.