Oscars Predictions: Best Actor – Is Netflix Steering Three Leading Men Toward Nominations?

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Variety's Awards Circuit is home to the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars and Emmys ceremonies from film awards editor Clayton Davis. Following history, buzz, news, reviews and sources, the Oscar and Emmy predictions are updated regularly with the current year's list of contenders in all categories. Variety's Awards Circuit Prediction schedule consists of four phases, running all year long: Draft, Pre-Season, Regular Season and Post Season. The eligibility calendar and dates of awards will determine how long each phase lasts and is subject to change.

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2022 OSCARS PREDICTIONS:
BEST ACTOR

UPDATED: Nov 26, 2021

AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: The lead actor race is stacking itself up to the brim with talent. Will Smith’s Richard Williams from “King Richard” and Andrew Garfield’s Jonathan Larson from “Tick, Tick … Boom!” has emerged as the top contenders, but it’s never that simple.

Benedict Cumberbatch has been putting in the work to highlight an outstanding year with four films, headlined by his work in Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog.”

After a strong debut at the New York Film Festival, Apple and A24 are starting-up screenings for guild voters for “The Tragedy of Macbeth.” That will continue to cement the riveting turn from two-time Oscar-winner Denzel Washington, who’s also directing this year with Sony Pictures’ “A Journal for Jordan.”

More than a dozen gentlemen are fighting for a spot, including Oscar-winners Mahershala Ali (“Swan Song”), Javier Bardem (“Being the Ricardos”), Leonardo DiCaprio (“Don’t Look Up”), Joaquin Phoenix (“C’mon C’mon”), veterans like Clifton Collins, Jr. (“Jockey”), Bradley Cooper (“Nightmare Alley”) and Peter Dinklage (“Cyrano”), as well as overdue professionals like Oscar Isaac (“The Card Counter”), Adam Driver (“Annette” and “House of Gucci”) and Jake Gyllenhaal (“The Guilty”).

There’s also the worthy, but many of us acknowledge as “hard sells” due to the nature of the films and/or characters like Simon Rex (“Red Rocket”) and Nicolas Cage (“Pig”).

A bloody awards battle is ahead.

Oscar nominations voting begins on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, and will end on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. The official Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, with the ceremony taking place on Sunday, Mar. 27, 2022.

Awards Season Calendar (2021-2022)

ALL AWARDS CONTENDERS AND RANKINGS:

. - Credit: A24
. - Credit: A24

A24

AND THE PREDICTED NOMINEES ARE:

RANK

ACTOR

FILM

STUDIO

1

Will Smith

“King Richard”

Warner Bros

2

Andrew Garfield

“Tick, Tick … Boom!”

Netflix

3

Benedict Cumberbatch

“The Power of the Dog”

Netflix

4

Denzel Washington

“The Tragedy of Macbeth”

Apple Original Films/A24

5

Leonardo DiCaprio

“Don’t Look Up”

Netflix

NEXT IN LINE

6

Clifton Collins, Jr.

“Jockey”

Sony Pictures Classics

7

Oscar Isaac

“The Card Counter”

Focus Features

8

Javier Bardem

“Being the Ricardos”

Amazon Studios

9

Peter Dinklage

“Cyrano”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

10

Simon Rex

“Red Rocket”

A24

OTHER TOP-TIER CONTENDERS

11

Joaquin Phoenix

“C’mon C’mon”

A24

12

Mahershala Ali

“Swan Song”

Apple Original Films

13

Bradley Cooper

“Nightmare Alley”

Searchlight Pictures

14

Adam Driver

“House of Gucci”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

15

Jude Hill

“Belfast”

Focus Features

16

Matt Damon

“Stillwater”

Focus Features

17

Cooper Hoffman

“Licorice Pizza”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

18

Jake Gyllenhaal

“The Guilty”

Netflix

19

Nicolas Cage

“Pig”

Neon

20

Riz Ahmed

“Encounter”

Amazon Studios

ALSO IN CONTENTION

21

Jonathan Majors

“The Harder They Fall”

Netflix

22

Winston Duke

“Nine Days”

Sony Pictures Classics

23

Udo Kier

“Swan Song”

Magnolia Pictures

24

Dev Patel

“The Green Knight”

A24

25

Tim Blake Nelson

“Old Henry”

Shout! Studios

26

Michael B. Jordan

“A Journal for Jordan”

Sony Pictures

27

Amir Jadidi

“A Hero”

Amazon Studios

28

Justin Chon

“Blue Bayou”

Focus Features

29

Anthony Ramos

“In the Heights”

Warner Bros

30

Daniel Craig

“No Time to Die”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

UNRANKED LISTING

Adam Driver

“Annette”

Amazon Studios

Adam Driver

“The Last Duel”

20th Century Studios

Alessandro Nivola

“The Many Saints of Newark”

Warner Bros

Andrew Garfield

“Mainstream”

IFC Films

Ansel Elgort

“West Side Story”

20th Century Studios

Benedict Cumberbatch

“The Electrical Life of Louis Wain”

Amazon Studios

Benedict Cumberbatch

“The Courier”

Lionsgate

Chris Pratt

“The Tomorrow War”

Amazon Studios

Christoph Waltz

“Georgetown”

Vertical Entertainment

Clayne Crawford

“The Killing of Two Lovers”

Neon

Clint Eastwood

“Cry Macho”

Warner Bros

Dan Stevens

“I’m Your Man”

Bleecker Street

Don Cheadle

“No Sudden Move”

HBO Max

Ed Helms

“Together Together”

Bleecker Street

Eddie Murphy

“Coming 2 America”

Amazon Studios

Elijah Wood

“No Man of God”

RLJE Films

Eric Bana

“The Dry”

IFC Films

Filippo Scotti

“The Hand of God”

Netflix

Frankie Faison

“The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain”

Gravitas Ventures

Harvey Keitel

“Lansky”

Vertical Entertainment

Hilmir Snær Guðnason

“Lamb”

A24

James McAvoy

“Together”

Bleecker Street

Jim Broadbent

“The Duke”

Sony Pictures Classics

John Leguizamo

“Dark Blood”

FilmRise

Josh O’Connor

“Mothering Sunday”

Sony Pictures Classics

Keanu Reeves

“The Matrix Resurrections”

Warner Bros

Mark Duplass

“Language Lessons”

Shout! Studios

Matt Damon

“The Last Duel”

20th Century Studios

Matthew Goode

“The Colour Room”

Sky Cinema

Max Harwood

“Everybody’s Talking About Jamie”

Amazon Studios

Michael C. Hall

“John and the Hole”

IFC Films

Michael Caine

“Best Sellers”

Screen Media Films

Michael Greyeyes

“Wild Indian”

Vertical Entertainment

Michael Keaton

“Worth”

Netflix

Riz Ahmed

“Mogul Mowgli”

Strand Releasing

Ryan Reynolds

“Free Guy”

20th Century Studios

Simu Liu

“Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”

Marvel Studios

Tim Roth

“Bergman Island”

IFC Films

Timothée Chalamet

“Dune”

Warner Bros

Tom Hanks

“Finch”

Apple Original Films

Tom Hardy

“Venom: Let There Be Carnage”

Sony Pictures

Tom Holland

“Spider-Man: No Way Home”

Sony Pictures

Tye Sheridan

“The Tender Bar”

Amazon Studios

Zachary Levi

“American Underdog”

Lionsgate

AWARDS CATEGORY HISTORY (Best Actor)

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. The most awarded films in Oscar history are “Ben-Hur,” “Titanic” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” at 11 statuettes. The most nominated films in Academy history are “All About Eve,” “Titanic” and “La La Land” at 14. “La La Land” is the only film of the three to have lost best picture. The most prominent Oscar “losers,” meaning most nominated and walk away with zero awards, are 1977’s “The Turning Point” and 1985’s “The Color Purple” at 11 each. Daniel Day-Lewis has the most wins in this category with three, while Marlon Brando, Gary Cooper, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Fredric March, Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn and Spencer Tracy have two. Tracy and Sir Laurence Olivier have the most nominations in this category, with nine. Anthony Hopkins is currently the oldest winner and nominee ever at 82 for “The Father,” recently surpassing Henry Fonda for “On Golden Pond” and Richard Farnsworth for “The Straight Story.” Adrien Brody is the youngest winner ever for “The Pianist” at 29, while Jackie Cooper is the youngest nominee ever for “Skippy” at 9.

2022 Academy Awards Predictions

2021 Oscars predictions are here.

About the Academy Awards (Oscars)

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. Since 1927, nominees and winners have been selected by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Seventeen branches are represented within the near 10,000 person membership. The branches are actors, associates, casting directors, cinematographers, costume designers, directors, documentary, executives, film editors, makeup and hairstylists, marketing and public relations, members-at-large, members-at-large (artists’ representatives), music, producers, production design, short films and feature animation, sound, visual effects and writers.

  • The date for the 94th Oscars will be held on Sunday, Mar. 27, 2022

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