2020 Oscar Predictions: Best Actor

By
Adam Driver, Joaquin Phoenix, Jonathan Pryce
Images via Netflix / Warner Bros. / Netflix

It's time to mint a new class of Academy Award winners. ET has spent the entire awards season sussing out which Oscar contenders would become nominees -- and now, which nominees will become winners. On Feb. 9, the Academy will hand out their little gold men, but until then, here's where things stand in the Best Actor race.

I'm pressed to remember the last time the Best Actor field was as crowded as this year's. At the start, it seemed like past nominees such as Robert De Niro and Eddie Murphy would be shoo-ins. Alas, neither made the cut. Instead, the nominees comprise a mix of Oscar stalwarts and first-timers, while the once-competitive race has seemingly offered up an easy winner in the as-yet-unbeatable Joaquin Phoenix.

THE PREDICTIONS

Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

Who Will Win:

Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

Potential Spoiler:

Adam Driver, Marriage Story


Also check out: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor


THE SCORECARD

Pain and Glory, Antonio Banderas
Image via Sony Pictures Classics

Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory

The Role: Salvador Mallo, a lauded Madrid filmmaker taking stock of his life as the 30th anniversary of his breakthrough film approaches.

Oscar History: This is Banderas' first nomination.

Awards season scorecard:

Cannes Film Festival - Best Actor (Winner)
Critics Choice Awards - Best Actor (Nominee)
Golden Globes - Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama (Nominee)
Hollywood Film Awards - Hollywood Actor Award (Winner)
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards - Best Actor (Winner)
National Society of Film Critics - Best Actor (Winner)
New York Film Critics Circle - Best Actor (Winner)


Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Image via Sony Pictures

Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

The Role: Rick Dalton, a fading star of TV Westerns who is fighting to stay relevant as the Golden Age of Hollywood comes to an end.

Oscar History: One win, for Best Actor in The Revenant (2015), with four additional nominations, for Best Supporting Actor in What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1994) and Best Actor in The Aviator (2005), Blood Diamond (2007) and The Wolf of Wall Street (2014).

Awards season scorecard:

BAFTA Awards - Leading Actor (Nominee)
Critics Choice Awards - Best Actor (Nominee)
Golden Globes - Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy (Nominee)
SAG Awards - Male Actor in a Leading Role (Nominee)


Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Image via Netflix

Adam Driver, Marriage Story

The Role: Charlie, a theater director navigating his divorce and single fatherhood after splitting from Scarlett Johansson's character.

Oscar History: One nomination, for Best Supporting Actor in BlacKkKlansman (2019).

Awards season scorecard:

BAFTA Awards - Leading Actor (Nominee)
Critics Choice Awards - Best Actor (Nominee)
Golden Globes - Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama (Nominee)
Gotham Awards - Best Actor (Winner)
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards - Best Actor (Runner-up)
National Society of Film Critics - Best Actor (Runner-up)
SAG Awards - Male Actor in a Leading Role (Nominee)


Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

The Role: Arthur Fleck, a wannabe comedian who will become Gotham City's Clown Prince of Crime and Batman's most infamous nemesis.

Oscar History: Three nominations, for Best Supporting Actor in Gladiator (2001) and Best Actor in Walk the Line (2006) and The Master (2013).

Awards season scorecard:

BAFTA Awards - Leading Actor (Winner)
Critics Choice Awards - Best Actor (Winner)
Golden Globes - Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama (Winner)
SAG Awards - Male Actor in a Leading Role (Winner)


Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes
Image via Netflix

Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

The Role: Cardinal Bergoglio, critic of Pope Benedict and the man who would become Pope Francis, colloquially known as "Cool Pope."

Oscar History: This is Pryce's first nomination.

Awards season scorecard:

BAFTA Awards - Leading Actor (Nominee)
Golden Globes - Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama (Nominee)


[This story was originally published on December 10, 2019.]

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