Kind of surprised that we don't have one of these yet as this is the one acting category that seems to be have any suspense whatsoever attached to it.
I would've thought that Michael Keaton's actor-friendly performance in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) would steamroll into the lead throughout the season (and it looks like it was going to for a little while). The role of Riggan Thomson/Birdman hits a lot of Academy sweet spots: actor playing an actor, play within a movie, Keaton's riff on his own career, a big comeback role, etc. He is definitely a very strong possibility for the win.
Eddie Redmayne's much-lauded performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything seems to me more a triumph of contortion and mimicry than any sort of outstanding acting achievement. If he doesn't win this year, he'll be automatically nominated for The Danish Girl and will be seen as a very strong competitor in that race regardless of who comes out between now and then.
Harvey Weinstein's somewhat shameless "Honor the Man; Honor the Film" ploy (when the film actually seems to dishonor Alan Turing to a certain extent, turning him into some kind of Asperger-y misfit) doesn't appear to be working any favors for Benedict Cumberbatch who has the kind of role that would probably have netted him the gong in the early 2000s. The Academy just doesn't seem to respond as much anymore to something as anodyne as his work in the very underwhelming The Imitation Game.
Steve Carrel seems just happy to be there for his creepy performance in Foxcatcher which I really thought was better than buzzed about and allowed the actor to show off some of the versatility we first saw in Little Miss Sunshine. His nomination is his award this year.
I realize that this is very anecdotal, but I've spoken to two of my friends who are Academy members and they've both voted for Bradley Cooper (American Sniper) and Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night). I've heard rumblings elsewhere of a Bradley Cooper wave that seemed to have peaked around the time that ballots were due. And his big profile on "60 Minutes" a couple weekends ago certainly doesn't hurt. Could he really be some type of spoiler in the -- what I thought was -- a two-man race up until this point? Has there ever been an actor (not previously awarded) who was nominated three times in a row and then still did not get the Oscar on the third attempt?
My gut tells me that Keaton will swoop in at the last second to take this in one of the more emotional moments of the night. But the Academy could very well follow SAG And BAFTA and go with Redmayne. But obviously look out for Cooper as a spoiler.
For the films of 2014
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