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Are Three Multiple-Win Actors Competing for the 5th Spot in "Best Actor"?

by Nathaniel R

They were 35, 37, and 32 when they won their first Osars

This Best Actor race has not been shaping up as we suspected two months ago when few imagined that fresher faces like 21 year old Timothée Chalamet, 28 year old first time leading man Daniel Kaluuya and 39 yr old but reads younger fringe dweller James Franco would be looking more secure for Best Actor spots than three of Oscar's all time favorite legendary leading men: Denzel Washington (2 wins), Tom Hanks (2 wins), and Daniel Day Lewis (3 wins). But that's what it feels like today after the SAG nominations have capped off a busy busy couple of weeks worth of pre-Oscar honors. 

But can it really be true that there's only one spot to claim between these three titans of Oscar hearts? Or are we reading the tea leaves wrong? Are voters ready to move on to fresher blood (two twentysomething in one Best Actor category would be quite something since that category far prefers mileage on a man) or will two or even three of the legends make it, tossing out one of the rising stars? What's your take on the situation? Though people have been calling Best Actor "weak" for months (perhaps for the lack of frontrunners... with Gary Oldman less of an inevitable winner than he at first seemed) it seems awfully competitive at the last minute.


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Reader Comments (45)

I think your final five is spot-on. Chalamet, Day-Lewis, Franco, Kaluuya, and Oldman would be a great line-up. The biggest excitement is who will win. My money is still on Oldman, but with his film not generating much exciting best picture heat, I’m starting to wonder if Chalamet can take it...

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

I agree with you that Daniel Kaluuya may have snuck his way in. But I also wouldn't be surprised if all three of these men were nominated at his and Chalamet's expense. I can see Timothee being a surprise snubee despite all the pre-cursor love. But if he is nominated...I can also see him winning the damn thing.

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBushwick

Denzel has the most challenging role, but the weakest film. If it comes down to voters going for the one who is stretching themselves the most, then Denzel may have the edge. He's also got the whole afterglow thing from Fences, where many feel he should have won

DDL has gotten some automatic handjobs from critics groups as expected , but I think he could be hurt by his own past performances. He's not going to win, and he's always been nominated as a frontrunner. Tough call.

They find it really easy to snub Hanks, so he may be in real trouble. He's campaigning this year and has a strong film. But his films have always been strong, and then he gets left out. And Meryl is getting the MVP reviews.

You can make a case for all of them missing or getting in, but I think Hanks has to be the most worried with his streak of misses with the Academy.

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

People haven't worked out that Denzel is the male Meryl Streep yet?

They don't care about his movie. He's been nodded in like one best picture nominee ever, and that was Fences. He's not missing with Globes + Sag nods.

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterUli

That list looks pretty solid, but I'm with you on Franco. He really feels like the one most likely to slip out at the last second. It's more of a "comedy comedy" than Get Out is, but considering all the youth in the category and especially considering the "importance" of his film next to everyone else in contention, it'd make sense if he slipped out for Hanks or Washington. Then again, it's crazy to me that he beat Day-Lewis to SAG, so maybe I'm crazy. Either way, these last slots feel crowded, and now it's suddenly a race.

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNick T

I’ve been predicting this lineup for awhile!

Honestly, I think Pattinson has a better shot than Gyllenhaal. I don’t think he’ll garner enough, but I’ll bet Robert gets some #1 votes, as where I can’t imagine Jake getting any.

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRoger

I think the slight snubs for Call Me By Your Name from regional critics groups and with SAG suggests that the ickiness factor of Elio's youth may be a strong factor with a lot of voters and that it may cost the film some nominations perhaps even Timothee Chalamet. I'm hoping that won't be the case as it's my favorite film of the year, but with the Kevin Spacey stuff the notion is fresh in voters' minds.

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

I am not sold that Kaluuya will show up in the Oscar nominations. I expect Denzel and Hanks to join Oldman, Chalamet and Franco.

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterReady

It's my hunch that DDL misses. He has 3 Best Actor prizes and Phantom Thread is not an Oscar film. If they snub Hanks a third time in a Best Picture nominee it'll seem like obvious mistreatment. Denzel is Denzel, and many wanted him to win last year. No way Chalamet isn't in. He's a steamroller.

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

As I said in my comment on the other thread, Denzel has never been overlooked by Oscar when he's received both Golden Globe and SAG nods for a leading performance, so I wouldn't bet against him. Unlike Hanks, who hasn't been nominated since 2000 despite high-profile work in prestige fare, the Academy has acknowledged him three times over the past 16 years. Unlike DDL, he doesnt need to he in a best picture contender to be recognized. We can't count him out.

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

Agree that Franco could slip out for Tom Hanks. I have not seen The Disaster Artist, but James Franco is a weirdo (wolf in sheep's clothing). Denzel is the male Meryl is so true. I think it will be irresistible for the Academy to nominate Day-Lewis, Hanks, and Washington, but this year has been so crazy that anything seems possible.

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJono

FYI, you might want to add another win to Chalamet's tally. Last night, Timothée Chalamet just won the Chicago Film Critics Award for Best Actor AND Breakthrough Performance. Here's the link to their awards:

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Lewis

I think that had THE POST screened in time for SAG voters, Hanks would have been in and this conversation wouldn't be happening?

I would feel pretty comfortable with an Oldman/Chalamet/Hanks/Kaluuya/Day-Lewis line-up.

Hanks has come in 6th (presumably) too many times since his last nomination for them to pass him over this year.

I think that Franco's film will ultimately feel to goofy and off-beat for the Oscars, but the screenplay still makes it in. (Think Ryan Gosling and LARS AND THE REAL GIRL.)

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

I'm not sold on Franco. He's good, but the film is about a cult bad movie and it's not made with the sort of artfulness that ED WOOD was. I dunno... I can easily see him missing by missing votes from people who aren't in on the joke and don't respond to the mocking tone.

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

The Disaster Artist could just as easily describe Franco’s Oscar hosting duties. Has AMPAS forgiven him for that trainwreck?

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

Why do I have a nagging feeling that Daniel Day-Lewis, Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, and James Franco will be the Best Actor nominees? I do hope I’m wrong because Timothee Chalamet deserves a nomination. Otherwise, shame shame shame.

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered Commentergoodbar

Given total lack of The Post today, including something like Best Cast with that many major names my guess is not enough people saw it. SAG is a huge guild. And late releases sometimes underperform here before going on to strike bette with BAFTA and Oscar. Given The Post's reception, that's the only explanation as to why it missed.

Similarly, SAG has become less friendly to Anderson and his is also a late release.

I think Oldman is in. I also think he's totally winning, the excitement of the current race makes it seem like there could be an upset but voters won't side with 21 Timothee over Oldman playing Churchill. If anyone it's Denzel who could snatch it away. But I don't think he'll make it because SAG and Globes do adore him, but them going with bigger names for Oct-early November releases that didn't go anywhere is exactly what they do.

By the time December comes DDL and Hanks will be fresher in voters minds. And Kaluuya being the star of the possible winner is not getting kicked out.

I think it's gonna be Oldman, Kaluuya, Chalamet, DDL and between Hanks or Franco for the last spot.

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSteve_Man

Oldham and Chalamet are solid nominees. Franco and Kaluuya will fall by the wayside. I think voters will select Day-Lewis because it will likely be their last opportunity to do so. Gyllenhaal is likely to slip in because of his consistently strong and varied performances. Fifth place? Probably Hanks because The Post has strong reviews and this provides an opportunity to make a supposed anti-Trump statement. That may be more important to voters than choosing a minority actor., especially when there are ample opoortunities in other acting categories. But regardless, it is a fascinating race.

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPete

Meryl doesn't get nominated for box office flops. Roman Israel, Esq. is a flop.

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Franco's not happening. No way in hell, even if he won the Globe. Kaluuya and Washington are fighting for the last slot. Chalamet, DDL, Oldman and I'm assuming Hanks are all in (though he's most likely of the four to miss).

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

While Best Actress race seems sealed, w Ronan, Hawkins, McDormand, Streep n Robbie, the Best Actor seems like an exciting open race!

The Post's absence fr SAG will not hurt its Oscar nom chances. In fact, the total snub is gonna make everyone sits up n actually takes notice. The Post will still get into Best Pic, Actor, Actress, n maybe Dir noms.

Back to the actor's race, its not Franco or Hanks tt I'm worried abt, it's Chalamet! Even thot he seems like a lock w plenty o critics loves n awards, his youth n the subject matter might still work agst him.

Thr's no way the academy is gonna pass up their last chance to nom DDL for his last great role. So Oldman, Hanks n DDL are in, n its down to Chalamet, Franco, Gyllenhaal n Washington fighting for the last 2 slots.

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

Oldman and Timothy are locked. After that those final three spots are up for grabs, no one is certain and it is very easy to see any one of this men not make it in favor of Denzel or Hanks or even Gyllenhaal still (though he is looking less and less likely)

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterHuh

@ Suzanne

I'm pretty sure Meryl Streep has been nominated for several movies that barely made any profit or tanked.

Music Of The Heart had a production budget of 27 million dollars. It made 14 million dollars in total at the box office. It grossed about half It's budget and Meryl still got an Oscar nomination out of it. So yes, Streep does get nominated for box office flops.

People need to quit with the denials and excuses. Denzel"s getting nominated for Roman J.

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterUli

Denzel is the hottest of the three, so he deserves it. Just adding my two cents.

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterbeyaccount

I loved Washington as Roman but I think he benefited from Hanks and Day-Lewis having late screeners at SAG, He is 6th at best to me.

Chalamet is a lock.

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

I still think that it's going to be:

With Franco being a possible spoiler replacing Jake.
Not buying Kaluuya.
Denzel can be nominated but I just don't get the buzz.

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCraver

Denzel feels like a nominee. It has that aura of a movie that leads to an acting nomination, and it's an interesting, complicated role in a movie that messes with what you would have anticipated...even if the movie occasionally gets too lost to be considered really good.

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Putting Stanton in 'maybe next time' category si pretty cynical, don't you think?

December 14, 2017 | Unregistered Commentermoviefilm

Hasn’t DDL announced his retirement like 3 times before this , I take that announcement with a grain of salt personally

December 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRami

moviefilm -- ack. that was just what i called the category of names. didn't think about his death, my bad. Not intentional.

rami -- i totally agree. the internet has made a much bigger deal about his retirement announcement than Oscar will (since he's done it before and he's not been campaigning that much)... which is why i have him in 5th spot.

December 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I guess it will come down to how many people saw and liked enough the late-breaking releases (The Post; Phantom Thread). Kind of exciting -- I just hope the nominations aren't garbage a la 2014 and 2015.

It would be so fascinating if Gary Oldman was the random snub. It'll never happen -- it just feels like nobody cares about that movie or performance. Maybe it's just the calm before the televised awards season storm.

December 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarc

There's no way Franco will be nominated for that film with such strong competition. Whoever likened it to Gosling in Lars and the Real Girl is right on the money... only Gosling is a more likable actor and 2007 wasn't as strong a year.

The nominees will be:


with Kaluuya and Hanks fighting for the 5th spot.

December 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEric

Neither The Post nor Phantom Thread have been released yet, so I'd have to reserve my judgement 'til both have been viewed. DDL hasn't been gettin' the love but stuff will change after the dust settles. Hanks had been recognized, both he seems to be on the Zmicgael Keaton/Spotlight rail of 'you just missed it. Denzel's film disappeared, so he'll have to hope that screeners do the trick.
In this season, all you need is 1 accusation of 'misbehavior' and any potential candidate might be doomed. Too bad that Harvey isn't around this Oscar season because the smear campaigns would be in high gear.

December 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTOM

Methinks Chalamet, Day-Lewis, Franco, Hanks and Oldman.

December 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Carden

I question Oldman's lock. He was supposed to be winning all the awards on the cakewalk to his first Oscar, but the critics aren't biting. Is it because Dunkirk showed us you could put Churchill's best speech in someone else's mouth and it would be more moving? (In this polarized year, are Oldman's own libertarian politics getting in the way of voters' love?)

Timing will matter: The Post and Phantom Thread's reviews and buzz will happen just as nomination ballots are out with voters, right? That could leave Franco and Kaluuya in the distance just as more familiar actors are fresh in Academy members' minds.

December 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

@San FranCinema

I don't think anyone ever thought Oldman was going to be a critics awards darling (i knew I didn't). Joe Wright is coming of a streak of failed/disappointingly recieved films, so Oldman's director was not a critics darling to begin with. So it was never a situation like Lincoln, where Daniel Day-Lewis not only had a transformational role, but one of the most respected directors ever lensing him. Darkest Hour simply was never a critics type movie, and that definitely would not help Oldman with those awards (other than a bunch of standard nominations)

Darkest Hour looked to be exactly what it is. Middlebrow British Oscarbait that would yeild dividends for Oldman when the industry/TV awards started coming into play. Pretty much similar to The Theory Of Everything....another movie too middlebrow for critics awards. Eddie Redmayne. Redmayne won less critics awards than Oldman so far (and very minor ones), yet he began to sweep when the televised awards came into play.

The Redmayne scenario will repeat itself, except I think Oldman looks even more of a sure thing than Redmayne did at the same point of the season. Oldman's overdue veteran narrative is too strong to ignore.

December 14, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterlilio

Uli - So you had to go back eighteen years to find an Oscar-nominated film of Meryl's that didn't turn a profit? Do you realize that in 1999 dollars, Roman J. Israel, Esq. has made only $7 million? That's half of Music of the Heart's gross!

December 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Just to clarify, I find it rather sexist and demeaning for people to claim that there is a "male Meryl." There is one Meryl. When Denzel has 20 Oscar nominations, then we can talk.

December 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Suzanne: What's your point? Music Of The Heart was still a flop. You claimed Streep never got nominated for box office flops. There was no stipulation about recent box office flops. It took me a 2 minute google search to find 1 box office flop she was nominated in, and i probably could have found more if I needed to. But I only needed 1 to disprove your statement entirely. don't make absolute statements if you don't have your facts in order.

I don't care what Roman J earned in 1999 dollars, and I doubt anyone voting for his performance does either. You are moving the goalposts because you made a claim that was proven false.

December 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterUli

I find it rather sexist and demeaning for people to claim that there is a "male Meryl." There is one Meryl. When Denzel has 20 Oscar nominations, then we can talk.

He'll never earn 20 nominations for acting. And unlikely anyone else will follow her path. But her path is only her path because people are invested in her professional and artistic mythology. Plus she's white so her narrative should be scrutinized with suspicion.

December 14, 2017 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

My quintet consists of Chamalet, Franco, Oldman, Kaluuya and Day-Lewis (his winning edge over Hanks and Washington, his promise that this is his final film... oh, does he want a 4th Oscar and to be the male Katherine Hepburn)...

Washington's film probably won't have that much critic support and diversity voters will underline Kaluuya over Washington (who seriously, deserves a third when so many others like Oldman are still waiting for the first?)

Hanks is... Hanks. I can't really see the AMPAS ignoring Streep, but Hanks... they already did, with powerful performances, so they won't have trouble to do it again.

I think Chamalet and Franco may look iffy in appearance but one is a breakthrough on a Best Picture contender, and the other one is simply astonishing in his recreation of one of the most peculiar characters in Hollywood and is doing double duty as director... I have "The Disaster Artist" as a likely Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay nominee... it may win Screenplay or Actor, too.

I don't think Kaluuya will be overlooked. Specially after being the only african american included on the SAG ensemble shortlist, in this film.

And Oldman, is the frontrunner (biopic/overdue), but it's in no way a lock for the win. I'd say the state of this race is....

1. Oldman
2. Franco
3. Chamalet
4. Kaluuya
5. Day-Lewis
6. Washington
7. Hanks
8. Gyllenhaal
9. no one, really, as Carell seems to be going supporting, in the end.

December 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Alonso

I think it's also worth noting that Denzel, DDL and Hanks all won their first Oscars before Timothee Chalamet was even BORN!

December 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterIrvin

Srly people, as rephrasing Regina George: "Jake Gyllenhaal is no gonna happen". I know TFE is full of Gyllenholics, but it's time to let it go. If SAG (The nicest place for BO flops and noc1rr films with full dramatic acting) didn't matter for him and prefered Denzel, it's enough evidence NO ONE really cares "Stronger" or Gyllenhaal at all. The film was also flopping hard in the critics and precursors noms. Or people is still stubborn?

December 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLeon

You should have stopped after your first sentence.... the remainder of your thought shows you are an imbecile!!

December 21, 2017 | Unregistered Commentergrrr

Well grrr, it's not my fault no one really cares a September flop :P

January 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLeon

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