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« Best Actress / Supporting Actress - Chart Updates! | Main | 'On the Floor' »

Best Actor / Supporting Actor - Chart Updates!

by Nathaniel R

Netflix would like to have 80% of the BEST ACTOR field (Driver, Murphy, Pryce, DeNiro) but that will prove impossible.

The new predictions are in. Best Actor is more exciting and competitive than Best Actress this year which is a strange and unusual development... and we don't like it! We kid. The male actors deserve their moment in the sun occassionally, even if they're not as fun to shine light on. The strangest thing about the leading actor competition is, at least at the moment, Netflix literally appears to have about 1/3rd of the entire competitive field. But since their can be only 5, we think that this shotgun approach will only result in two nominees at best. Right now we're going with Adam Driver (who feels like the ultimate winner... though let's not pretend anything's locked up yet in late September) and Eddie Murphy (who could easily not happen given Netflix's other horses in the race).

As for Supporting Actor. It isn't that much different than Best Actor this year. This year has been fairly heavy with duet films for men (The Lighthouse, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Ford v Ferrari, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, The Two Popes) so naturally a few of the co-leads will definitely block out supporting players for the coveted nominations. We're mostly giving the side-eye to Willem Dafoe. He's the most egregious category frauder this year since you can't be a supporting actor in a cast of two! (There are technically a few other actors that appear in The Lighthouse but they're non-speaking cameos. It's a duet film from start to finish). It's a shame that Dafoe is competing supporting because we think he'd still be competitive for a nomination in lead despite the strong year. The only traditional-sized supporting role that we think won't be hurt by the co-leads muscling in is Alan Alda's divorce attorney in Marriage Story. In some ways he's the film's most loveable character, and Alda has been nominated for less (The Aviator). At 83 he'll have sentiment on his side, too.


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Reader Comments (32)

Might we see noms for Marriage Story in all 4 acting categories?!!

September 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterParanoid Android

Paranoid -- i feel so sure that we're going to.

September 21, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I saw Katey Rich's tweet about Adam Driver's performance being more like a typical Best Actress win (and your response). I do wonder if Driver's backstory and physicality lends itself to countering the vulnerability a lot of male voters tend not to respond to. By that I mean the 6'3"-former-Marine-Juilliard-grad-ness of Driver might make them more comfortable responding to the kind of vulnerable performance that they'd find off-putting in someone less "masculine." I'm not sure if I'm making sense with this argument, though.

The race could be a nail-biter between him and Phoenix, whose performance is probably more in line with what they like to reward (physical, weight loss), though the movie may be a harder sell.

September 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Looks like, no matter what shakes out, we're going to see a VERY old Supporting Actor lineup. A lot of amazing veterans doing great work this year.

September 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJP

I agree with Kate that it looks like it may come down to Phoenix vs. Driver. Obviously, one other factor there would be people seeing Phoenix as "due", whereas Driver will have other chances (not that Phoenix won't, but you get the idea). On the other hand, despite not being any more forthcoming with the press, I imagine Driver is seen as a lot more "likeable" than Phoenix is.

In short, if it does come down to the two of them, there are a ton of factors working for and against them both, making the outcome very much in doubt.

September 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJP

I think we'll have to agree to disagree on Dafoe's placement in Supporting being "category fraud", because even though it's a two-hander, the film is very clearly told from Pattinson's point of view, which to me makes Dafoe's part a very clear supporting role (I actually felt the very nature of his character was ambiguous). If I remember correctly, Dafoe is never on-screen alone, while Pattinson constantly is, which to me makes it a very clear case that it's a supporting role (I may have to watch the film again though).

September 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

I haven't seen Jojo Rabbit yet, but is Taika Waititi not a Supporting Actor contender? The role on paper sounds like it would be, even if it's somewhat of a silly character.

September 21, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterryan14

Yikes I don't like that B/Actor list bar Driver.

September 21, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Who is better in the film Liotta or Alda.

September 21, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk



September 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterErick Loggia

Intriguing to me the lack of Two Popes mention. It'll likely figure into these races more than Dolemite.

September 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTony Ruggio

I agree with the distinction of Pitt being a “borderline lead” for HOLLYWOOD. I still consider him a co-lead, but his placement in Supporting doesn’t feel nearly as icky or egregious as last year with the women in THE FAVOURITE and Mahershala in that one movie.

Supportive doesn’t necessarily mean Supporting, but it obviously reads that way for many, and Cliff is VERY supportive.

September 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRoger

Mark -- Alda for sure but Liotta's part is just as big.

Ryan -- that was an error. accidentally deleted him from the spreadsheet. have fixed.

September 21, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nat!!!!! Stop teasing with the men and move on to the women already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

September 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKaye

Rooting for:
Pattinson, Bale, Driver, Phoenix and Banderas in lead

Pitt, Liotta, Sterling, ++++making room for other supporting men

September 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterManuel

I loved Sterling K. Brown in Waves, but fear that A24 might not give him enough of a push. They haven't exactly juggled multiple Oscar campaigns so well in the past...

I'm predicting Taika because of how showy that role is (it was the strongest narrative part of Jojo Rabbit for me). It certainly seems like people responded to that movie given the TIFF PCA and that's the most notable part so it'd be weird to see it miss out.

I'm also dreading a Supporting Actor lineup that features both Pitt and Hanks. Arguments about whether the role is lead or supporting aside, they're both in the upper echelon of leading male movie stars. It feels like it's antithetical to the category's original intent.

September 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Why’d you use a picture of Adam Driver in The Report for his Marriage Story nomination? lol

September 21, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterbeyaccount

Dolemite is going to surprise this season. Because it's big, black and funny, nobody wants to predict or touch it. But there's a new academy brewing and this will probably fall right in place for it. Nobody even wanted to cover this movie. Nobody I read went to see it at TIFF. The trailer dropped, not a peep. But that 40 second "Bombshell" tease was dissected to death. The reviews are strong enough so the hesitation on it makes me ponder; is it because it's too black or because it's Netflix?

September 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMorgan (the 1st)


Black might be part of it, but mostly it's the one two punch of Netflix AND a pretty obscure figure. Plus Eddie Murphy has been out of the limelight for some time, easy to think Academy will ignore the movie. And they will.

September 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTony Ruggio

I think it's more to do with the obscureness the tone and Murphy who is no longer relevant to most film goers,yes for 80's 90's kids and his fans but anybody else it would be "who?" and that is sad.

I work with a lot of younger people than myself,when i said i was excited to see Judy they had to look on their phones to see who Judy Garland was which I sort of understood but then they had to look up Renee Zellweger to see what she'd been in.

This happens a lot to me,some people don't look past 2010 for movies to see.

September 21, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Agree best actor is stronger than this weak line up for best actress. You have Scarlett as age 66.

September 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTom Ford

I think Eddie Murphy had his "Look guys, I'm a serious actor!" moment. It's a harder trick to pull off a second time, four Razzie vehicles later.

I can't wait to see the movie but I'm not sure he can muster enough goodwill for another career reset. Especially with the other factors (Netflix) cited above.

September 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

I believe THE TWO POPES actors are stronger than what we are assuming. Critics loved the movie and audiences who it at the film festivals also liked it a lot... Netflix will campaign hard for MARRIAGE STORY in all categories, but I believe Netflix will also promote Pryce and Hopkins in the acting categories, specially if THE IRISHMAN flops

September 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEd

agreed about two popes. festival response was verrrry positive and anthony hopkins seems to be having a blast in such an unexpectedly droll part. expertly acted and extremely memorable to boot.

September 21, 2019 | Unregistered Commenteris that so wrong?

"You can't be a supporting actor in a cast of two!" Really? Says what Academy rule or concept in film criticism? Your campaign against category fraud is often admirable, but not so much when you start making up rules on the spot just to justify YOUR own opinion on categories.

September 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRon

I feel like the Netflix films releasing in December - MARRIAGE STORY and THE TWO POPES - have the best chances of being remembered and maintaining traction into critics' and guild voting. That's why I don't see DOLEMITE or THE LAUNDROMAT lasting the distance.

THE IRISHMAN will get nominated for something - just like BUSTER SCRUGGS did last year - but maybe only screenplay and craft categories. Of course it could be a masterpiece and blow everyone away - we'll soon find out!

At this early stage it does feel like Driver v Phoenix for the win. Will be interesting to see if Driver dominates the critics' awards and then Phoenix starts winning at the televised ceremonies. Part of me loves the idea of Joaquin Phoenix winning an Oscar, but I wish it was for YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE. I think MARRIAGE STORY is going to be more my kind of movie than JOKER.

September 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSteve G

I want to believe that Adam Driver will win Best Actor but I do fear the Joaquin Phoenix train that's coming, especially when the movie makes cash money at the box office.

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

"You can't be a supporting actor in a cast of two!" Yeah. That's wrong. George CloonEy was hardly a co-lead in GRAVITY.

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDaniella Isaacs

BTW, I think we're all underestimating Scorsese. It might, of course, be a BRINGING OUT THE DEAD, or it might just be (checks notes) the ninth film he's directed to get multiple nominations including Best Picture. Hell, 13 of his films have garnered Oscar nods for actors. It seems pretty safe to assume someone will break through.

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDaniella Isaacs

Daniella Isaacs -- but George Clooney isn't in the whole movie. Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson share the entire movie.

September 22, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Ron -- its hard to be clear in tiny bit sizes charts like that. People can agree to disagree of course but Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson are the only speaking actors in the movie and they share their scenes and they're both in the whole movie essentially. It's a duet film!

Try to imagine a gothic horror version of CAROL (for role size sake) and then remove all characters that aren't Carol & Teresa and then I think you'll agree that both cant be anything other than leads.

September 22, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I'm not judging that film or those performances, I'm just commenting on what seemed to be a simple declaration on your part: "you can't be a supporting actor in a cast of two!" Sorry if I misunderstood.

September 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDaniella Isaacs

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