Best Actor Oscars 2023 Predictions and Contenders

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Does anyone want a Best Actor nomination? Anyone? After a somewhat competitive 2022, the current crop of Outstanding Lead Actors in A Motion Picture field is decidedly thin. Granted, that’s partially because of the films that are usually considered and what studios/distributors are willing to campaign, but, trust us, this is going to be rough going.

At this point in the race, there are only two actors who seem pretty likely to earn what will turn out to be their first Oscar nominations: Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin“) and Austin Butler (“Elvis”). The field is so weak that Searchlight PIctures may not fear having Farrell’s co-star, Brendan Gleeson, compete for lead actor instead of supporting (a nod he could easily snag). After those contenders, it’s anyone’s game.

Could Brendan Fraser make the cut thanks to critical praise for his performance in “The Whale?” Sure, but will the film play well enough with The Academy to do so? Could “Top Gun: Maverick’s” Tom Cruise earn his first acting nomination in 23 years for playing a character he originated 36 years before? You wouldn’t have thought so, but never say never this season. Will Jeremy Pope get the praise he deserves for “The Inspection?” Possible, but that means voters would need to make watching the movie a priority. Could “Parasite’s” Song Kang-ho become just the second South Korean actor nominated in this category for “Broker?” Well, he’s definitely campaigning for it. Will legendary Brit Bill Nighy finally crack the Oscar ceiling with “Living?” If he’s got the time to shake a lot of hands SPC could pull it off. And, lastly, will “The Fablemans” be beloved enough to give its young Steven Spielberg, Gabriel LaBelle, a taste of Oscar magic? If there’s one thing we know, never bet against Stevie!

There are still a number of potential players yet to screen, but this category is gonna be a head-scratcher almost to the end. [Posted Sept. 27]

*film not yet publicly screened
**unclear if performance will submit for this category or supporting

LIKELY

Colin Farrell, “The Banshees of Inisherin”
Austin Butler, “Elvis”

ALMOST THERE

Bill Nighy, “Living”
Brendan Fraser, “The Whale”
Brendan Gleeson, “The Banshees of Inisherin”**
Tom Cruise, “Top Gun: Maverick”
Jeremy Pope, “The Inspection”
Song Kang-ho, “Broker”
Gabriel LaBelle, “The Fabelmans”

POSSIBLE

Tom Hanks, “A Man Called Otto”*
Adam Sandler, “Hustle”
Hugh Jackman, “The Son”
Christian Bale, “Amsterdam”
Brad Pitt, “Babylon”*
Diego Calva, “Babylon”*
Adam Driver, “White Noise”

LONGSHOTS

Michael Ward, “Empire of Light”
Daniel Craig, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”

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