The race for Best Actor, which has been fluid for a while but has recently seen some movement, is far from over. It’s not entirely clear who will be nominated for what. Nominees for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor usually come from the same film that was up for Best Picture.
Examining Oscar history requires us to compare the eras when there were only five Best Picture nominees (1944-2009) with the more recent eras when the slate has been expanded (2009-present). At least according to the numbers, Best Picture sweeps were more common when there were five nominees.
Winners of Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor (or both) were much more frequently paired with Best Picture. It used to be more common for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor to go together with Best Picture, but that has changed in the modern era of the expanded ballot.
Twice now, the Best Actor award has coincided with the Best Picture award, and three times now, the Best Supporting Actor award has done the same; in two of these instances, it was the same actor, Mahershala Ali. However, in the decades prior, it was common for Best Actor and Best Supporting to be rolled into a Best Picture victory.
With the larger number of nominees on the ballot, voters are more likely to divide up the top honors among several well-known movies, making sweeps highly unlikely.
That’s why Best Picture winners typically only win a few Oscars. With the larger number of nominees, it is extremely rare for a film to receive ten Oscars. The winner of the Best Actor or Best Actress award is usually one that did not receive the Best Picture Oscar nomination.
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With a minimum of 10 nominees required this year, audiences should be able to vote for films from a wide range of budgets and genres.
Because of the enthusiastic response to the first trailer, I’ve raised Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in my rankings. In my opinion, the impressive dramas The Woman King and She Said are currently just outside of these 12 contenders.
- The Fabelmans
- The Banshees of Inisherin
- Everything Everywhere All At Once
- Women Talking
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
- Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
- Top Gun: Maverick
- Empire of Light
- Avatar: The Way of Water
The Fabelmans, a deeply personal drama directed by Steven Spielberg, continues to lead the pack. Additionally, Sarah Polley of Women Talking has the best chance of winning this award despite competing against a male-only field.
- Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans
- Todd Field, TÁR
- Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin
- Daniel Scheinert & Dan Kwan, Everything Everywhere All at Once
- Rian Johnson, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
- Sarah Polley, Women Talking
- Sam Mendes, Empire of Light
- James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water
- Damien Chazelle, Babylon
- Baz Luhrmann, Elvis
Still, I think this category boils down to a duel between two seasoned actors who have never been nominated for an award before: Brendan Fraser and Colin Farrell. I have Farrell at the top of my list because I believe
The Banshees of Inisherin will be received more warmly by the general public. For his late submission, Emancipation, Will Smith is still a wild card. He’s a long shot at best, given how controversial he still is as a person.
- Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin
- Brendan Fraser, The Whale
- Austin Butler, Elvis
- Hugh Jackman, The Son
- Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans
- Jeremy Pope, The Inspection
- Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick
- Adam Sandler, Hustle
- Bill Nighy, Living
- Daniel Craig, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Best Supporting Actor
There is a greater degree of difficulty in making predictions for the supporting races this year. Will movies like “The Banshees of Inisherin” and “The Fabelmans” get two nominations here? It’s not impossible at all.
- Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin
- Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once
- Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans
- Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin
- Ben Whishaw, Women Talking
- Paul Dano, The Fabelmans
- Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time
- Eddie Redmayne, The Good Nurse
- Jeremy Strong, Armageddon Time
- Brian Tyree Henry, Causeway
Currently, the top five seem untouchable, with the possible exception of Viola Davis (The Woman King), though I can’t imagine who she’d displace.
As more and more people see Danielle Deadwyler’s incredible turn in Till, her star is bound to rise. Meanwhile, I wish Pearl’s fabulous Mia Goth received more notice.
- Cate Blanchett, TÁR
- Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once
- Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans
- Danielle Deadwyler, Till
- Olivia Colman, Empire of Light
- Viola Davis, The Woman King
- Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway
- Mia Goth, Pearl
- Emma Thompson, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande
- Ana de Armas, Blonde
Best Supporting Actress
This category has been shaken up by Carey Mulligan’s surprising turn as a supporting player in She Said. Meanwhile, with the increasing interest in Everything, Everywhere, All at Once, Jamie Lee Curtis has moved into my top five.
- Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin
- Jessie Buckley, Women Talking
- Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once
- Claire Foy, Women Talking
- Carey Mulligan, She Said
- Janelle Monae, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
- Nina Hoss, TÁR
- Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once
- Laura Dern, The Son
- Thuso Mbedu, The Woman King
Hulu’s acclaimed drama series “Dopesick” earned Michael Keaton the award for Best Actor in a Limited Anthology Series at the 74th Television Academy Awards, aka the Emmys 2022.