Oscar Predictions: Best Actor – Did the Indie Spirit Snub for Brendan Fraser Mean Anything for the Oscar Campaign?

Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tony awards ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis. The prediction pages are Davis’ assessment of the current standings of the race and do not reflect personal preferences for any film or performance. Like any organization or body that votes, each individual category is fluid and subject to change. Predictions are updated every Thursday.

LAST UPDATED: Nov. 22, 2022

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2023 Oscars Predictions: Best Actor

THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN, Colin Farrell, 2022. ph: Jonathan Hession / © Searchlight Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection
THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN, Colin Farrell, 2022. ph: Jonathan Hession / © Searchlight Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

CATEGORY COMMENTARY: Some of the big surprises (and snubs) at the Independent Spirit Awards nominations were a complete shutout of Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale” and its best actor frontrunner Brendan Fraser. Will that hurt his Oscar chances? Notable names like Jake Gyllenhaal from “Brokeback Mountain” were also snubbed by the organization and went on to receive recognition.

See the latest film predictions, in all 23 categories, in one place on Variety’s Oscars Collective.

To see the ranked predictions for each individual category, visit Variety’s Oscars Hub.

See the Golden Globe predictions in all of the film categories.

See the 2022-2023 Awards Season calendar for all key dates and timelines.

ALL AWARDS CONTENDERS AND RANKINGS:

Emancipation
Will Smith in “Emancipation” (Apple Original Films)

And The Predicted Nominees Are:

Rank

Name

Film

Distributor

1

Brendan Fraser

“The Whale”

A24

A reclusive English teacher suffering from severe obesity attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter for one last chance at redemption.

2

Colin Farrell

“The Banshees of Inisherin”

Searchlight Pictures

Two lifelong friends find themselves at an impasse when one abruptly ends their relationship, with alarming consequences for both of them.

3

Austin Butler

“Elvis”

Warner Bros

Biopic of Elvis Presley, from his childhood to becoming a rock and movie star in the 1950s while maintaining a complex relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker.

4

Bill Nighy

“Living”

Sony Pictures Classics

An English-language adaptation of the script of “Ikiru” (1952), set in London in the 1950s.

5

Hugh Jackman

“The Son”

Sony Pictures Classics

Peter as his busy life with new partner Emma and their baby is thrown into disarray when his ex-wife Kate turns up with their teenage son, Nicholas.

Next in Line

6

Will Smith

“Emancipation”

Apple Original Films

A runaway slave forges through the swamps of Louisiana on a tortuous journey to escape plantation owners that nearly killed him.

7

Tom Cruise

“Top Gun: Maverick”

Paramount Pictures

After thirty years, Maverick is still pushing the envelope as a top naval aviator, but must confront ghosts of his past when he leads TOP GUN’s elite graduates on a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those chosen to fly it.

8

Gabriel LaBelle

“The Fabelmans”

Universal Pictures

A semi-autobiography based on Spielberg’s own childhood growing up in post-war Arizona, from age seven to eighteen.

9

Jonathan Majors

“Devotion”

Sony Pictures

A pair of U.S. Navy fighter pilots risk their lives during the Korean War and become some of the Navy’s most celebrated wingmen.

10

Adam Sandler

“Hustle”

Netflix

A basketball scout discovers a phenomenal street ball player while in Spain and sees the prospect as his opportunity to get back into the NBA.

Other Top-Tier Contenders

11

Tom Hanks

“A Man Called Otto”

Sony Pictures

12

Diego Calva

“Babylon”

Paramount Pictures

13

Paul Mescal

“Aftersun”

A24

14

Jeremy Pope

“The Inspection”

A24

15

Jim Parsons

“Spoiler Alert”

Focus Features

16

Colin Farrell

“After Yang”

A24

17

Eden Dambrine

“Close”

A24

18

Timothée Chalamet

“Bones and All”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

19

Ralph Fiennes

“The Menu”

Searchlight Pictures

20

Wes Studi

“A Love Song”

Bleecker Street

Also In Contention

21

Adam Driver

“White Noise”

Netflix

22

Song Kang-ho

“Broker”

Neon

23

Christian Bale

“The Pale Blue Eye”

Netflix

24

Harris Dickinson

“Triangle of Sadness”

Neon

25

Sam Worthington

“Avatar: The Way of Water”

20th Century Studios

26

Park Hae-il

“Decision to Leave”

Mubi

27

N.T. Rama Rao Jr.

“RRR”

Variance Films

28

Ram Charan Teja

“RRR”

Variance Films

29

Daniel Kaluuya

“Nope”

Universal Pictures

30

Ricardo Darín

“Argentina, 1985”

Amazon Studios

Unranked Possible Contenders

Adam Sandler

“Hustle”

Netflix

Alexander Skarsgård

“The Northman”

Focus Features

Antonio Banderas

“Official Competition”

IFC Films

Daniel Zolghardi

“Funny Pages”

A24

Austin Butler

“Elvis”

Warner Bros.

Ben Kingsley

“Dalíland”

No U.S. Distribution

Benedict Cumberbatch

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”

Marvel Studios

Bill Nighy

“Living”

Sony Pictures Classics

Billy Eichner

“Bros”

Universal Pictures

Brad Pitt

“Bullet Train”

Sony Pictures

Brendan Fraser

“The Whale”

A24

Caleb Landry Jones

“Nitram”

IFC Films

Channing Tatum

“Dog”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

Chris Evans

“Lightyear”

Pixar

Chris Evans

“The Gray Man”

Netflix

Chris Hemsworth

“Thor: Love and Thunder”

Marvel Studios

Chris Pine

“All the Old Knives”

Amazon Studios

Christian Bale

“Amsterdam”

20th Century Studios

Christian Bale

“The Pale Blue Eye”

Netflix

Colin Farrell

“After Yang”

A24

Colin Farrell

“The Banshees of Inisherin”

Searchlight Pictures

Cooper Raiff

“Cha Cha Real Smooth”

Apple Original Films

Daniel Craig

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”

Netflix

Daniel Giménez Cacho

“Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths”

Netflix

Daniel Kaluuya

“Nope”

Universal Pictures

Daryl McCormack

“Good Luck to You, Leo Grande”

Searchlight Pictures

David Earl

“Brian and Charles”

Focus Features

David Howard Thornton

“Terrifier 2”

Cinedigm

Diego Calva

“Babylon”

Paramount Pictures

Donald Elise Watkins

“Emergency”

Amazon Studios

Dwayne Johnson

“Black Adam”

Warner Bros

Eden Dambrine

“Close”

A24

Ethan Hawke*

“Raymond & Ray”

Apple Original Films

Ewan McGregor*

“Raymond & Ray”

Apple Original Films

Fleix Kammerer

“All Quiet on the Western Front”

Netflix

Gabrielle LaBelle

“The Fabelmans”

Universal Pictures

George Clooney

“Ticket to Paradise”

Universal Pictures

Gregory Mann

“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”

Netflix

Harris Dickinson

“Triangle of Sadness”

Neon

Hugh Jackman

“The Son”

Sony Pictures Classics

Idris Elba

“Three Thousand Years of Longing”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

Jack O’Connell

“Lady Chatterley’s Lover”

Netflix

Jake Gyllenhaal

“Ambulance”

Universal Pictures

Javier Bardem

“Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile”

Sony Pictures

Jim Parsons

“Spoiler Alert”

Focus Features

John Boyega

“Breaking”

Bleecker Street

Jonathan Majors

“Devotion”

Sony Pictures

Jordan Peele

“Wendell and Wild”

Netflix

Justin Chatwin

“The Walk”

Vertical Entertainment

Karl Urban

“The Sea Beast”

Netflix

Keegan-Michael Key

“Wendell and Wild”

Netflix

Mark Rylance

“The Outfit”

Focus Features

Mark Rylance

“The Phantom of the Open”

Sony Pictures Classics

Mehdi Bajestani

“Holy Spider”

Utopia

Michael Banks Repeta

“Armageddon Time”

Focus Features

N.T. Rama Rao Jr.

“RRR”

Variance Films

Nicolas Cage

“Butcher’s Crossing”

Saban Films

Nicolas Cage

“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent”

Lionsgate

Owen Teague

“Montana Story”

Bleecker Street

Park Hae-il

“Decision to Leave”

Mubi

Pascal Greggory

“One Fine Morning”

Sony Pictures Classics

Patton Oswalt

“I Love My Dad”

Magnolia Pictures

Paul Mescal

“Aftersun”

A24

Ralph Fiennes

“The Forgiven”

Roadside Attractions

Ralph Fiennes

“The Menu”

Searchlight Pictures

Ram Charan Teja

“RRR”

Variance Films

Ricardo Darín

“Argentina, 1985”

Amazon Studios

RJ Cyler

“Emergency”

Amazon Studios

Robert Pattinson

“The Batman”

Warner Bros.

Ryan Gosling

“The Gray Man”

Netflix

Sam Rockwell

“See How They Run”

Searchlight Pictures

Sam Worthington

“Avatar: The Way of Water”

20th Century Studios

Song Kang-ho

“Broker”

Neon

Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù

“Mr. Malcolm’s List”

Bleecker Street

Sterling K. Brown

“Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul”

Universal Pictures

Steve Coogan*

“The Lost King”

Warner Bros.

Tim Roth

“Resurrection”

IFC Films

Timothée Chalamet

“Bones and All”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

Timothée Chalamet*

“Bones and All”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

Tom Cruise

“Top Gun: Maverick”

Paramount Pictures

Tom Hanks

“A Man Called Otto”

Sony Pictures

Viggo Mortensen

“Crimes of the Future”

Neon

Vincent Lindon

“Both Side of the Blade”

IFC Films

Wes Studi

“A Love Song”

Bleecker Street

Will Ferrell

“Spirited”

Apple Original Films

Will Smith

“Emancipation”

Apple Original Films

Zac Efron

“The Greatest Beer Run Ever”

Apple Original Films

2023 Academy Awards Predictions

BEST PICTURE | DIRECTOR | ACTOR | ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE | PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING | SOUND | VISUAL EFFECTS | ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE | INTERNATIONAL FEATURE | ANIMATED SHORT | DOCUMENTARY SHORT | LIVE ACTION SHORT

The 95th Oscars ceremony will be held at the Dolby Theatre and televised live on Sunday, March 12, 2022, on ABC.

2022 category winner: Will Smith, "King Richard" (Warner Bros.)

About Variety Awards Circuit:

Variety's unmatched coverage gives its readership unbeatable exposure in print and online, as well as provides inside reports on all the contenders in this year's awards season races. In addition to predictions, the section includes -- Awards Circuit Column, a weekly analysis dissecting the trends and contenders in the race; Awards Circuit Podcast, a weekly series featuring interviews with the top contenders in the awards race and an expert roundtable discussion with Variety's leading editors and columnists; Awards Circuit Predictions Video Series, a deep dive into specific categories, led by the leading pundits.

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