Oscars Predictions: Best Actor – Benedict Cumberbatch, Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield Could Juggle Multiple Projects for Awards

·14-min read

Variety's Awards Circuit is home to the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars and Emmys ceremonies from film awards editor Clayton Davis. Following history, buzz, news, reviews and sources, the Oscar and Emmy predictions are updated regularly with the current year's list of contenders in all categories. Variety's Awards Circuit Prediction schedule consists of four phases, running all year long: Draft, Pre-Season, Regular Season and Post Season. The eligibility calendar and dates of awards will determine how long each phase lasts and is subject to change.

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DRAFT>>>PRE-SEASON>>>REGULAR SEASON>>>POST SEASON

2022 OSCARS PREDICTIONS:
BEST ACTOR

UPDATED: July 15, 2021

AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: The end of the pandemic has multiple movies from contenders hitting the ground simultaneously this upcoming awards season. Adam Driver has “Annette,” “The Last Duel” and “House of Gucci,” while Andrew Garfield is managing “Tick, Tick…Boom!” and “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.” Benedict Cumberbatch will navigate “The Power of the Dog” and “The Electrical Life of Louis Wain,” and even Denzel Washington will be playing with both acting and directing this year with “The Tragedy of Macbeth” and “A Journal for Jordan.” And then there are the unknowns factors that will be making plays for overdue attention, most prominently Will Smith in “King Richard,” rumored to be his defining career moment possibly. Let’s see how it all shakes out.

<img class="size-vertical wp-image-1234993544" src="https://variety.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/tick-tick-boom.jpg?w=1024&quot; alt=" - Credit: Netflix" width="1024" height="543" srcset="https://variety.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/tick-tick-boom.jpg 1106w, https://variety.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/tick-tick-boom.jpg?resize=150,79 150w, https://variety.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/tick-tick-boom.jpg?resize=300,159 300w" sizes="(min-width: 87.5rem) 1000px, (min-width: 78.75rem) 681px, (min-width: 48rem) 450px, (max-width: 48rem) 250px" />Netflix

AND THE PREDICTED NOMINEES ARE:

  1. Will Smith
    "King Richard" (Warner Bros)

    DIRECTOR: Reinaldo Marcus Green
    SYNOPSIS: A look at how tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams became who they are after the coaching from their father Richard Williams.
    STARRING: Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis, Jon Bernthal, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Tony Goldwyn, Dylan McDermott

  2. Benedict Cumberbatch
    "The Power of the Dog (Netflix)

    DIRECTOR: Jane Campion
    SYNOPSIS: A pair of brothers who own a large ranch in Montana are pitted against each other when one of them gets married.
    STARRING: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Thomasin McKenzie, Kodi Smit-McPhee

  3. Andrew Garfield
    "Tick, Tick...Boom!" (Netflix)

    DIRECTOR: Lin-Manuel Miranda
    SYNOPSIS: The story of Jon, an aspiring theater composer who is waiting tables in New York City while writing Superbia - which he hopes will be the next great American musical and finally give him his big break.
    STARRING: Andrew Garfield, Bradley Whitford, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexandra Shipp, Judith Light, Joanna Adler, Noah Robbins, Robin de Jesus, Joshua Henry

  4. Peter Dinklage
    "Cyrano" (MGM/United Artists Releasing)

    DIRECTOR: Joe Wright
    SYNOPSIS: Follows the life of Cyrano de Bergerac.
    STARRING: Peter Dinklage, Haley Bennett, Ben Mendelsohn, Brian Tyree Henry, Kelvin Harrison Jr.

  5. Clifton Collins Jr
    "Jockey" (Sony Pictures Classics)

    DIRECTOR: Clint Bentley
    SYNOPSIS: An aging jockey aims for a final championship, when a rookie rider arrives claiming to be his son.
    STARRING: Clifton Collins Jr., Molly Parker, Moises Arias

<img class="size-vertical wp-image-1234891495" src="https://variety.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/dont-look-up-e1611594299536.png?w=1000&quot; alt=" - Credit: Courtesy of NETFLIX" width="1000" height="586" srcset="https://variety.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/dont-look-up-e1611594299536.png 1000w, https://variety.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/dont-look-up-e1611594299536.png?resize=150,88 150w, https://variety.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/dont-look-up-e1611594299536.png?resize=300,176 300w" sizes="(min-width: 87.5rem) 1000px, (min-width: 78.75rem) 681px, (min-width: 48rem) 450px, (max-width: 48rem) 250px" />Courtesy of NETFLIX

NEXT IN LINE CONTENDERS:

  1. Adam Driver
    "House of Gucci" (MGM/United Artists Releasing)

    DIRECTOR: Ridley Scott
    SYNOPSIS: The story of how Patrizia Reggiani, the ex-wife of Maurizio Gucci, plotted to kill her husband, the grandson of renowned fashion designer Guccio Gucci.
    STARRING: Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Al Pacino, Salma Hayek, Jared Leto, Jack Huston, Jeremy Irons

  2. Denzel Washington
    "The Tragedy of Macbeth" (A24/Apple TV Plus)

    DIRECTOR: Joel Coen
    SYNOPSIS: A Scottish lord becomes convinced by a trio of witches that he will become the next King of Scotland, and his ambitious wife supports him in his plans of seizing power.
    STARRING: Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Brendan Gleeson, Corey Hawkins, Sean Patrick Thomas, Ralph Ineson, Brian Thompson

  3. Michael B. Jordan
    "A Journal for Jordan" (Sony Pictures)

    DIRECTOR: Denzel Washington
    SYNOPSIS: 1st Sgt. Charles Monroe King, before he is killed in action in Baghdad, authors a journal for his son intended to tell him how to live a decent life despite growing up without a father.
    STARRING: Michael B. Jordan, Chanté Adams

  4. Leonardo DiCaprio
    "Don't Look Up" (Netflix)

    DIRECTOR: Adam McKay
    SYNOPSIS: The story of two low-level astronomers, who must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet earth.
    STARRING: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett, Rob Morgan, Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, Timothée Chalamet, Ariana Grande, Himesh Patel, Matthew Perry, Tyler Perry, Ron Perlman, Chris Evans, Mark Rylance, Michael Chiklis

  5. Bradley Cooper
    "Nightmare Alley" (Searchlight Pictures)

    DIRECTOR: Guillermo del Toro
    SYNOPSIS: An ambitious carny with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words hooks up with a female psychiatrist who is even more dangerous than he is.
    STARRING: Bradley Cooper, Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, David Strathairn, Willem Dafoe, Ron Perlman, Mary Steenburgen, Holt McCallany, Clifton Collins Jr, Richard Jenkins, Tim Blake Nelson

STILLWATER, Matt Damon, 2021. ph: Jessica Forde /&#xa9; Focus Features /Courtesy Everett Collection - Credit: Courtesy of Focus Features/Everett Collection
STILLWATER, Matt Damon, 2021. ph: Jessica Forde /© Focus Features /Courtesy Everett Collection - Credit: Courtesy of Focus Features/Everett Collection

Courtesy of Focus Features/Everett Collection

TOP-TIER AWARDS CONTENDERS:

  1. Joaquin Phoenix
    "C'mon C'mon" (A24)

    DIRECTOR: Mike Mills
    SYNOPSIS
    : An artist embarks on a a cross-country trip with his young nephew.

    STARRING: Joaquin Phoenix, Gaby Hoffmann, Woody Norman, Jaboukie Young-White

  2. Justin Chon
    "Blue Bayou" (Focus Features)

    DIRECTOR: Justin Chon
    SYNOPSIS: As a Korean-American man raised in the Louisiana bayou works hard to make a life for his family, he must confront the ghosts of his past as he discovers that he could be deported from the only country he has ever called home.
    STARRING: Justin Chon, Alicia Vikander, Mark O'Brien, Emory Cohen

  3. Javier Bardem
    "Being the Ricardos" (Amazon Studios)

    DIRECTOR: Aaron Sorkin
    SYNOPSIS: Follows Lucy and Desi as they face a crisis that could end their careers and another that could end their marriage.
    STARRING: Javier Bardem, Nicole Kidman, J.K. Simmons, Nina Arianda, Alia Shawkat, Jake Lacy, Clark Gregg, Tony Hale

  4. Matt Damon
    "Stillwater" (Focus Features)

    DIRECTOR: Tom McCarthy
    SYNOPSIS: A father travels from Oklahoma to France to help his estranged daughter, who is in prison for a murder she claims she didn't commit.
    STARRING: Matt Damon, Abigail Breslin, Camille Cottin, Deanna Dunagan

  5. Oscar Isaac
    "The Card Counter" (Focus Features)

    DIRECTOR: Paul Schrader
    SYNOPSIS: A gambler attempts to give guidance to a young man who is out for revenge against a mutual enemy.
    STARRING: Oscar Isaac, Tye Sheridan, Tiffany Haddish, Willem Dafoe

  6. Jonathan Majors
    "The Harder They Fall" (Netflix)

    DIRECTOR: Jeymes Samuel
    SYNOPSIS: When an outlaw discovers his enemy is being released from prison, he reunites his gang to seek revenge in this Western.
    STARRING: Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Lakeith Stanfield, Regina King, Delroy Lindo, Zazie Beetz, RJ Cyler

  7. Timothée Chalamet
    "Dune" (Warner Bros)

    DIRECTOR: Denis Villeneuve
    SYNOPSIS: Feature adaptation of Frank Herbert's science fiction novel, about the son of a noble family entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy.
    STARRING: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, David Dastmalchian, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem

  8. Cooper Hoffman
    "Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Project" (MGM/United Artists Releasing)

    DIRECTOR: Paul Thomas Anderson
    SYNOPSIS: Set in 1970s San Fernando Valley, the film follows a high school student, who is also a successful child actor.
    STARRING: Bradley Cooper, Cooper Hoffman, Alana Haim, Skyler Gisondo, Benny Safdie

  9. Toni Servillo
    The Hand of God (Netflix)

    DIRECTOR: Paolo Sorrentino
    SYNOPSIS: Plot unknown. Set in Naples and said to be a very personal film.
    STARRING: Toni Servillo

  10. Amir Jadidi
    "A Hero" (Amazon Studios)

    DIRECTOR: Asghar Farhadi
    SYNOPSIS: Rahim is in prison because of a debt he was unable to repay. During a two-day leave, he tries to convince his creditor to withdraw his complaint against the payment of part of the sum. But things don't go as planned.
    STARRING: Amir Jadidi, Mohsen Tanabandeh, Sarina Farhadi, Fereshteh Sadr Orafaie

Red Rocket - Credit: Courtesy of A24
Red Rocket - Credit: Courtesy of A24

Courtesy of A24

ALSO IN CONTENTION:

  1. Simon Rex
    "Red Rocket" (A24)

    DIRECTOR: Sean Baker
    SYNOPSIS: Mikey Saber is a washed-up porn star who returns to his small Texas hometown, not that anyone really wants him back.
    STARRING: Simon Rex, Bree Elrod, Suzanna Son

  2. Ben Platt
    "Dear Evan Hansen" (Universal Pictures)

    DIRECTOR: Stephen Chobsky
    SYNOPSIS: Film adaptation of the Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical about Evan Hansen, a high school senior with Social Anxiety disorder and his journey of self-discovery and acceptance following the suicide of a fellow classmate.
    STARRING: Ben Platt, Kaitlyn Dever, Amandla Stenberg, Nik Dodani, Colton Ryan, Danny Pino, Julianne Moore, Amy Adams

  3. Anthony Ramos
    "In the Heights" (Warner Bros)

    DIRECTOR: Jon M. Chu
    SYNOPSIS: A film version of the Broadway musical in which Usnavi, a sympathetic New York bodega owner, saves every penny every day as he imagines and sings about a better life.
    STARRING: Anthony Ramos, Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Melissa Barrera, Olga Merediz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Gregory Diaz IV, Jimmy Smits

  4. Jude Hill
    "Belfast" (Focus Features)††

    DIRECTOR: Kenneth Branagh
    SYNOPSIS: A young boy and his working class family experience the tumultuous late 1960s.
    STARRING: Judi Dench, Caitriona Balfe, Jamie Dornan, Ciarán Hinds, Jude Hill

  5. Tye Sheridan
    "The Tender Bar" (Amazon Studios)††

    DIRECTOR: George Clooney
    SYNOPSIS: A boy growing up on Long Island seeks out father figures among the patrons at his uncle's bar.
    STARRING: Ben Affleck, Tye Sheridan, Lily Rabe, Christopher Lloyd, Sondra James, Max Martini, Michael Braun, Matthew Delamater, Max Casella, Rhenzy Feliz, Ivan Leung, Briana Middleton, Daniel Ranieri

  6. Ansel Elgort
    "West Side Story" (20th Century Studios)

    DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg
    SYNOPSIS: An adaptation of the 1957 musical, West Side Story explores forbidden love and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds.
    STARRING: Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Mike Faist, Josh Andrés Rivera, Ana Isabelle, Corey Stoll, Brian d'Arcy James, Rita Moreno

  7. Matt Damon
    "The Last Duel" (20th Century Studios)

    DIRECTOR: Ridley Scott
    SYNOPSIS: King Charles VI declares that Knight Jean de Carrouges settle his dispute with his squire by challenging him to a duel.
    STARRING: Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, Ben Affleck

  8. Nicolas Cage
    "Pig" (Neon)

    DIRECTOR: Miguel Sapochnik
    SYNOPSIS: A truffle hunter who lives alone in the Oregonian wilderness must return to his past in Portland in search of his beloved foraging pig after she is kidnapped.
    STARRING: Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff, Adam Arkin

  9. Dev Patel
    "The Green Knight" (A24)

    DIRECTOR: David Lowery
    SYNOPSIS: A fantasy re-telling of the medieval story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
    STARRING: Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Sarita Choudhury, Sean Harris, Kate Dickie, Barry Keoghan, Ralph Ineson

  10. Winston Duke
    "Nine Days" (Sony Pictures Classics)

    DIRECTOR: Edson Oda
    SYNOPSIS: A reclusive man conducts a series of interviews with human souls for a chance to be born.
    STARRING: Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz, Benedict Wong

Annette - Credit: Courtesy of Amazon Studios
Annette - Credit: Courtesy of Amazon Studios

Courtesy of Amazon Studios

MORE AWARDS CONTENDERS:

  1. Benedict Cumberbatch
    "The Electrical Life of Louis Wain" (Amazon Studios)

    DIRECTOR: Will Sharpe
    SYNOPSIS: English artist Louis Wain rises to prominence at the end of the 19th century for his surreal cat paintings.
    STARRING: Benedict Cumberbatch, Claire Foy, Andrea Riseborough, Toby Jones, Sharon Rooney

  2. Adam Driver
    "Annette" (Amazon Studios)

    DIRECTOR: Leos Carax
    SYNOPSIS: A stand-up comedian and his opera singer wife have a 2 year old daughter with a surprising gift.
    STARRING: Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard, Simon Helberg

  3. Zachary Levi
    "American Underdog" (Lionsgate)

    DIRECTOR: Andrew Erwin, Jon Erwin
    SYNOPSIS: The story of NFL MVP and Hall of Fame quarterback, Kurt Warner, who went from stocking shelves at a supermarket to becoming an American Football star.
    STARRING: Zachary Levi, Anna Paquin, Ser'Darius Blain, Adam Baldwin, Bruce McGill, Dennis Quaid

  4. Mahershala Ali
    "Swan Song" (Apple TV Plus)

    DIRECTOR: Benjamin Cleary
    SYNOPSIS: When a loving husband and father is diagnosed with a terminal illness, he's presented with a controversial alternative solution to replace himself with a carbon copy clone.
    STARRING: Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Glenn Close, Awkwafina, Adam Beach

  5. Simu Liu
    "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" (Marvel Studios)

    DIRECTOR: Destin Daniel Cretton
    SYNOPSIS: Shang-Chi, the master of unarmed weaponry based Kung Fu, is forced to confront his past after being drawn into the Ten Rings organization.
    STARRING: Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Tony Leung, Michelle Yeoh, Fala Chen, Meng'er Zhang, Florian Munteanu, Ronny Chieng

  6. Josh O'Connor
    "Mothering Sunday" (Sony Pictures Classics)†/††

    DIRECTOR: Eva Husson
    SYNOPSIS: A maid living in post-World War I England secretly plans to meet with the man she loves before he leaves to marry another woman.
    STARRING: Odessa Young, Josh O'Connor, Olivia Colman, Colin Firth, Sope Dirisu, Glenda Jackson

  7. Clint Eastwood
    "Cry Macho" (Warner Bros)

    DIRECTOR: Clint Eastwood
    SYNOPSIS: A one-time rodeo star and washed-up horse breeder takes a job to bring a man's young son home and away from his alcoholic mom. On their journey, the horseman finds redemption through teaching the boy what it means to be a good man.
    STARRING: Clint Eastwood, Dwight Yoakam, Eduardo Minett

  8. Andrew Garfield
    "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" (Searchlight Pictures)

    DIRECTOR: Michael Showalter
    SYNOPSIS: An intimate look at the extraordinary rise, fall and redemption of televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker.
    STARRING: Jessica Chastain, Andrew Garfield, Cherry Jones, Vincent D'Onofrio

  9. Michael Gandolfini
    "The Many Saints of Newark" (Warner Bros)

    DIRECTOR: Alan Taylor
    SYNOPSIS: A look at the formative years of New Jersey gangster, Tony Soprano.
    STARRING: Michael Gandolfini, Alessandro Nivola, Leslie Odom, Jr., Jon Bernthal

  10. Tom Hanks
    "Finch" (Apple TV Plus)

    DIRECTOR: Miguel Sapochnik
    SYNOPSIS: On a post-apocalyptic earth, a robot, built to protect the life of his creator's beloved dog, learns about life, love, friendship and what it means to be human.
    STARRING: Tom Hanks, Caleb Landry Jones, Skeet Ulrich

Swan Song - Credit: Chris Stephens
Swan Song - Credit: Chris Stephens

Chris Stephens

† = no release date scheduled / could be delayed / may not be eligible
†† = could be campaigned in lead or supporting categories / original or adapted screenplay categories

ALL AWARDS CONTENDERS (UNRANKED):

Coming soon…

AWARDS CATEGORY HISTORY (Best Director)

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. The most awarded films in Oscar history are “Ben-Hur,” “Titanic” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” at 11 statuettes. The most nominated films in Academy history are “All About Eve,” “Titanic” and “La La Land” at 14. “La La Land” is the only film of the three to have lost best picture. The biggest Oscar “losers,” meaning most nominated and walk away with zero awards, are 1977’s “The Turning Point” and 1985’s “The Color Purple” at 11 each. Daniel Day-Lewis has the most wins in this category with three, while Marlon Brando, Gary Cooper, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Fredric March, Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn and Spencer Tracy all have two. Tracy and Sir Laurence Olivier have the most nominations in this category, with nine. Henry Fonda is currently the oldest winner at 76 for “On Golden Pond,” while Richard Farnsworth is the oldest nominee at 79 for “The Straight Story.” Adrien Brody is the youngest winner ever for “The Pianist” at 29, while Jackie Cooper is the youngest nominee ever for “Skippy” at 9.

2022 Academy Awards Predictions

  • Best Picture

  • Best Director

  • Best Actor

  • Best Actress

  • Best Supporting Actor

  • Best Supporting Actress

  • Best Original Screenplay

  • Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Best Animated Feature

  • Best Production Design

  • Best Cinematography

  • Best Costume Design

  • Best Film Editing

  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  • Best Sound

  • Best Visual Effects

  • Best Original Score

  • Best Original Song

  • Best Documentary Feature

  • Best International Feature

  • Best Animated Short

  • Best Documentary Short

  • Best Live-Action Short

2021 Oscars predictions are here.

About the Academy Awards (Oscars)

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. Since 1927, nominees and winners are selected by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). 17 branches are represented within the near 10,000 person membership. The branches are actors, associates, casting directors, cinematographers, costume designers, directors, documentary, executives, film editors, makeup and hairstylists, marketing and public relations, members-at-large, members-at-large (artists’ representatives), music, producers, production design, short films and feature animation, sound, visual effects and writers.

  • The date for the 94th Oscars will be held on Sunday, March 27, 2022

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