Oscars Predictions: Best Actor – Can Andrew Garfield Sing His Way to Academy Attention?

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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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2022 OSCARS PREDICTIONS:
BEST ACTOR

UPDATED: Oct 21, 2021

AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: Reinaldo Marcus Green’s sports drama “King Richard” is shaping up to have the same advantage that propelled “The Blind Side” to a best actress Oscar for Sandra Bullock. Its centerpiece is Will Smith, who’s now at the forefront of what is going to be a cutthroat best actor race. Smith is one of the most influential and successful ’90s movie stars who has yet to win an Academy Award. Along with Tom Cruise, Smith remains in the Oscar-less realm, 20 years after nabbing his first nom for Michael Mann’s “Ali” (2001), which he followed up with Gabriel Mucchino’s “The Pursuit of Happyness” (2006). Showcasing some of his finest moments as an actor, “King Richard” is such a crowd-pleaser, it’ll be difficult to not find room in your heart for its triumphant story of determination and dreams.

Denzel Washington as Macbeth will be a formidable challenger to Will Smith’s Richard Williams in the crowd-pleaser “King Richard.” This marks a possible Oscar rematch, 20 years after Washington’s performance in “Training Day” claimed victory over Smith’s turn in “Ali.” It should also be noted that there are many leading men already in the mix with Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Power of the Dog”), Clifton Collins, Jr (“Jockey”), Peter Dinklage (“Cyrano”), Joaquin Phoenix (“C’mon C’mon”) and Simon Rex (“Red Rocket”) already making noise – with other possibilities waiting in the wings (Javier Bardem, Bradley Cooper, Leonardo DiCaprio, Adam Driver, Andrew Garfield and Cooper Hoffman).

The legs for “The Power of the Dog” rest in the actors. Benedict Cumberbatch, who hasn’t been nominated since Morten Tyldum’s “The Imitation Game” (2014), looks to be in a good position to angle for his second nom. His dominating and terrifying Phil Burbank strikes fear into those who encounter him, and it’s one of his strongest turns. With three other films this year – “The Courier,” “The Electrical Life of Louis Wain” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” – he’ll be splashed across the media landscape for his campaign.

Oscar nominations voting begins on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, and will end on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. The official Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, with the ceremony taking place on Sunday, March 27, 2022.

Awards Season Calendar (2021-2022)

ALL AWARDS CONTENDERS AND RANKINGS:

THE POWER OF THE DOG: BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH as PHIL BURBANK in THE POWER OF THE DOG. Cr. KIRSTY GRIFFIN/NETFLIX © 2021 - Credit: KIRSTY GRIFFIN/NETFLIX
THE POWER OF THE DOG: BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH as PHIL BURBANK in THE POWER OF THE DOG. Cr. KIRSTY GRIFFIN/NETFLIX © 2021 - Credit: KIRSTY GRIFFIN/NETFLIX

KIRSTY GRIFFIN/NETFLIX

RANK

ACTOR

FILM

STUDIO

1

Will Smith

King Richard

Warner Bros

2

Denzel Washington

The Tragedy of Macbeth

A24/Apple Original Films

3

Benedict Cumberbatch

The Power of the Dog

Netflix

4

Andrew Garfield

tick, tick…Boom!

Netflix

5

Clifton Collins, Jr.

Jockey

Sony Pictures Classics

NEXT IN LINE

6

Peter Dinklage

Cyrano

United Artists Releasing/MGM

7

Joaquin Phoenix

C’mon C’mon

A24

8

Jude Hill

Belfast

Focus Features

9

Simon Rex

Red Rocket

A24

10

Mahershala Ali

Swan Song

Apple Original Films

OTHER TOP-TIER CONTENDERS

11

Oscar Isaac

The Card Counter

Focus Features

12

Jonathan Majors

The Harder They Fall

Netflix

13

Bradley Cooper

Nightmare Alley

Searchlight Pictures

14

Riz Ahmed

Encounter

Amazon Studios

15

Leonardo DiCaprio

Don’t Look Up

Netflix

16

Matt Damon

Stillwater

Focus Features

17

Javier Bardem

Being the Ricardos

Amazon Studios

18

Cooper Hoffman

Licorice Pizza

United Artists Releasing/MGM

19

Michael B. Jordan

A Journal for Jordan

Sony Pictures

20

Winston Duke

Nine Days

Sony Pictures Classics

ALSO IN CONTENTION

21

Jake Gyllenhaal

The Guilty

Netflix

22

Adam Driver

Annette

Amazon Studios

23

Nicolas Cage

Pig

Neon

24

Adam Driver

House of Gucci

United Artists Releasing/MGM

25

Michael Keaton

Worth

Netflix

26

Udo Kier

Swan Song

Magnolia Pictures

27

Dev Patel

The Green Knight

A24

28

Tim Blake Nelson

Old Henry

Shout! Studios

29

Daniel Craig

No Time to Die

United Artists Releasing/MGM

30

Amir Jadidi

A Hero

Amazon Studios

OTHER POSSIBILITIES

31

Tye Sheridan

The Tender Bar

Amazon Studios

32

Timothée Chalamet

Dune

Warner Bros

33

Justin Chon

Blue Bayou

Focus Features

34

Filippo Scotti

The Hand of God

Netflix

35

Benedict Cumberbatch

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

Amazon Studios

36

Anthony Ramos

In the Heights

Warner Bros

37

Tim Roth

Bergman Island

IFC Films

38

Dan Stevens

I’m Your Man

Bleecker Street

39

Eric Bana

The Dry

IFC Films

40

Ansel Elgort

West Side Story

20th Century Studios

UNRANKED LISTING

Alessandro Nivola

The Many Saints of Newark

Warner Bros

Andrew Garfield

Mainstream

IFC Films

Ben Platt

Dear Evan Hansen

Universal Pictures

Benedict Cumberbatch

The Courier

Lionsgate

Chris Pratt

The Tomorrow War

Amazon Studios

Christoph Waltz

Georgetown

Vertical Entertainment

Clayne Crawford

The Killing of Two Lovers

Neon

Clint Eastwood

Cry Macho

Warner Bros

Don Cheadle

No Sudden Move

HBO Max

Ed Helms

Together Together

Bleecker Street

Eddie Murphy

Coming 2 America

Amazon Studios

Harvey Keitel

Lansky

Vertical Entertainment

James McAvoy

Together

Bleecker Street

Jim Broadbent

The Duke

Sony Pictures Classics

John Leguizamo

Dark Blood

FilmRise

Josh O’Connor*

Mothering Sunday

Sony Pictures Classics

Keanu Reeves

The Matrix Resurrections

Warner Bros

Mark Duplass

Language Lessons

Shout! Studios

Matt Damon

The Last Duel

20th Century Studios

Max Harwood

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Amazon Studios

Michael C. Hall

John and the Hole

IFC Films

Numan Acar

The Way of the Wind

No U.S. Distribution

Riz Ahmed

Mogul Mowgli

Strand Releasing

Ryan Reynolds

Free Guy

20th Century Studios

Simu Liu

Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Marvel Studios

Tom Hanks

Finch

Apple Original Films

Tom Hardy

Venom: Let There Be Carnage

Sony Pictures

Tom Holland

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Sony Pictures

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

Candyman

Universal Pictures

Zachary Levi

American Underdog

Lionsgate

AWARDS CATEGORY HISTORY (Best Actor)

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. Anthony Hopkins is currently the oldest winner and nominee ever at 82 for “The Father,” recently surpassing Henry Fonda for “On Golden Pond” and Richard Farnsworth 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

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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