Every day until the Oscars ceremony we’ll be highlighting a different category or movie here on the LAMB! Here’s a link to all the posts written so far .
Today, Doug Jamieson of The Jam Report is here to look at the Best Actor Category.
In a year dominated by impeccable female lead performances, the male lead performances have almost fallen to the background this year. The Academy weren’t exactly spoiled for choice this year, with four of the five final Best Actor nominees seeming like locks all season long. But just who would be the ultimate victor has been a rollercoaster ride. Let’s take a look at the contenders.
Christian Bale – Vice
With another startling physical transformation and a whole stack of prosthetics and make up, Bale completely inhabits former Vice President Dick Cheney, disappearing into his role with the kind of commitment he’s become so well known for. In a divisive film that’s splitting reactions right down the middle, even the film’s detractors couldn’t deny the power of his performance. And, for a while there, he looked likely to take home his second Oscar. But relatively surprising losses at SAG and on home soil at BAFTA have seen his chances slip away.
Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born
The earliest Best Actor frontrunner was Cooper, back in the days when it was looking like A Star Is Born was potentially going to sweep the entire ceremony. As writer, director, producer, songwriter, and star, Cooper threw himself into the production of his debut film like few others and subsequently delivered the best performance of his career. But when Roma took off and Cooper’s chances at Best Director immediately evaporated, many thought he’d become an unstoppable force for Best Actor. But without a single major victory this season, it’s not happening this year.
Willem Dafoe – At Eternity’s Gate
Probably the most challenging role of the bunch, 62-year-old Dafoe plays tortured 37-year-old artist Vincent van Gogh, and somehow pulls it off flawlessly. In a mesmerising performance, Dafoe portrays the final days of van Gogh’s life with the joyous highs and agonising lows beleaguering the tragic painter, as he struggles with mental illness and alcoholism. The film can be a tough watch, and it was somewhat surprising to see Dafoe nab the fifth spot. If this is to be his fourth Oscar loss, you’d have to start calling Dafoe well overdue for a victory.
Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody
Is there anything stopping Malek from heading up to claim that Best Actor trophy? After victories at SAG, BAFTA, and the Golden Globes, he’s looking unbeatable at this point. Despite controversy surrounding Bohemian Rhapsody and Malek’s refusal to truly discuss Bryan Singer’s involvement with the production, his chances haven’t been affected. Is he the most deserving this year? Not even close, but when does that ever matter? He’s playing a beloved icon in a film that’s grossed $800 million worldwide. Game over. Never mind the fact it’s a goofy caricature that’s silly and entertaining, and very little else. This is a victory people will likely look back on and laugh.
Viggo Mortensen – Green Book
Rising above the deep, deep problems of Green Book, Mortensen offers an endearing and lovable performance as the big oaf who is nothing more than a product of his time and setting. When we meet Tony, he’s an imprudent racist who’s knows little of the world outside his bubble. But Mortensen finds the pathos in an initially unlikeable character, delivering a surprisingly empathetic turn that elevates an otherwise woeful film. If there is a true dark horse here, it’s Mortensen, especially if the love for Green Book is strong.
Will win: Rami Malek
Should win: Literally anyone else
Shamefully snubbed: Ethan Hawke – First Reformed