Film
Oscar Odds: Best Actor
By LaDale Anderson
Feb 22, 2014 - 4:47:50 AM

HOLLYWOOD—This is perhaps the one race that I have been most intrigued by all awards season: Best Actor. There is a reason for it. The competition in this race has never been as fierce and competitive in my opinion. There are so many people predicting a front-runner in this race, but I would caution on placing preferential bets because this is anyone’s game and I mean almost any of the five actors nominated can claim the top prize.  First up let’s take a look at Bruce Dern for his work in “ Nebraska.” He hasn’t been nominated in a few decades and with his current age he could make history with a win. His performance is gritty, driven to the core and quite the revelation to say the least.  He’s the sentimental favorite, there’s a problem with sentiment in Hollywood, not many people care. Take a look at actor Peter O’Toole who was nominated eight times and not once did he win an Oscar, his last nomination also placed him in the sentiment seat, and look what happened?

 

Then we have to transition to Christian Bale who is an actor who goes to extremes for a role. He lost multiple pounds as a drug addict in his Oscar-winning performance for “The Fighter” and he’s gained nearly 40 pounds for his role in “American Hustle.” Is Bale a threat? Yes, he was overlooked a bit at some awards ceremonies for his transformative performance in “Hustle.” He just suffers one problem; he’s a previous Oscar-winner. If you are planning to win a second Oscar in a short time span, the work has to be sensational. He’s incredible in “Hustle,” but I would say the work from some of his competitors outshines him just a bit.

Leonardo_DiCaprio_1.jpg
Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Wolf of Wall Street."

 

Up next, we have an actor in my eyes who has been overlooked so many times by the Academy it’s a travesty.  Leonardo DiCaprio at this point should have taken home at least one Oscar in my opinion and it was for a movie he wasn’t’ even nominated for even though he should have been. Any guesses? It was for his work in “The Departed,” simply sensational.

 

DiCaprio delivers a charismatic, tour-de-force performance as Jordan Belfort, a hard-partying, greed driven Wall Street broker, who did some unspeakable things. “The Wolf of Wall Street” is not an easy watch for those not accustomed to over the top sex, drugs and alcohol.  DiCaprio displays a side of himself that is not seen on the big screen much and its hands down some of his best work to date, so McConaughey be scared if you ask me.

 

This race in my opinion comes down to two actors: Matthew McConaughey “Dallas Buyers Club” and Chiwetel Ejiofor “12 Years a Slave.” Ejiofor brings to the screen a character that is haunted, broken down to the barest part of his soul, as he fights for his freedom. His performance is one that haunts the audience long after leaving the movie theater, which is a testament to riveting acting from Ejiofor who has gone under the radar for quite some time in Hollywood.

 

McConaughey on the other-hand gives a transformative performance as a man grappling with life-changing news after discovering that he has HIV.  Not only did McConaughey solidify his character by losing tons of weight for the role, he completely embodies this man to the core. Perhaps, the most haunting scene in the movie occurs towards the end when Ron heads into court hoping for a victory; you just feel for the character to a degree that words cannot explain. 

This is my toughest race to predict, as I love all the actors. I’m secretly rooting for DiCaprio to capture the win as he deserves it on so many levels, but some are a bit hesitant because of the raunchiness of “The Wolf of Wall Street.” The same can be said for Chiwetel Ejiofor for “12 Years a Slave.” If more Academy members screen the film within the next week, this could be Ejiofor’s well-deserved win.  The safe bet is Matthew McConaughey “Dallas Buyers Club,” but I have a feeling many will be surprised as the envelope opened will have one of two names: DiCaprio or Ejiofor. I’m going with the underdog, Ejiofor for the win.



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