HOLLYWOOD—So in recent weeks we have discussed our predictions for Oscar when it comes to Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Actress. This week we tackle the category for Best Actor which in my opinion is another race where the victor could be any of the five nominees. Those contenders include Austin Butler “Elvis,” Colin Farrell “The Banshees of Inisherin,” Brendan Fraser “The Whale,” Paul Mescal “Aftersun” and Bill Nighy “Living.”

For most people they are aware that this appears to be a two-person race between Butler and Fraser. I would agree, but those two receiving such high accolades, could lead to them splitting the vote and allow someone like Farrell who is being heralded for his performance to sneak in and gain a victory. I personally did not love “The Banshees of Inisherin.” It is a weird movie that is absolutely a dark comedy and Farrell is a standout, but the movie just was not my cup of tea people.

With that said,  we also have Paul Mescal who many haven’t considered a contender who delivers a quieting yet haunting performance as a father attempting to bond with his young daughter while on vacation in “Aftersun.” It is a stoic, quiet, but memorable performance, sometimes you don’t have to be big or loud to shine, this is a flick where the acting speaks for itself and that may connect with many members of the Academy. Could he win? It is possible for anyone to win, but I think he has an uphill battle. You have Nighy who delivers a strong performance as a man reflecting on his life in “Living.” This is a very slow movie that if you can endure the boredom at times you can appreciate what is unfolding in the movie. Nighy is one of the oldest nominees in the race this year, and it is possible he could edge out a win if people wanted to award his entire career up to this point and not just his performance in this film. However, it would be quite an upset if Nighy was victorious over Fraser or Butler.

So let’s talk about the two front-runners in Austin Butler for his portrayal of the King of Rock N Roll in “Elvis.” Look, “Elvis” is not a great movie, I just have to point it out, that has been a common theme this awards season where performances are being heralded in films that are just not that great no matter what you think. Butler however shines as Elvis Pressley and he absolutely looks the part. He has won the Golden Globe, but his opponent Brendan Fraser won the Critic’s Choice Award for “The Whale.” The Screen Actors Guild Award will be crucial in this race to predict where Oscar might head towards.

With Fraser, his performance as an overweight man, who is a shut-in trying to connect with his estranged daughter is such a difficult watch. The movie tugs at the heart, it makes you feel things you think you could never feel. You connect with this character, you feel for this character and it sticks with you long after the movie ends. That is the sign of a very solid performance that is not just a testament to great acting, but a movie that shines in a way that the other four does not in my opinion. This is a phenomenal performance by Fraser who could see a resurgence in his career for a performance that many in the film industry have not seen from the actor, who is known for his comedic performances in films like 1999s “The Mummy.”

With that said, I’m placing my money on Brendan Fraser winning for “The Whale.” However, be warned even if Fraser wins the SAG Award, that is no lock for Oscar. Remember, Denzel Washington won the SAG for “Fences,” but lost the Oscar to Casey Affleck for “Manchester by the Sea.” We could see a similar situation where Fraser wins the SAG, but loses the Oscar to Austin Butler, especially with the untimely passing of Lisa Marie Pressley.