Oscar Predictions: Best Actor – ‘Living’ Could Bring British Veteran Bill Nighy His First Nomination

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Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tony awards ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis. The prediction pages are Davis’ assessment of the current standings of the race and do not reflect personal preferences for any film or performance. Like any organization or body that votes, each individual category is fluid and subject to change. Predictions are updated every Thursday.

LAST UPDATED: Oct. 3, 2022

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2023 Oscars Predictions: Best Actor

Emancipation
Will Smith in “Emancipation” (Apple Original Films)

CATEGORY COMMENTARY: Sony Pictures Classics’ “Living” premiered at Sundance, and since, has played at nearly all the fall festivals except for New York, gaining more traction and acclaim for its leading performer Bill Nighy. This run could bring him his first Oscar nomination, similar to Richard Jenkins for “The Visitor” (2008).

Brendan Fraser continues to be the comeback story of the year after big debuts out of Venice and Toronto for his work in Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale.” But it won’t be easy for the 53-year-old actor. A competitive race is underway that will include one-time nominee Hugh Jackman in Florian Zeller’s “The Son” and Volpi Cup winner Colin Farrell for one of his best turns yet in Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees of Inisherin.”

See the latest film predictions, in all 23 categories, in one place on Variety’s Oscars Collective.

To see the ranked predictions for each individual category, visit Variety’s Oscars Hub.

ALL AWARDS CONTENDERS AND RANKINGS:

And The Predicted Nominees Are:

Rank

Name

Film

Distributor

1

Brendan Fraser

“The Whale”

A24

A reclusive English teacher suffering from severe obesity attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter for one last chance at redemption.

2

Colin Farrell

“The Banshees of Inisherin”

Searchlight Pictures

Two lifelong friends find themselves at an impasse when one abruptly ends their relationship, with alarming consequences for both of them.

3

Hugh Jackman

“The Son”

Sony Pictures Classics

Peter as his busy life with new partner Emma and their baby is thrown into disarray when his ex-wife Kate turns up with their teenage son, Nicholas.

4

Austin Butler

“Elvis”

Warner Bros

Biopic of Elvis Presley, from his childhood to becoming a rock and movie star in the 1950s while maintaining a complex relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker.

5

Bill Nighy

“Living”

Sony Pictures Classics

An English-language adaptation of the script of “Ikiru” (1952), set in London in the 1950s.

Next in Line

6

Tom Hanks

“A Man Called Otto”

Sony Pictures

A cranky retired man strikes up an unlikely friendship with his boisterous new neighbors. A remake of the Swedish film from 2015  film “A Man Called Ove.”

7

Tom Cruise

“Top Gun: Maverick”

Paramount Pictures

After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete Mitchell is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him.

8

Jeremy Pope

“The Inspection”

A24

Based on the life of filmmaker and Marine Corps veteran Elegance Bratton.

9

Diego Calva

“Babylon”

Paramount Pictures

A tale of outsized ambition and outrageous excess, it traces the rise and fall of multiple characters during an era of unbridled decadence and depravity in early Hollywood.

10

Adam Sandler

“Hustle”

Netflix

A basketball scout discovers a phenomenal street ball player while in Spain and sees the prospect as his opportunity to get back into the NBA.

Other Top-Tier Contenders

11

Adam Driver

“White Noise”

Netflix

12

Song Kang-ho

“Broker”

Neon

13

Gabriel LaBelle

“The Fabelmans”

Universal Pictures

14

Jonathan Majors

“Devotion”

Sony Pictures

15

Wes Studi

“A Love Song”

Bleecker Street

16

Daniel Giménez Cacho

“Bardo (or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths)”

Netflix

17

Will Smith

“Emancipation”

Apple Original Films

18

Mehdi Bajestani

“Holy Spider”

Utopia

19

Jim Parsons

“Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies”

Focus Features

20

Christian Bale

“The Pale Blue Eye”

Netflix

Also In Contention

21

Harris Dickinson

“Triangle of Sadness”

Neon

22

Paul Mescal

“Aftersun”

A24

23

Ricardo Darín

“Argentina, 1985”

Amazon Studios

24

Christian Bale

“Amsterdam”

20th Century Studios

25

Nicolas Cage

“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent”

Lionsgate

26

Mark Rylance

“The Phantom of the Open”

Sony Pictures Classics

27

Cooper Raiff

“Cha Cha Real Smooth”

Apple Original Films

28

Patton Oswalt

“I Love My Dad”

Magnolia Pictures

29

Caleb Landry Jones

“Nitram”

IFC Films

30

Eden Dambrine

“Close”

A24

Other Awards Possibilities

31

N.T. Rama Rao Jr.

“RRR”

Variance Films

32

Ram Charan Teja

“RRR”

Variance Films

33

Park Hae-il

“Decision to Leave”

Mubi

34

Daryl McCormack

“Good Luck to You, Leo Grande”

Searchlight Pictures

35

Sam Worthington

“Avatar: The Way of Water”

20th Century Studios

36

Viggo Mortensen

“Crimes of the Future”

Neon

37

Daniel Kaluuya

“Nope”

Universal Pictures

38

Owen Teague

“Montana Story”

Bleecker Street

39

Nicolas Cage

“Butcher’s Crossing”

Saban Films

40

Paul Dano*

“The Fabelmans”

Universal Pictures

Unranked Possible Contenders

Christian Bale

“Amsterdam”

20th Century Studios

Sam Worthington

“Avatar: The Way of Water”

20th Century Studios

Brendan Fraser

“The Whale”

A24

Colin Farrell

“After Yang”

A24

Eden Dambrine

“Close”

A24

Paul Mescal

“Aftersun”

A24

Ricardo Darín

“Argentina, 1985”

Amazon Studios

RJ Cyler

“Emergency”

Amazon Studios

Cooper Raiff

“Cha Cha Real Smooth”

Apple Original Films

Ethan Hawke*

“Raymond & Ray”

Apple Original Films

Ewan McGregor*

“Raymond & Ray”

Apple Original Films

Will Ferrell

“Spirited”

Apple Original Films

Will Smith

“Emancipation”

Apple Original Films

Zac Efron

“The Greatest Beer Run Ever”

Apple Original Films

Owen Teague

“Montana Story”

Bleecker Street

Sope Dirisu

“Mr. Malcolm’s List”

Bleecker Street

Wes Studi

“A Love Song”

Bleecker Street

Alexander Skarsgård

“The Northman”

Focus Features

David Earl

“Brian and Charles”

Focus Features

Jim Parsons

“Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies”

Focus Features

Michael Banks Repeta

“Armageddon Time”

Focus Features

Antonio Banderas

“Official Competition”

IFC Films

Caleb Landry Jones

“Nitram”

IFC Films

Tim Roth

“Resurrection”

IFC Films

Vincent Lindon

“Both Side of the Blade”

IFC Films

Nicolas Cage

“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent”

Lionsgate

Patton Oswalt

“I Love My Dad”

Magnolia Pictures

Benedict Cumberbatch

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”

Marvel Studios

Chris Hemsworth

“Thor: Love and Thunder”

Marvel Studios

Winston Duke*

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

Marvel Studios

Channing Tatum

“Dog”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

Idris Elba

“Three Thousand Years of Longing”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

Timothée Chalamet

“Bones and All”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

Park Hae-il

“Decision to Leave”

Mubi

Harris Dickinson

“Triangle of Sadness”

Neon

Song Kang-ho

“Broker”

Neon

Viggo Mortensen

“Crimes of the Future”

Neon

Adam Sandler

“Hustle”

Netflix

Chris Evans

“The Gray Man”

Netflix

Christian Bale

“The Pale Blue Eye”

Netflix

Daniel Craig*

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”

Netflix

Daniel Giménez Cacho

“Bardo (or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths)”

Netflix

Gregory Mann

“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”

Netflix

Ryan Gosling

“The Gray Man”

Netflix

Ben Kingsley

“Dalíland”

No U.S. Distribution

Diego Calva

“Babylon”

Paramount Pictures

Tom Cruise

“Top Gun: Maverick”

Paramount Pictures

Chris Evans

“Lightyear”

Pixar

Ralph Fiennes

“The Forgiven”

Roadside Attractions

Nicolas Cage

“Butcher’s Crossing”

Saban Films

Brendan Gleeson*

“The Banshees of Inisherin”

Searchlight Pictures

Colin Farrell

“The Banshees of Inisherin”

Searchlight Pictures

Daryl McCormack

“Good Luck to You, Leo Grande”

Searchlight Pictures

Nicholas Hoult*

“The Menu”

Searchlight Pictures

Ralph Fiennes*

“The Menu”

Searchlight Pictures

Sam Rockwell

“See How They Run”

Searchlight Pictures

Brad Pitt

“Bullet Train”

Sony Pictures

Jonathan Majors

“Devotion”

Sony Pictures

Tom Hanks

“A Man Called Otto”

Sony Pictures

Bill Nighy

“Living”

Sony Pictures Classics

Hugh Jackman

“The Son”

Sony Pictures Classics

Mark Rylance

“The Phantom of the Open”

Sony Pictures Classics

Pascal Greggory

“One Fine Morning”

Sony Pictures Classics

Joel Edgerton

“The Stranger”

Transmission Films

Billy Eichner

“Bros”

Universal Pictures

Daniel Kaluuya

“Nope”

Universal Pictures

Gabrielle LaBelle

“The Fabelmans”

Universal Pictures

George Clooney

“Ticket to Paradise”

Universal Pictures

Jake Gyllenhaal

“Ambulance”

Universal Pictures

Sterling K. Brown

“Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul”

Universal Pictures

Mehdi Bajestani

“Holy Spider”

Utopia

N.T. Rama Rao Jr.

“RRR”

Variance Films

Ram Charan Teja

“RRR”

Variance Films

Justin Chatwin

“The Walk”

Vertical Entertainment

Dwayne Johnson

“Black Adam”

Warner Bros

Austin Butler

“Elvis”

Warner Bros.

Robert Pattinson

“The Batman”

Warner Bros.

Steve Coogan*

“The Lost King”

Warner Bros.

2023 Academy Awards Predictions

BEST PICTURE | DIRECTOR | ACTOR | ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE | PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING | SOUND | VISUAL EFFECTS | ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE | INTERNATIONAL FEATURE | ANIMATED SHORT | DOCUMENTARY SHORT | LIVE ACTION SHORT

The 95th Oscars ceremony will be held at the Dolby Theatre and televised live on Sunday, March 12, 2022, on ABC.

2022 category winner: Will Smith, “King Richard” (Warner Bros.)

About Variety Awards Circuit:

Variety’s unmatched coverage gives its readership unbeatable exposure in print and online, as well as provides inside reports on all the contenders in this year’s awards season races. In addition to predictions, the section includes — Awards Circuit Column, a weekly analysis dissecting the trends and contenders in the race; Awards Circuit Podcast, a weekly series featuring interviews with the top contenders in the awards race and an expert roundtable discussion with Variety’s leading editors and columnists; Awards Circuit Predictions Video Series, a deep dive into specific categories, led by the leading pundits.

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