Oscars Predictions: Best Actor – Will the 10th (or 11th, 12th or 13th?) Time be the Winning Charm for Bradley Cooper in ‘Maestro?’

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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 reflect the current standings in the race and do not reflect personal preferences for any individual contender. As other formal (and informal) polls suggest, competitions are fluid and subject to change based on buzz and events. Predictions are updated every Thursday.

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2024 Oscars Predictions:
Best Actor

killers of the flower moon
“Killers of the Flower Moon”

Weekly Commentary (Updated Nov. 16, 2023): The best actor race will surely be a bloodbath, with every new contender dropping at a festival, living up to (or exceeding) expectations. The top six are dominating the buzz department, but there’s always room for some more.

There are moments while watching Bradley Cooper’s transformation into Leonard Bernstein where you just know you’re watching one of the great actors of our time doing what he does best. Four acting noms later (nine overall), isn’t it time he received his own statuette?

Only two people in Oscar history have directed themselves to acting wins – Laurence Olivier for “Hamlet” (1941) and Roberto Benigni for “Life is Beautiful” (1998). Cooper has picked up nine noms over the last decade, including four as an actor: “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012), “American Hustle” (2013), “American Sniper” (2014) and “A Star is Born” (2018), showing he’s more than due for a trip to the podium. A six-minute conducting sequence towards the film’s end may be the “Oscar clip” that gets his name checked off. Moreover, Cooper nails the embodiment of the famed musician, from his signature articulation down to his cigarette holding.

Of course, the best actor race is also crowded with his Netflix counterpart Colman Domingo (“Rustin”), along with others such as Jeffrey Wright (“American Fiction”), Paul Giamatti (“The Holdovers”) and Cillian Murphy (“Oppenheimer”). Cooper’s chances will rely on how voters ultimately receive the film as it begins to screen more.

Read: Variety’s Awards Circuit for the latest Oscars predictions in all categories.

The submission deadline for general categories is Nov. 15, 2023. The preliminary shortlist for eight categories is from Dec. 14-18, with the results announcement dropping on Dec. 21. The Oscar nomination period will run from Jan. 11-16, 2024, with the official nominees named on Jan. 23.

***The list below is not final and will be updated throughout the awards season.

And the Predicted Nominees Are:

  1. Bradley Cooper — “Maestro” (Netflix)

  2. Cillian Murphy — “Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures)

  3. Jeffrey Wright — “American Fiction” (MGM)

  4. Colman Domingo — “Rustin” (Netflix)

  5. Leonardo DiCaprio — “Killers of the Flower Moon” (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures)

Next in Line

  1. Paul Giamatti — “The Holdovers” (Focus Features)

  2. Andrew Scott — “All of Us Strangers” (Searchlight Pictures)

  3. Adam Driver — “Ferrari” (Neon)

  4. Barry Keoghan — “Saltburn” (Amazon MGM Studios)

  5. Zac Efron — “The Iron Claw” (A24)

Other Top-Tier Possibilities

  1. Matt Damon — “Air” (Amazon MGM Studios)

  2. Joaquin Phoenix — “Napoleon” (Apple Original Films/Sony Pictures)

  3. Nicolas Cage — “Dream Scenario” (A24)

  4. Anthony Hopkins — “Freud’s Last Session” (Sony Pictures Classics)

  5. Kôji Yakusho — “Perfect Days” (Neon)

  6. Christian Friedel — “The Zone of Interest” (A24)

  7. Teo Yoo — “Past Lives” (A24)

  8. Gael García Bernal — “Cassandro” (Amazon MGM Studios)

  9. Jamie Foxx — “The Burial” (Amazon MGM Studios)

  10. Eugenio Derbez — “Radical” (Miercoles Entertainment)

Also In Contention

  1. Michael Fassbender — “The Killer” (Netflix)

  2. Paul Dano — “Dumb Money” (Sony Pictures)

  3. Alden Ehrenreich — “Fair Play” (Netflix)

  4. Benoît Magimel — “The Taste of Things” (IFC Films/Sapan Studio)

  5. Jesse Garcia — “Flamin’ Hot” (Hulu/Searchlight Pictures)

  6. Michael Peña — “A Million Miles Away” (MGM)

  7. Jay Baruchel — “BlackBerry” (IFC Films)

  8. Mads Mikkelsen — “The Promised Land” (Magnolia Pictures)

  9. Kelvin Harrison Jr. — “Chevalier” (Searchlight Pictures)

  10. Timothée Chalamet — “Wonka” (Warner Bros.)

All Eligible Titles (Alphabetized by Studio)**

  • John David Washington — “The Creator” (20th Century Studios)

  • Kenneth Branagh — “A Haunting in Venice” (20th Century Studios)

  • Joaquin Phoenix — “Beau is Afraid” (A24)

  • Nicolas Cage — “Dream Scenario” (A24)

  • Zac Efron — “The Iron Claw” (A24)

  • Tee Yoo — “Past Lives” (A24)

  • Jesse Eisenberg — “When You Finish Saving the World” (A24)

  • Christian Friedel — “The Zone of Interest” (A24)

  • Matt Damon — “Air” (Amazon MGM Studios)

  • Jamie Foxx — “The Burial” (Amazon MGM Studios)

  • Gael García Bernal — “Cassandro” (Amazon MGM Studios)

  • Paul Mescal — “Foe” (Amazon MGM Studios)

  • Morgan Freeman — “A Good Person” (Amazon MGM Studios)

  • Jake Gyllenhaal — “Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant” (Amazon MGM Studios)

  • Asante Blackk — “Landscape with Invisible Hand” (Amazon MGM Studios)

  • Barry Keoghan — “Saltburn” (Amazon MGM Studios)

  • Orén Kinlan — “Flora and Son” (Apple Original Films)

  • Leonardo DiCaprio — “Killers of the Flower Moon” (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures)

  • Joaquin Phoenix — “Napoleon” (Apple Original Films/Sony Pictures)

  • Taron Egerton — “Tetris” (Apple Original Films)

  • Liev Schreiber — “Across the River and Into the Trees” (Bleecker Street)

  • Paul Giamatti — “The Holdovers” (Focus Features)

  • Jay Baruchel — “BlackBerry” (IFC Films)

  • Benoît Magimel — “The Taste of Things” (IFC Films/Sapan Studio)

  • Jesse Garcia — “Flamin’ Hot” (Hulu/Searchlight Pictures)

  • Asante Blackk — “Story Ave” (Kino Lorber)

  • Keanu Reeves — “John Wick Chapter 4” (Lionsgate)

  • Joel Edgerton — “Master Gardener” (Magnolia Pictures)

  • Mads Mikkelsen — “The Promised Land” (Magnolia Pictures)

  • Paul Rudd — “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quanumania” (Marvel Studios)

  • Chris Pratt — “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” (Marvel Studios)

  • Jeffrey Wright — “American Fiction” (MGM)

  • Joel Edgerton — “The Boys in the Boat” (MGM)

  • Callum Turner — “The Boys in the Boat” (MGM)

  • Michael B. Jordan — “Creed III” (MGM)

  • Michael Peña — “A Million Miles Away” (MGM)

  • Eugenio Derbez — “Radical” (Miercoles Entertainment)

  • Jaime Vadell — “El Conde” (Netflix)

  • Alden Ehrenreich — “Fair Play” (Netflix)

  • Josh O’Connor — “La Chimera” (Neon)

  • Kôji Yakusho — “Perfect Days” (Neon)

  • Michael Fassbender — “The Killer” (Netflix)

  • Mahershala Ali — “Leave the World Behind” (Netflix)

  • Bradley Cooper — “Maestro” (Netflix)

  • Colman Domingo — “Rustin” (Netflix)

  • Rafael Federman — “Society of the Snow” (Netflix)

  • Chris Pine — “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” (Paramount Pictures)

  • Tom Cruise — “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” (Paramount Pictures)

  • Andrew Scott — “All of Us Strangers” (Searchlight Pictures)

  • Kelvin Harrison Jr. — “Chevalier” (Searchlight Pictures)

  • Michael Fassbender — “Next Goal Wins” (Searchlight Pictures)

  • Paul Dano — “Dumb Money” (Sony Pictures)

  • Denzel Washington — “The Equalizer 3” (Sony Pictures)

  • Shameik Moore — “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (Sony Pictures)

  • Anthony Hopkins — “Freud’s Last Session” (Sony Pictures Classics)

  • Adam Driver — “Ferrari” (Neon)

  • Cillian Murphy — “Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures)

  • Peter Dinklage — “She Came to Me” (Vertical Entertainment)

  • Jason Mamoa — “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” (Warner Bros.)

  • Xolo Maridueña — “Blue Beetle” (Warner Bros.)

  • Timothée Chalamet — “Wonka” (Warner Bros.)

  • Harrison Ford — “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” (Warner Bros.)

  • Jonah Hauer-King — “The Little Mermaid” (Walt Disney Pictures)

2022 category winner: Brendan Fraser, “The Whale” (A24)

** indicates an unconfirmed release date in 2023 or could campaign in the lead or supporting categories. All release dates are subject to change.

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The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. Since 1927, nominees and winners have been selected by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Seventeen branches are represented within the nearly 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.

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