The 86th annual Academy Awards, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, are only three days away, taking place this Sunday, March 2. All of this week we have analyzed many of the nominees and categories leading up to my prediction for Best Picture. Today though, we will look at the four major acting awards: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress.
Best Supporting Actor. This is a year where there are many locks in many of the different categories. But if I had to bet all of my money on just one category, it would be this one. Jared Leto will win Best Supporting Actor, hands down, for his transformative performance in Dallas Buyers Club. Michael Fassbender, for me, gave the strongest performance in the bunch as a wicked slave owner in 12 Years A Slave, but you're a fool if you cast your prediction anywhere other than Leto's way.
Best Supporting Actress. Here, things get a bit more interesting. Julia Roberts (August: Osage County), Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine) and June Squibb (Nebraska) seem to be the long-shots, with this race coming down to Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years A Slave) and Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle). Lawrence is definitely the current It-Girl in Hollywood, but Nyong'o's heart-breaking performance has made her the front-runner. I predict that Lupita Nyong'o will pull out the win.
Best Actress. It's a category packed with the elite actresses of our generation: Streep, Dench, Bullock, Adams and Blanchett. But only Amy Adams (American Hustle) poses any real threat to upset Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine). Blanchett should win, in a role that was much juicier than any of the other nominated roles.
Best Actor. This may be the night's most interesting outcome. Christian Bale (American Hustle) and Bruce Dern (Nebraska) both gave great performances, but for both, the nomination alone will have to do. Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave) was the early-season favorite, and he still has a chance in this race. But the most exciting development late in this Oscar season has been the surge of support and buzz around Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street). Leo is Hollywood elite, one of the best and brightest working actors. And though he has been nominated several times in the past, it's hard to believe he's never won an Oscar. But being a great actor doesn't mean you have to win an Oscar...there are several greats over the years that have never won. So do you award Leo, who has an unbelievable body of work and who this year, gave his career-best performance as a crooked Wall Street wolf? Or do you go with Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club) who also gives a career-best performance in what was an absolutely incredible year for him. McConaughey not too long ago was a punchline, but he has turned in quite the resume of work as of late. His presence on the amazing HBO show, True Detective, doesn't hurt him either. And even though McConaughey has swept many of the major awards, Wolf came out so late in the season that it took quite a while for it to catch on. So will it be McConaughey or DiCaprio, or will Ejiofor pull through? It's almost too close to call, so I'll go out on a limb: Leonardo DiCaprio will win a Best Actor Oscar this year, but if you want to bet safe, go with McConaughey. Clearly, all five nominees are deserving.
Check back tomorrow for my final round of predictions, when we'll look at the Screenplay categories, as well as the big daddy of them all, Best Picture.
Be sure to watch Tom Santilli on TV! Check your local listings for “Movie Show Plus” for Tom’s weekly movie review segment, airing at 10:30 p.m. EST every Sunday, on MYTV20 in Detroit.