Oscar Watch With Scott: Best Actor and Actress

As we approach the final month before the 88th Academy Awards, we can now look at each individual category and discuss which nominees are the likeliest to win. Even with a month to go, favorites can go from winning the Golden Globe to walking out empty-handed at the Oscars, which is definitely what makes this one of the most exciting times of the year for movies. To predict a month ahead what will win is foolish because even in the last 10 years, there have been front-runners (such as “The Social Network” in 2011 that won the Golden Globe but lost to “King’s Speech” at the Oscars) that eventually come out empty-handed. We’ll have four weeks of this format before I list my final predictions in the 5th week, just in time for the ceremony that Sunday, so we should be able to cover all of the major categories. Let’s get to it.

Best Actor

This category is pretty much dominated by Leonardo DiCaprio. Most polls and predictions are citing him as the winner of his first—and probably only—Oscar. Does he deserve it? I think so, but many critics call out his non-vocal performance as weak in comparison to other nominees. However, there is much more to acting than just reciting dialogue, as I stated in my review of the film, and in terms of dedication and skill—Leo takes the cake.

However, Eddie Redmayne, who, like last year, wasn’t expected to win actually came out of nowhere to take the cake over Michael Keaton. A last minute push might move his literally transformative performance forward. Michael Fassbender’s performance of Steve Jobs was expected to be a knockout back before Leo showed up, but now he’s completely overshadowed. Matt Damon is a long-shot, but you never know with these things and his clout in Hollywood. Does he deserve it? Maybe in a different year, but definitely not this one. Lastly there is Bryan Cranston who does not have any buzz for him whatsoever. Sorry, Walter White.

Best Actress

With Brie Larson winning the Golden Globe for her performance in “Room,” it’s easy to assume that she’ll be the winner, which will make me quite happy. She is a vastly underrated actress who turns in great performances even in small roles. Her big competition is previous-winner Jennifer Lawrence, but considering that “Joy” isn’t up for other awards, you can probably count her and Charlotte Rampling out of contention—especially since nobody has really seen “45 Years.”

Cate Blanchett, as wonderful and talented as she is, probably won’t win. With the controversial move to submit Rooney Mara as a supporting actress, they are clearly more confident in Blanchett as an actress than in Mara, which is disappointing because she owns “Carol.” Saoirse Ronan, who has already been nominated for “Atonement,” is perhaps too subtle and quiet for this category considering how raw some of the other performances are. She’s great and perfect, but not Oscar-worthy this year.

Next week we will discuss the supporting categories which are going to prove pretty interesting—at least in the actress category.