If there ever was a category this year that possessed a “guarantee” win, it is the Best Actor category. At long last Leonardo DiCaprio will finally be winning an Oscar, which is long overdue. The reason why this year stands as his best chance is because The Revenant is DiCaprio’s most transformative, most compelling performance of his career. His role in The Revenant is primarily that of an observer, who cannot change the dynamics of the environment or world around him. The performance is primarily reactionary and comprised of body language and the insinuation of extreme pain. DiCaprio was sure to instill much humanity into his performance despite the role being one that is built off of a survival and revenge motif. DiCaprio has taken home all precursor wins in at the Golden Globes, SAG, and Critic’s Choice Awards, SAGs, and the BAFTA which cements his lead in this category. There is no way to deny that this truly is DiCaprio’s year.
The chance of an upset in this category is close to none and the other competitors have long acknowledged that their nomination is their award this year. This is case with Bryan Cranston, who is looking at his first Oscar nomination. Eddie Redmayne won the Oscar last year and his chances with a back-to-back Oscar win for his work in The Danish Girl doesn’t seem likely. Yet Redmayne’s performance was equally complex and layered as DiCaprio’s, which means he shouldn’t be entirely ignored. Matt Damon was the wild-card nomination for his quirky, yet dramatic performance in The Martian, but his Golden Globe win back in January seems to be the limit of where his Oscar chances will take him.
Of the other nominees, the only performance that has the true possibility of defeating DiCaprio is Michael Fassbender for his extraordinary performance in Steve Jobs. He was able to take the fast-spoken dialogue of Aaron Sorkin’s script and was able to comprise a portrayal of the Apple founder as arrogant, but brilliant. Fassbender’s performance beautifully conveyed the complexity of who Steve Jobs was, but also how his obsession with his products diminished his personal relationships. Any other year, Fassbender would be the frontrunner in this category for the Oscar, which is unfortunate when considering Fassbender gave this performance his all and it worked. Without Fassbender, Steve Jobs wouldn’t be a functional film. The film largely depended on him and he delivered a flawless performance.
Bryan Cranston – Trumbo
Matt Damon – The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl
Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
Could Win: Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl
Should Win: Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
Could Upset: Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs