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Article – The Oscar For Best Actor


Posted January 28, 2016 by

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The Oscar For Best Actor

With the Oscars ceremony slowly approaching, there has been much debate as to who will take home the sought after Best Leading Actor award, with particular attention on Leonardo DiCaprio and Eddie Redmayne. But what about the other nominees? Michael Fassbender, Bryan Cranston and Matt Damon don’t seem to be getting the level of hype which DiCaprio and Redmayne are receiving from the media, but are they still strong candidates for the award?

First-time nominee Bryan Cranston gives a sound performance in Trumbo as Dalton Trumbo, a successful Hollywood screenwriter in the 1940s who is blacklisted for his Communist beliefs. Fans of Breaking Bad will know Cranston for his stellar performance as Walter White, however Cranston has seemed to make an effortless transition from television to being the leading protagonist in a Hollywood picture, giving an enigmatic performance in his new film. However, despite the rave reviews which Cranston has received, is his performance strong enough to compete with his other fellow nominees?

Similarly, Michael Fassbender’s performance in Steve Jobs is also questionable when considering the Best Leading Actor award. Playing the eponymous protagonist in Danny Boyle’s latest biopic Steve Jobs, Fassbender gives a commanding performance as the Apple founder, and succeeds in portraying Jobs as the complex inventor that he was. However, the film’s declined success at the box office could reflect Fassbender’s inability to capture certain audiences with this role, making him a less popular candidate for the Oscar. On the other hand, in the last 3 years, all the winners of the Best Leading Actor award have starred in biopics, with Eddie Redmayne as Steven Hawking (The Theory of Everything), Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof (Dallas Buyer’s Club) and Daniel Day Lewis as Abraham Lincoln (Lincoln). Could Fassbender continue this pattern and win the award for his portrayal of Steve Jobs?

The third nominee for the award is The Martian star Matt Damon, who plays Mark Watney, an astronaut stranded on Mars who must find new ways to stay alive. Damon recently won a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his role in The Martian, but in the category for ‘Comedy or Musical’ which has sparked outrage among many critics. There are times within the film where Damon brings a sense of humour to his character when he is in his darkest moments, but Damon’s raw display of emotion makes for a powerful performance and adds depth to the film. But whether Damon will win the award for Best Leading Actor is a different question. The Martian looks promising in other areas, such as for Best Visual Effects, which has been won in the previous two years by Interstellar and Gravity (both highly successful science fiction films). This therefore gives The Martian a good chance to continue this trend and pick up many Oscars along the way, but despite Damon’s raw acting style in this film, his performance doesn’t seem to compare with his fellow nominees, particularly DiCaprio and Redmayne.

Once again, Eddie Redmayne has given us another knockout performance this year in The Danish Girl, where he plays Einar Wegener, a married man who was the first person to undergo gender reassignment surgery. Redmayne really succeeds here in portraying Einar’s transformation into a woman (Lilli) and encapsulates a graceful sense of femininity. As we saw in The Theory of Everything, Redmayne is perfect for transformative roles and can adapt his body and characteristics to portray many different characters. However, many people are debating whether Redmayne will win the Best Leading Actor award for the second year in a row. In the past, only two actors have succeeded this – Spencer Tracy in 1937 and 1938, and Tom Hanks in 1993 and 1994, but will Redmayne be added to this list next month?

Finally, the last nominee is the person that everyone has been talking about when regarding the Best Leading Actor award – Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant. DiCaprio plays Hugh Glass, a hunter who is mauled by a bear and left for dead by his fellow team members, but soon plots for revenge, making the film gripping until the end. Without a doubt, DiCaprio gives a genuinely gruelling performance and sparks a real sense of pathos throughout the film, making it one of his best performances in years. However, it is questionable as to whether the expectation for DiCaprio to win the Oscar for Best Actor has been sparked from his performance in The Revenant, or it is because he has lost out to the award many times before. DiCaprio has been previously nominated three times for the Best Leading Actor award, however has lost out, causing upset throughout his fanbase. Last year, the hashtag ‘#poorleo’ was tweeted thousands of times after the 87th Academy Awards, and it seems to have become an issue that DiCaprio still hasn’t won the Leading Actor award. Nevertheless, DiCaprio’s performance in The Revenant is breathtaking, and he highly deserves the praise that is coming his way.

Even though we can predict who will win, we can’t know for sure…we might even be surprised. Maybe Bryan Cranston will take home the award and resurrect #poorleo, or maybe (probably) Leonardo DiCaprio will win and finally get his award. But whatever happens, I think we’re in for a good show.


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Lyndsay Townsend
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    Mary Wogan

    Is Leo maybe doing the Catholic thing of paying tithes…to get an Oscar…re: he gave Pope Francis money for his charities…lol l hope he gets it tho…:-)

    Steve Walker

    Great article, Hope Leo Wins!

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