It may be thought of as a foregone conclusion who will go home with the Oscar for best actor in a lead role, but we’ve been here before. As recently as last year, in fact. It’s no secret Leonard DiCaprio is the fan favorite to finally bring home the hardware after three prior nominations in his career. But the competition is stiff. A surprise performance from a young star and a couple of strong portrayals in bio-pics could keep Leo from the throne, yet again. Until we find out, check out what the RWT contributors have as their top picks.
4. TIE: Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs/ Michael B. Jordan, Creed
“Jordan commits to his role as Adonis Johnson with body, mind, and soul. As a presence in the film, he is both emotionally and physically compelling, fully nuancing his character in and out of the ring. The effect is powerful, captivating our attention so fully that we are almost physically present in the story.” -Laura Fissel
“It is no mere mortal who can fully milk every ounce of brilliance from an Aaron Sorkin script, but Fassbender delivers every line with mastery and understanding. By now this is not really anything new. Fassbender seems to get better with every role and he will eventually be standing in victory on the Academy stage.” -Fizz
“Cranston has this unique ability to transform himself into another person. His work in Trumbo is a prime example of why his star power continues to grow. ” -Blaine Grimes
2. Matt Damon, The Martian
“The Martian was dependent on the role of Mark Watney being played by someone with blue-collar sensibilities, intelligence, and likeableness that was believable and genuine. Damon is one of the few actors alive that has that combination and there is such an ease to his acting that perfectly captures everything we like and want in an American astronaut. If you love Matt Damon, you love this movie.” -Josh Crabb
“The guy acted more in two minutes of The Revenant than most do in a lifetime of work. He’s deserved quite a few before this one, but I think this year the curse is broken.” -Griffin Kale