THE 2016 NOMINEES: Best Actor

Photo: Focus Features

Photo: Focus Features

Chris Luckett

There are just four days left until the Oscars. Have you had trouble finding time to catch up on all the nominated movies? Still want to be able to join in the Oscar conversations at work? Look no further than this six-part guide to the major categories. Today, I look at the nominees for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role.


BRYAN CRANSTON

The Movie: Trumbo
The Role: Dalton Trumbo, a communist screenwriter who wrote such classics as Roman Holiday and Spartacus under pseudonyms after being blacklisted in the late ‘40s

Prior Oscar Nominations: 0
Prior Oscar Wins: 0
Lead-Up Awards for Cranston: SAG Award (N), Critic’s Choice Award (N), British Academy Film Award (N), Golden Globe Award (N)
Chances of Winning: None; even if DiCaprio wasn’t a lock, it’d go to previous nominees/winners Damon, Fassbender, or Redmayne before Cranston would have a shot


MATT DAMON

The Movie: The Martian
The Role: Mark Watney, an astronaut left for dead on Mars who has to figure out not just how to let NASA know he’s alive, but also how to use every piece of scientific knowledge he has to survive the four years it’ll take for a rescue mission

Prior Oscar Nominations: 3 — Best Actor (Good Will Hunting), Best Original Screenplay (Good Will Hunting), Best Supporting Actor (Invictus)
Prior Oscar Wins: 1 — Best Original Screenplay (Good Will Hunting)
Lead-Up Awards for Damon: Golden Globe Award (W), National Board of Review Award (W), Critic’s Choice Award (N), British Academy Film Award (N)
Chances of Winning: In any other year, he’d have a great chance; not this year


LEONARDO DiCAPRIO

The Movie: The Revenant
The Role: Hugh Glass, an 1800s fur trapper left for dead after a bear mauling, who witnesses his son killed and treks across the wilderness to get his revenge

Prior Oscar Nominations: 5 — Best Supporting Actor (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape), Best Actor (The Aviator), Best Actor (Blood Diamond), Best Picture (The Wolf of Wall Street), Best Actor (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Prior Oscar Wins: 0
Lead-Up Awards for DiCaprio: SAG Award (W), Critic’s Choice Award (W), British Academy Film Award (W), Golden Globe Award (W)
Chances of Winning: There’s no “chance” to it; DiCaprio’s win as Best Actor is the closest there is to a sure thing this year


MICHAEL FASSBENDER

The Movie: Steve Jobs
The Role: The titular genius behind Apple, a man who innately understood technology but never understood people

Prior Oscar Nominations: 1 — Best Supporting Actor (12 Years a Slave)
Prior Oscar Wins: 0
Lead-Up Awards for Fassbender: SAG Award (N), Critics’ Choice Award (N), BAFTA (N), Golden Globe Award (N)
Chances of Winning: Depends if he can sprint to the stage faster than Leo after DiCaprio is named the winner


EDDIE REDMAYNE

The Movie: The Danish Girl
The Role: Lily Elbe, a transgender painter in the 1920s who became the first public recipient of sex reassignment surgery

Prior Oscar Nominations: 1 — Best Actor (The Theory of Everything)
Prior Oscar Wins: 1 — Best Actor (The Theory of Everything)
Lead-Up Awards for Redmayne: SAG Award (N), Critics’ Choice Award (N), British Academy Film Award (N), Golden Globe Award (N)
Chances of Winning: Last year, Redmayne won Best Actor over the lead in an Alejandro G. Iñárritu movie, but not even Redmayne can derail the Leo train


Part 1: Best Supporting Actor
Part 2: Best Supporting Actress
Part 3: Best Director

(Cover photo: Twentieth Century Fox)

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