In September, my Oscar Best Actor predictions included Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon), Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler), Robert Downey Jr. (The Soloist), Sean Penn (Milk), and Benicio Del Toro (for the Che Guavara movie that can't decide it's title and presentation format).
Well...since then The Solist has been given a far less prestigious release date in spring of 2009, and I have a hard time with the Del Toro prediction, simply because the film hasn't seemed to gain the traction, release schedule, etc needed to succeed...I have a hunch, that given an audience Del Toro has a great chance, but with out it, this project that I struggle to even know what to call...is well, hard to still include weeks before the earliest precursors are released.
On that note, I think that Leonardo DiCaprio has an incredible opportunity to be a part of this years Best Lead Actor race. I think Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet will certainly get enough press recognition for their opportunity to reunite on screen for the first time since the Titanic sunk on screen and rose to incredible box-office and award success.
Despite the fact that Leonardo DiCaprio had been nominated for an Oscar prior to his Titanic success, I think that it has gained much greater respect in the critical sphere since that time...when he was also playing roles like Romeo opposite Claire Danes in Baz Luhrman's Romeo + Juliet.
I think the challenge of a couple years ago with the duel campaign for Blood Diamond and The Departed really showed how much things changed as Martin Scorsese continued to give DiCaprio big parts.
I think Leonardo DiCaprio could be a force to be reckoned with come this years award show, and I think that this is one of those films that could conceivably pick up a surprising amount of Acting awards (Winslet for sure, but also DiCaprio, maybe Michael Shannon, and maybe even Kathy Bates).
This category also has some other questionable nominees. Viggo Mortesen is no longer considered now that The Road's release has been moved from 2008. But a big question mark remains for how Clint Eastwood's film and role in Gran Torino will be viewed.
I have a hard time including this film in my top 5's at this point, but Clint Eastwood and his films always seem like easy "Academy-defaults" in the absents of other worthy candidates. So who knows.
So, while others might include Eastwood as a nominee in this category, I'm going to include Richard Jenkins and his role in The Visitor, simply because I think this film is worthy of some recognition, and this would be a great place to shower a little.
Her are my pre-precursor Best Actor predictions for the upcoming 2009 Academy Award presentation...
My November Predicted Nominees
1. Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
2. Sean Penn, Milk
3. Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
4. Leonardo DiCaprio, Revolutionary Road
5. Richard Jenkins, The Vistor
Their Potential Can Not Be Ignored
6. Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino
7. Benicio Del Toro, Che/The Argentine/Guerilla
8. Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
9. Dustin Hoffman, Last Chance Harvey
Maybe, Just Maybe
10. Hugh Jackman, Australia
11. Josh Brolin, W.
12. Daniel Craig, Defiance
13. Michael Sheen, Frost/Nixon
Hello Leonardo DiCaprio and Richard Jenkins to the top 5. If DiCaprio was nominated, this would be his four nomination.