This category normally just boils down to ‘who snubbed Leo this year?’ but 2016 might finally be when he breaks his drought (even though its never going to make up for the 6+ Oscars he already deserves).
This isn’t a category I was particuarly overjoyed with. While I’m pleased (obviously) Leo got the nom and Steve Jobs finally got some much-deserved respect, I think Cranston and Redmayne are poor picks over the slew of incredible 2015 performances. Now lets get into it:
Jacob Tremblay, Room
Child actors have received nominations before (see Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense) but they have to be of a really serious calibre to stand up to the competition. Tremblay does this, hands down. He’s half of the major performances in an incredible actor-driven film, and his rapport with Brie Larson is so raw and authentic I was surprised they weren’t legitimately mother and son. Absolutely should have been recognised.
Johnny Depp, Black Mass
While Black Mass itself didn’t receive overwhelming praise (although that didn’t stop J.Law being nominated for Joy), Johnny Depp’s performance was lauded across the world. Not only was it his most recent role that he didn’t sleep-walk through, it was transformative in a similar way to many of Depp’s greatest performances (Jack Sparrow, Edward Scissorhands). Just being able to properly act under all that prostetic while still being equally charming and terrifying warrants respect. But unfortunately, Redmayne pretending to be a woman for two hours is apparently more deserving.
Michael B. Jordan, Creed
And I go back to beating this dead horse. Creed, once again, gets the short straw. Michael B. Jordan is a solid up-and-comer who’s delivered a large myriad of impressive performances (just don’t mention Fant4stic) but his turn as Adonis Creed was raw, inspiring and arguably his best performance yet. While he may not be the best part of that film (simply because its just too damn good) he still should at the very least received a nomination.
My personal favourites
Well unfortunately since Tremblay missed out, I don’t have a solid favourite in this category I am desperate to see win. The closest I have is arguably Leonardo Di Capri, purely based on how deserving this guy is to get an Oscar for his career, rather than just his turn in The Revenant. That’s not to say his nominated performance wasn’t damn impressive – it absolutely was – but his career has simply been consistently great and oscar-worthy. In The Revenant he literally went through hell and back for his role, and if that doesn’t show you Leo’s dedication (and possible Oscar desperation) there’s dozens of other roles ready to convince you otherwise. If you are looking for recommendations, I’d go for Catch me if you Can, Inception, Shutter Island, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Wolf of Wall Street, Django Unchained, Gangs of New York, J. Edgar, Titanic, The Great Gatsby or The Departed. Just to name a few.
Who will probably win
Hopefully this is Leo’s year. Finally. All the stories of him sleeping in a horse carcass and eating a raw liver should hopefully be enough to convince voters he deserves the win. Probably for the best, because I’d hate to see him kill himself trying to nab an Oscar in his next role.
In most of the betting pools I’ve seen, Leo is winning by a large margin but thanks to his string of bad luck its possible there might be a massive upset on the night. If so, his biggest competitor is Michael Fassbender (who honestly deservers an Oscar in his own right but that’s another story) for Steve Jobs which, while it is an incredible movie, unfortunately hasn’t got much love from the Academy. Outside of those two, I’m happy Damon got the nod, but would also be disappointed if he won. I’m still surprised Redmayne got a second nom, but I doubt he’s going to win second-year running so is barely worth a mention. And as much as I love Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad is possibly my favourite show of all time), he’s got no chance as well.
While I am rather disappointed with Redmayne and Cranston being chosen over such incredible performances from Tremblay and Depp, I’m still pleased that this might finally be Leonardo Di Caprio’s year. As I’m sure you’ve noticed I have enormous respect for his career (fun fact, none of the movies Leo has starred in has gotten a sequel which is mind-boggling) and he absolutely deserves his moment in the sun. Here’s hoping.