For the first time in the history of the Oscars, the 93rd edition ceremony ended with the announcement of the winner in the lead actor category, instead of ending up crowning the best film of the year as tradition dictates. The surprise award to Anthony Hopkins, absent from the gala while Chadwick Boseman’s widow waited in the room to thank her husband for the recognition, she will have forever taken away the desire of the Academy’s board of directors to play with the sacred order of awards. Despite the anticlimactic moment that the audience experienced last April, the identity of the best actor of the year will continue to be one of the awaited moments of the night. Especially if Will Smith, one of the most famous actors on the planet in the last thirty years, materializes his status as a favorite.
The third candidacy may be the final one for the Prince of Bel-Air. Smith has already been nominated in the past for his work on But Y Looking for happiness, falling defeated before Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker. Since the presentation of The Williams method at the Telluride Festival the bets in Hollywood are that this It may be the Oscar of one of the highest grossing stars of all time. The actor takes on the role of Richard Williams, the strict and controlling father who led the careers of two tennis players who changed the face of modern tennis: Venus and Serena Williams. The debatable decision to focus the story on the coach and not on the athletes who made history seems to have gone unnoticed by critics in the United States.
Smith is aware that this may be his great opportunity to receive the Oscar. Taking advantage of the premiere of the film, he has published some explosive memoirs (Will, one of the great Spanish editorial novelties of the month) in which he talks about his frustrated desire to end the life of his violent father or his addiction to sex, among many other thorny issues. While the film’s disappointing box office result threatens its status as a big favorite, Smith will remain the rival to beat until a clear alternative appears.
Rivals with an Oscar at home
Most of the applicants in this year’s leading male category already have the statuette at home. Denzel Washington, winner on two occasions and nominated on another six, will have to face the historical mania that academics have for adaptations of Shakespeare. Only Laurence Olivier has won the award for one of his audiovisual versions, thanks to Hamlet. The Hollywood legend will try to defy statistics with his portrayal as Macbeth in his first collaboration with the Academy’s favorite couple: Joel Coen and Frances McDormand.
Joaquin Phoenix, the second Joker in history to win the award, returns to the conversation with a much more accessible character than we are used to. In C’mon C’mon. Always ahead, de Mike Mills (Beginners), plays a radio journalist who embarks on a journey across the country with his little nephew. The Academy historically prefers Phoenix the more excessive he getsBut his four previous nominations demonstrate the respect of the voters. Another protégé of the voters, Leonardo Dicaprio, opts for his seventh candidacy. His Vehicle to Success is his first collaboration with Adam McKay on Don’t look up, a Netflix comedy in which he plays a nervous university professor who tries to alert the world that a comet is going to destroy the planet in just over six months.
The last winner in the race has a Spanish flavor. Javier Bardem aspires to his fourth appearance at the Oscars for his performance as Desi Arnaz in Being the Ricardos, Aaron Sorkin’s new movie. Nicole Kidman is the star of this drama that travels behind the scenes of the legendary sitcom I love Lucy. The actor of No country for old men will have to face a wave of criticism against the production for hiring a Spanish actor to give life to a Cuban character. Interestingly, Bardem received the first nomination of his career 21 years ago for playing another character from the same country, the poet Reinaldo Arenas.
‘Being the Ricardos’ lands on Amazon Prime Video on December 21. ‘Macbeth’ will be seen on Apple TV + on January 14 after a brief run in theaters. ‘The Williams Method’ will hit theaters on January 21. ‘C’mon C’mon. Always forward ‘has no release date yet.
Giving the note
The next three applicants have music as a connecting element. Benedict Cumberbatch, probably the clearest alternative to Will Smith’s Oscar, he plays the banjo in The power of the dog. The English actor his darker side in the western of Jane Campion for Netflix, in which he plays a moody and repressed rancher who makes life impossible for everyone around him without anyone knowing very well why. Cumberbatch already chose the award in 2013 for bringing the tragic life of Alan Turing to the screen in The Imitation Game.
Andrew Garfield also aspires to his second candidacy after giving life to Jonathan Larson, the legendary playwright and composer who never saw the success of his work Rent. Of his nomination for the soldier who refused to kill in Until the last man we pass a young man consumed by the passing of the clock and the pressure to realize his creative aspirations in Tick, tick… Boom!. The musical, also a Netflix proposal, is the directorial debut of Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of Hamilton.
Another film of the same genre, Cyrano, could give Peter Dinklage his first career nomination, the unforgettable Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones. The character of Cyrano de Bergerac already gave an Oscar to José Ferrer and a nomination to Gerard Depardieu. Garfield and Dinklage have a powerful stat against: the last actor to succeed in this category with a musical was Rex Harrison in 1964, thanks to My Fair Lady.
‘Cyrano’ hits theaters on February 4. ‘Tick, tick … Boom!’ is now available on Netflix.
The covered ones
The Academy likes to take the opportunity to recognize the eternal secondary ones that for once in their career receive the opportunity to shine in a leading character. It happened with Richard Jenkins in The Visitor, Bruce Dern en Nebraska o David Strathairn en Good night and good luck. Could happen again with Clifton Collins Jr. The Latin American actor interprets in Jockey to a veteran rider who, as his health deteriorates, tries to face what could be his last season as a jockey. Clint Bentley’s film has won over critics since its presentation at the Sundance Film Festival nearly a year ago.
The last contender of the year (sorry for Bradley Cooper: it doesn’t seem like The alley of lost souls is going to be the movie that finally gives him the Oscar) is an 11-year-old boy. Kenneth Branagh chose Jude Hill to play his alter ego in fiction in Belfast, the film that the director and actor has shot inspired by his childhood in the tumults of Northern Ireland in the late 1960s. The Academy has an allergy to nominating boys: the last to compete for the award in the male lead category was Jackie Cooper, finalist aged 9 in 1931. However, Belfast She is the current favorite in the queen category and all of her co-stars will be promoted in the secondary categories. Young Jude has a date with history.
‘Belfast’ will be seen in theaters from January 28. ‘Jockey’ has no release date in Spain.
Betting in December
Benedict Cumberbatch, Leonardo DiCaprio, Andrew Garfield, Will Smith, Denzel Washington
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