Today we raise our glass to the men in the Best Actor category. These five guys range from rookies to veterans and to be honest, there is no clear frontrunner. Making a pick in this category has driven us to drink. It was a short drive.
And the nominees are..
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Denzel doesn’t have to act like he’s been here before, because he’s not only been here he’s got his own seat and personal bottle of gin behind the bar. He’s a nine time nominee and two time winner. And much like Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady, he takes a mediocre movie and elevates it with a great performance.
Unlike Streep in The Iron Lady, he’s not walking home with his third Oscar.
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Daniel turns in the year’s break out performance in the year’s break out movie making him this awards season’s break out star. The fact that Get Out came out a year ago and managed to ride buzz and momentum is amazing. But when you watch this again, you realize it’s not that great of a feat. Kaluuya turned in a memorable performance that haunts you long after the credits roll.
He has an outside chance of pulling an upset, but he’s more likely to make the rounds of the after parties than make an acceptance speech.
Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
The terms “promising” and “up and coming” are attached to many young actors every year and most of the time the promise is broken and the never come up. But we don’t think that will be the case for Timothée Chalamet. Trained at New York’s best school for the arts, he seems to have a grasp on working hard but not playing hard. He doesn’t have scandals driving traffic to tabloid sites and has been professional but fun and accessible during his awards campaign.
In Call Me By Your Name, he plays a teen trying to figure out love, passion, and sexuality. His performance is measured and defiantly worthy of an Oscar nomination. He also appears in Lady Bird and you should check out that performance to get a better sense of his work. His maturity should help him make a transition to meaty, adult, 20-something roles.
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
This was the shock nomination of the year. No one saw this movie. Not the public. Not the Academy Voters. But they love DDL. They’ve loved him enough to give him three Oscars, rarified air indeed.
However there may be a sentimental factor driving this nomination. Danny said he’s retiring and this is his last movie. Uh-huh. If he wins this Sunday and at any other point in time decides to make another movie, we will make him give this Oscar back!
And the winner is..
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
He is Winston Churchill reincarnated. The hair and makeup stylists from Darkest Hour are also nominated and deservedly so. But Gary Oldman looks and sounds just like the Churchill we’ve come to know over the past few years. Old, British, and cantankerous, you feel that we’re back in the early 40s. Some of the true story is contrived, but not to the point of parody or distraction and Oldman takes an average historical movie and makes it about him. Churchill would be proud.
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
Scotch. A 100 year old scotch. It’s expensive but it’s what Churchill would have been drinking at the time this movie is set.