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Oscars Predictions: Best Actor – Stacked Race Adds More With Jeffrey Wright and Jamie Foxx

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Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tony Awards ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis. The prediction pages reflect the current standings in the race and do not reflect personal preferences for any individual contender. As other formal (and informal) polls suggest, competitions are fluid and subject to change based on buzz and events. Predictions are updated every Thursday.

Visit the prediction pages for the respective ceremonies via the links below:


2023 Oscars Predictions:

Best Actor

Jamie Foxx as Willie Gary in The Burial Photo: Skip Bolen © AMAZON CONTENT SERVICES LLC
Skip Bolen/Prime Video

Weekly Commentary (Updated Sept. 14, 2023): The best actor race will surely be a bloodbath, with every new contender dropping at a festival, living up to (or exceeding) expectations.

We already know that Cillian Murphy (“Oppenheimer”) and Leonardo DiCaprio (“Killers of the Flower Moon”) will be two strong bets for noms. There’s also Telluride standouts Colman Domingo (“Rustin”), Paul Giamatti (“The Holdovers”) and Andrew Scott (“All of Us Strangers”), alongsideVenice breakouts including Bradley Cooper (“Maestro”) and Adam Driver (“Ferrari”).

Noteworthy: Peter Sarsgaard won the Volpi Cup for best actor his heartbreaking turn in Michel Franco’s “Memory.” Aside from the movie not having U.S. distribution yet, the role feels more likely for a supporting push when it gets acquired and released.

TIFF delivered a vivacious turn from veteran actor Jeffrey Wright in MGM’s “American Fiction” while his studio counterpart Jamie Foxx brought star power and charm in the highly entertaining “The Burial.”

Wright is due for love and comedic work in Cord Jefferson’s debut feature stands as his finest.

Regarding Foxx, he uses everything in his acting tool belt that makes Maggie Betts’ sophomore feature an undeniable crowdpleaser. A comeback for the actor that faced health problems earlier this year, could be something the Actors Branch gravitate towards.

There just not enough spots for all this talent. Someone (or some people) are going to be left off.

Read: Variety’s Awards Circuit for the latest Oscars predictions in all categories.

***The list below is not final and will be updated throughout the awards season.

And the Predicted Nominees Are:

  1. Bradley Cooper — “Maestro” (Netflix)
  2. Andrew Scott — “All of Us Strangers” (Searchlight Pictures)
  3. Matt Damon — “Air” (Amazon MGM Studios)
  4. Gael García Bernal — “Cassandro” (Amazon MGM Studios)
  5. Adam Driver — “Ferrari” (Neon)

Other Top-Tier Possibilities

  1. Austin Butler — “The Bikeriders” (20th Century Studios) **
  2. Jamie Foxx — “The Burial” (Amazon MGM Studios)
  3. Anthony Hopkins — “Freud’s Last Session” (Sony Pictures Classics) **
  4. Barry Keoghan — “Saltburn” (Amazon MGM Studios)
  5. Nicolas Cage — “Dream Scenario” (A24)
  6. Zac Efron — “The Iron Claw” (A24)
  7. Christian Friedel — “The Zone of Interest” (A24)
  8. Kôji Yakusho — “Perfect Days” (Neon)
  9. Teo Yoo — “Past Lives” (A24) **
  10. Paul Dano — “Dumb Money” (Sony Pictures)

Also In Contention

  1. Joaquin Phoenix — “Napoleon” (Apple Original Films/Sony Pictures)
  2. Benoît Magime — “The Taste of Things” (IFC Films/Sapan Studio)
  3. David Strathairn — “A Little Prayer” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  4. Jay Baruchel — “BlackBerry” (IFC Films)
  5. Josh O’Connor — “La Chimera” (Neon)
  6. Michael Fassbender — “The Killer” (Netflix)
  7. Kelvin Harrison Jr. — “Chevalier” (Searchlight Pictures)
  8. Alden Ehrenreich — “Fair Play” (Netflix)
  9. Jesse Garcia — “Flamin’ Hot” (Hulu/Searchlight Pictures)
  10. Joaquin Phoenix — “Beau is Afraid” (A24)

All Eligible Titles (Alphabetized by Studio)**

  • John David Washington — “The Creator” (20th Century Studios)
  • Kenneth Branagh — “A Haunting in Venice” (20th Century Studios)
  • Austin Butler — “The Bikeriders” (20th Century Studios) **
  • Tom Hardy — “The Bikeriders” (20th Century Studios) **
  • Joaquin Phoenix — “Beau is Afraid” (A24)
  • Nicolas Cage — “Dream Scenario” (A24)
  • Zac Efron — “The Iron Claw” (A24) **
  • Tee Yoo — “Past Lives” (A24)
  • Jacob Elordi — “Priscilla” (A24) **
  • Jesse Eisenberg — “When You Finish Saving the World” (A24)
  • Christian Friedel — “The Zone of Interest” (A24)
  • Matt Damon — “Air” (Amazon MGM Studios)
  • Jamie Foxx — “The Burial” (Amazon MGM Studios)
  • Tommy Lee Jones — “The Burial” (Amazon MGM Studios)
  • Gael García Bernal — “Cassandro” (Amazon MGM Studios)
  • Paul Mescal — “Foe” (Amazon MGM Studios)
  • Barry Keoghan — “Saltburn” (Amazon MGM Studios)
  • Riz Ahmed — “Fingernails” (Apple Original Films)
  • Orén Kinlan — “Flora and Son” (Apple Original Films) **
  • Leonardo DiCaprio — “Killers of the Flower Moon” (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures)
  • Joaquin Phoenix — “Napoleon” (Apple Original Films/Sony Pictures)
  • Liev Schreiber — “Across the River and Into the Trees” (Bleecker Street)
  • Paul Giamatti — “The Holdovers” (Focus Features)
  • Jay Baruchel — “BlackBerry” (IFC Films)
  • Benoît Magime — “The Taste of Things” (IFC Films/Sapan Studio)
  • Jesse Garcia — “Flamin’ Hot” (Hulu/Searchlight Pictures)
  • Keanu Reeves — “John Wick Chapter 4” (Lionsgate)
  • Joel Edgerton — “Master Gardener” (Magnolia Pictures)
  • Paul Rudd — “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quanumania” (Marvel Studios)
  • Bradley Cooper — “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” (Marvel Studios) **
  • Chris Pratt — “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” (Marvel Studios) **
  • Callum Turner — “The Boys in the Boat” (MGM)
  • Michael B. Jordan — “Creed III” (MGM)
  • Jeffrey Wright — “American Fiction” (MGM)
  • Jaime Vadell — “El Conde” (Netflix)
  • Alden Ehrenreich — “Fair Play” (Netflix)
  • Josh O’Connor — “La Chimera” (Neon)
  • Jon Bernthal — “Origin” (Neon)
  • Kôji Yakusho — “Perfect Days” (Neon)
  • Michael Fassbender — “The Killer” (Netflix)
  • Mahershala Ali — “Leave the World Behind” (Netflix)
  • Bradley Cooper — “Maestro” (Netflix)
  • Colman Domingo — “Rustin” (Netflix)
  • Rafael Federman — “Society of the Snow” (Netflix)
  • Peter Sarsgaard — “Memory” (No U.S Distribution) **
  • Kingsley Ben-Adir — “Bob Marley: One Love” (Paramount Pictures)
  • Tom Cruise — “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” (Paramount Pictures)
  • Andrew Scott — “All of Us Strangers” (Searchlight Pictures)
  • Kelvin Harrison Jr. — “Chevalier” (Searchlight Pictures)
  • Jonathan Majors — “Magazine Dreams” (Searchlight Pictures) **
  • Michael Fassbender — “Next Goal Wins” (Searchlight Pictures)
  • Lakeith Stanfield — “The Book of Clarence” (Sony Pictures)
  • Paul Dano — “Dumb Money” (Sony Pictures)
  • Denzel Washington — “The Equalizer 3” (Sony Pictures)
  • Shameik Moore — “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (Sony Pictures)
  • Anthony Hopkins — “Freud’s Last Session” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • David Strathairn — “A Little Prayer” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Adam Driver — “Ferrari” (Neon)
  • Cillian Murphy — “Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures)
  • Peter Dinklage — “She Came to Me” (Vertical Entertainment)
  • Jason Mamoa — “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” (Warner Bros.)
  • Xolo Maridueña — “Blue Beetle” (Warner Bros.)
  • Timothée Chalamet — “Wonka” (Warner Bros.)
  • Harrison Ford — “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” (Warner Bros.)
  • Jonah Hauer-King — “The Little Mermaid” (Walt Disney Pictures)

2022 category winner: Brendan Fraser, “The Whale” (A24)

** indicates an unconfirmed release date in 2023 or could campaign in the lead or supporting categories. All release dates are subject to change.

Oscars Predictions Categories


About the Academy Awards

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. Since 1927, nominees and winners have been selected by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Seventeen branches are represented within the nearly 10,000-person membership. The branches are actors, associates, casting directors, cinematographers, costume designers, directors, documentary, executives, film editors, makeup and hairstylists, marketing and public relations, members-at-large, members-at-large (artists’ representatives), music, producers, production design, short films and feature animation, sound, visual effects and writers.

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