2024 Oscars Best Actor Predictions

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

Colman Domingo in Rustin
David Lee/Netflix © 2022

Weekly Commentary (Updated July 27, 2023): The Cannes Film Festival brought many notable films that could vie for awards consideration, including Apple’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. An Oscar-winner for “The Revenant” (2015), his turn as a husband with ulterior motives is one of his finest. It would be hard to imagine a lineup that wouldn’t include him.

From the first half of 2023, smaller films have names worth considering, such as Kelvin Harrison Jr from Searchlight’s “Chevalier.” The summer has now dropped Cillian Murphy into the mix as the titular “Oppenheimer” from Christopher Nolan. Despite Nolan’s vast respect in the industry and pop culture, Heath Ledger (“The Dark Knight”) is the only actor nominated and won an Academy Award for one of the auteur’s movies. Could Murphy become the second (or third/fourth with co-stars Robert Downey Jr and Emily Blunt contending in supporting categories)?

While we are expecting a supporting push for Ryan Gosling, there are some that see his brilliant turn as Ken in Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” as a leading role. We’ll list him in both places for now.

Amid the ongoing Hollywood strikes, the show must go on, at least in terms of fall festivals like Venice, Telluride and Toronto.

At Venice, we’ll pay close attention to when Bradley Cooper’s sophomore directorial effort “Maestro” bows at the Lido. The biopic of Leonard Bernstein has the eight-time Oscar nominee playing the famed composer in a film he also wrote and produced for Netflix. The streamer hopes Cooper’s movie is going to be a significant player and become the third person to direct themselves to acting wins – after Laurence Olivier (“Hamlet”) and Roberto Benigni (“Life is Beautiful”).

As can be expected, Netflix is brimming with multiple candidates that could pop up, such as Colman Domingo in George C. Wolfe’s “Rustin,” which will debut at TIFF.

Another festival drop having strong early word is Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers,” with Paul Giamatti looking to avenge his criminal “Sideways” snub 20 years ago, another joint from Payne. Coincidentally, Jamie Foxx, who won that year for “Ray,” could be in the discussion again with Maggie Betts’ “The Burial.”

Plenty more movies can move in or shift out of the calendar year. It’s still early, but the chess pieces are being implemented.

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

And the Predicted Nominees Are:

  1. Paul Giamatti — “The Holdovers” (Focus Features)
  2. Leonardo DiCaprio — “Killers of the Flower Moon” (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures)
  3. Cillian Murphy — “Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures)
  4. Bradley Cooper — “Maestro” (Netflix)
  5. Colman Domingo — “Rustin” (Netflix)

Next in Line

  1. Kingsley Ben-Adir — “Bob Marley: One Love” (Paramount Pictures)
  2. Adam Driver — “Ferrari” (Neon)
  3. Jeffrey Wright — “American Fiction” (MGM)
  4. David Strathairn — “A Little Prayer” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  5. Paul Dano — “Dumb Money” (Sony Pictures)

Other Top-Tier Possibilities

  1. Barry Keoghan — “Saltburn” (Amazon Studios)
  2. Anthony Hopkins — “Freud’s Last Session” (Sony Pictures Classics) **
  3. Matt Damon — “Air” (Amazon Studios)
  4. Teo Yoo — “Past Lives” (A24)
  5. Christian Friedel — “The Zone of Interest” (A24)
  6. Michael Fassbender — “The Killer” (Netflix)
  7. Jamie Foxx — “The Burial” (Amazon Studios)
  8. Joaquin Phoenix — “Napoleon” (Apple Original Films/Sony Pictures)
  9. Jesse Garcia — “Flamin’ Hot” (Hulu/Searchlight Pictures)
  10. Jay Baruchel — “BlackBerry” (IFC Films)

Also In Contention

  1. Zac Efron — “The Iron Claw” (A24)
  2. Lakeith Stanfield — “The Book of Clarence” (Sony Pictures) **
  3. Jaime Vadell — “El Conde” (Netflix)
  4. Paul Mescal — “Foe” (Amazon Studios)
  5. Michael Fassbender — “Next Goal Wins” (Searchlight Pictures)
  6. Alden Ehrenreich — “Fair Play” (Netflix)
  7. Peter Sarsgaard — “Memory” (No U.S. Distribution)
  8. Justin H. Min— “Shortcomings” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  9. Timothée Chalamet — “Wonka” (Warner Bros.)
  10. Gael García Bernal — “Cassandro” (Amazon Studios)

All Eligible Titles (Alphabetized by Studio)**

  • Kenneth Branagh — “A Haunting in Venice” (20th Century Studios)
  • Tom Hardy — “The Bikeriders” (20th Century Studios)
  • Joaquin Phoenix — “Beau is Afraid” (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 Studios)
  • Jamie Foxx — “The Burial” (Amazon Studios)
  • Gael García Bernal — “Cassandro” (Amazon Studios)
  • Paul Mescal — “Foe” (Amazon Studios)
  • Barry Keoghan — “Saltburn” (Amazon Studios)
  • Riz Ahmed — “Fingernails” (Apple Original Films)
  • Orén Kinlan — “Flora and Son” (Apple Original Films) **
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt — “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)
  • 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)
  • Michael Fassbender — “The Killer” (Netflix)
  • Bradley Cooper — “Maestro” (Netflix)
  • Dev Patel — “The Monkey King” (Netflix)
  • Colman Domingo — “Rustin” (Netflix)
  • Robert DeNiro — “Ezra” (No U.S. Distribution)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Aaron Taylor-Johnson — “Kraven the Hunter” (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)
  • Jason Mamoa — “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” (Warner Bros.)
  • Ryan Gosling — “Barbie” (Warner Bros.) **
  • Xolo Maridueña — “Blue Beetle” (Warner Bros.)
  • Timothée Chalamet — “Dune: Part Two” (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.

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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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