The 95th Academy Awards Race: Best Actor

| March 9, 2023

The nominees are . . . 
• Austin Butler in Elvis
• Colin Farrell in The Banshees of Inisherin
• Brendan Fraser in The Whale
• Pedro Pascal in Aftersun
• Bill Nighy in Living

This year’s Best Actor race keeps shifting.  Early on, it was thought that newcomer Austin Butler may win for playing three decades as The King in Elvis.  Then he and Colin Farrell split the difference when both won Lead Actor awards at the Golden Globes – the former for Musical/Comedy and the latter for Drama.  There is an opportunity for both to still make the end of Oscar’s cut, but standing in their way is the year’s comeback kid, Brendan Fraser.

In The Whale, Fraser checks all of the Best Actor boxes.  He plays a man with an affliction – check.  He plays a man who (we think) dies – check.  He plays a wounded soul – check.  He plays a man with a Rocky-like ambition to make his mark – double check.  And he’s an actor who is on the comeback trail after some hard times – check.  That’s not to be glib about Fraser, he certainly deserves to win.  The Best Actor race seems to be divided between Fraser and Farrell and Butler, but I think the standing ovation that greeted him at the SAG Awards (voted on by the same people who vote for the Oscar) is a good indicator of where things will go on Oscar night.

The Winner: Brendan Fraser in The Whale
The Dark Horse: Colin Farrell in The Banshees of Inisherin

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.