2015 Oscar Predictions: Best Actor

Predicted Winner: Eddie Redmayne, "The Theory of Everything"

This is the only suspenseful category in the acting portion of the Oscars. The competition between Michael Keaton and Redmayne has been intensely close. Ever since the release of “Birdman” at the Venice Film Festival, Keaton had been leading the pack. Then the SAGs took place and they proved to be a game changer. The edge is Redmayne’s coming into tonight.

Why He Will Win | Physically transformative performances tend to be the Academy’s soft spot. You don’t have to look any further than last year’s winner (Matthew McConaughey) to notice the trend. While critics might’ve had varying responses to “The Theory of Everything” (it currently has a 72 grade on MetaScore), the one thing they all tended to agree on was the power of Redmayne’s turn. 

About the Other Nominees | Michael Keaton could just as easily win for his portrayal of a stressed out, faded actor struggling to regain control of his life and career with a last ditch effort for resurgence. Being that Keaton is a veteran and this is his comeback film, it would be hard to imagine that not striking an emotional chord with voters. For his role as Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game”, Benedict Cumberbatch worthily received a first-time nod. 

Steve Carell lost momentum in this race early on. Originally expected to campaign in the supporting category; he moved to the more open field of Best Actor. After a series of publicized struggles, “Foxcatcher” has gone from the overnight sensation of Cannes and early Oscar front runner to having its awards hopes rendered relatively moot. The only actor further away from the podium is Bradley Cooper. With his nomination for the controversial “American Sniper”, Cooper is the category’s biggest long shot.

Category Factoids | Keaton is the lone nominee to play an original character. All of his fellow nominees star in biopics (Redmayne, Cumberbatch, Carell and Cooper).

The Toughest Loss | In all of the chatter surrounding the Redmayne vs. Keaton photo finish, Cooper’s divisive nomination and the “Foxcatcher” hubbub; it was Cumberbatch’s breakthrough film performance as Alan Turing that has personally been the most overlooked in the awards conversation.