With the 2015 Oscars just a few days away, one of the men nominated for Best Lead Actor will walk away with Hollywood's most coveted trophy, and the race is still up in the air.
The category of Best Lead Actor at this year's Academy Awards is by far the most competitive acting category. While one of the nominees is being predicted by many to win, others are considering a few dark horse contenders.
The nominees for Best Actor in a Leading Role at this year's Oscars are:
Steve Carell in Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper in American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton in Birdman
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything
Here is Enstars' ranking of how likely each nominee is of winning the Oscar, from least to most likely:
5. Steve Carell
Carell's boldly dramatic performance in Foxcatcher is a dark departure for the actor, who is mostly known for his comedy. It is a transformative role, playing troubled millionaire John du Pont. His performance has actually been quite polarizing and he has not won any significant awards at this point, suggesting that a win is probably out of the question. This is Carell's first Oscar nomination.
4. Benedict Cumberbatch
Cumberbatch is one of the most beloved actors (especially on the internet) and his portrayal of mathematician Alan Turing in The Imitation Game has given him some of the best reviews of his career. His movie is very well liked within the Academy so he will definitely rack up more than a few votes. However, he has been defeated at several other award shows by other people in this category, which seems to put a win here unlikely.
3. Bradley Cooper
Cooper's name being called on Oscar nomination morning was a surprise to many, considering he had not picked up any nominations from other major organizations. The love for American Sniper was stronger than many anticipated, though, and Cooper is a beloved actor within the Academy, with this being his third consecutive nomination. His performance as sniper Chris Kyle is a strong one and it's possible that voters will want to go their own way and reward him. He is a definitely the spoiler in this category if the two frontrunners don't receive enough votes.
2. Michael Keaton
Keaton was thought to be a frontrunner through the beginning of the award season, nabbing big victories at the Golden Globes (for Comedy) and the Critics' Choice Awards. A first time nominee for Birdman, Keaton is the veteran of the group who has a history of beloved blockbusters. Birdman is also a movie that Academy members seem to love, with Keaton playing a washed up actor hoping to create real art. However, his lack of a win at the SAG Awards hurts him significantly, in addition to a BAFTA loss. There are still many predicting Keaton, though smart money is on the presumed frontrunner.
1. Eddie Redmayne
Redmayne's performance of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything is everything Academy voters love. He is portraying a real life person who is British, who has a disability, which is combined with the most overt acting in the category. It's tough to beat that combination, and the fact that he won the SAG Award, in addition to the Golden Globe (Drama) and the BAFTA Award is a good sign for him. One thing that may hurt him is his age and relative lack of experience in the film industry. While the Academy likes to give younger actresses acting awards, the same can not be said for men in Lead Actor. The fact remains, though, that Redmayne seems to have the perfect storm of what Academy members like, and he is very likely to win on his first nomination.
While Enstars is predicting Redmayne to win, Keaton is still a strong possibility with Cooper as a potential spoiler.
The 2015 Academy Awards air live on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. PT on ABC.