The Best Actor Oscar Predictions 2023: Where do the nominees stand at the dusk of Award Seasons?

Best Actor Oscar Prediction 2023

The Best Actor Oscar Predictions 2023: Historically one of the most competitive categories at the Oscars, The Best Actor race sees an especially strong year for lead make performances, and there are no clear favorites. Following Will Smith’s Best Actor win for King Richard, this year we have all five contenders with a first-time nomination— Brendan Fraser for The Whale, Austin Butler for Elvis, Colin Farrell for The Banshees of Inisherin, Bill Nighy for Living, and Paul Mescal for Aftersun.

There were no major snubs except Tom Cruise for Top Gun Maverick, as it was a crowd favorite. All the nominees this year have very different backstories, career trajectories, and types of performance- all these factors will be crucial in predicting the winner for this year.

I will also be looking closely at the award season; thus, the predictions are subject to change once the BAFTA and SAG awards(SAG is scheduled after BAFTA this year) are done.

Best Actor Oscar Predictions 2023 – ‘The Favorite’: 

Brendan Fraser’s heartwarming Hollywood comeback performance as a dying and obese reclusive teacher Charlie is the favorite to bag this year’s Best Actor at the Academy Awards. The Whale received mixed reviews from both the critics and the audience. The movie has also been criticized for being Fatphobic, and there is an air of hatred around the movie. But that doesn’t tarnish Fraser’s tour de force performance which is literally carrying The Whale’s Oscar campaign on its back.

What really hurts Fraser’s chances, though, is The Whale missing a Best Picture nomination. An actor hasn’t won the Best Actor award for a film that missed Best Picture nominations since Jeff Bridges won for Crazyheart way back in 2010. Fraser did win the Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Actor. However, on the road to the Oscars, he at least needs to win one of the BAFTA or SAG to confirm his name on the trophy. While many critics aren’t favoring Fraser to win at BAFTA, it is worth noting how Critics didn’t think Will Smith could do the same but eventually swept the BAFTA last year.

Best Actor Oscar Prediction 2023

Fraser’s incredible body transformation and deeply emotional performance will surely favor his Oscar chances, as the Academy often loves to reward strong, heartwarming narratives. Fraser being a beloved actor to return to glorious form is a narrative that will sit well with the Academy, which previously adored physical transformation performances like Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club and Gary Oldman in The Darkest Hour. Similarly, it is the showiest and most dramatic performance in the category. It can remind you of Daniel-Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood, and Fraser’s almost theatrical performance has the power to leave even the hardest heartbroken.

Best Actor Oscar Prediction 2023 – ‘The Challenger’: 

It was a tight call to put Colin Farrell in the Challenger spot since he had a bunch of well-respected performances this year in After Yang, Thirteen Lives, and The Batman. But it is only in The Banshees of Inisherin that the actor has outdone himself with his earnest portrayal of Irishman Padraic- a simple man going through an existential crisis. It is believed that Farrell has the edge over Fraser at the BAFTA, and if that is to be trusted, Fraser losing out the SAG can surely turn the tables to make Farrell the frontrunner.

With a win at the Gotham Awards and Golden Globes (Comedy and Musical category), Farrell seems to have the strongest case after Fraser with The Banshees of Inisherin also fighting in the Best Picture race. It is no secret that one great speech at any award function in the lead-up to the Oscars would greatly boost Best Actor’s chances. Farrell’s charming speech at the Golden Globes criticizing Toxic Masculinity is already getting traction on social media. Still, one can argue that the academy voters surely haven’t forgotten Fraser’s emotional acceptance speech at the Critic’s Choice Awards.

Farrell is also doing great with his witty exchanges at the awards campaign, and it is hard to give four memorable performances in a single year anyway. Farrell’s tremendous performance in The Banshees of Inisherin can only be ranked second to his marvelous turn in The Killing of A Sacred Deer. But the movie, as well as Farrell’s performance, leans into its inherent oddness. It is surely not a typical performance to win the Best Actor award if you consider the history of Academy Awards.

Best Actor Oscar Prediction 2023 – ‘The Darkhorse’:

Austin Bulter could be in with a dark horse-esque shot in this year’s Best Actor race which is necessarily believed to be a two-way race. Butler’s turn as Elvis can not be written off from the race since we have a very recent example of Rami Malek winning the award for his turn as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. Bulter can certainly sniff a chance, as he has been doing loads of appearances and interviews in the past few weeks. Moreover, his comments regarding not wanting to emulate Elvis’s voice have gained some repulsive responses on social media.

The Academy loves biopics, and there’s no denying the fact that Butler was extremely good in the role. Though the Academy often favors the older actors in this category, he has the Best Actor at Golden Globes (Drama Category) to show for himself. His performance is surely the only one that fits the Oscar-bait bet this year, and if he suddenly starts to gain some momentum with a SAG or BAFTA win, don’t shy away from placing your bets on Austin Bulter.

Best Actor Oscar Prediction 2023 – ‘Other Contenders’:

Aside from the hot three, the other nominees this year include two actors that almost definitely have to go back home empty-handed this year- Bill Nighy for his role in Living and Paul Mescal for Aftersun. Bill Nighy’s inspiring performance as a terminally ill Public Works employee Rodney Williams is surely his best performance in years. Still, it is hard to see him manage to pull ahead of the bigger guns. Paul Mescal’s performance has been a personal favorite for me, but it is hard to see how that works for the Academy voters.

His movie Aftersun was universally loved and was deemed the ‘film of the year’ on many film lists, including Sight & Sound, The Guardian, and Indiewire. Yet the movie missed the Best Picture nomination at the Oscar and can bank on their chances(if any) at the BAFTA for any last-minute turnaround. With age at his side, Mescal’s empathetic and layered performance as a young father is likely to face a similar fate to Timothee Chalamet’s when he was nominated for Call Me By Your Name – can move you to tears, but can’t melt Academy member into voting for them.

Final Verdict:

It is easily a two-horse race between Brendan Fraser and Colin Farrell, where the latter is slightly lagging behind. But a SAG and BAFTA award can prove vital in determining who enters the Dolby Theatres on 13th March with momentum under their wings. I can’t sniff an upset this year.

More from the Oscars 2023:

6 Reasons Why Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Will Win The Best Picture Oscar

6 Reasons Why The Fabelmans Will Win The Best Picture Oscar At The 95th Academy Awards

Oscars 2023: Ranking All The Adapted Screenplay Nominations With Winner Prediction

Oscars 2023 – Ranking All the Supporting Actors (Male) Nominations With Winner Prediction

Ranking All The Best Animated Features Nominated & Predicting The Winner At The 95th Academy Awards

Oscar Nominations 2023, ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ Leads With 11


Rohit Saha

Identifies as a reluctant writer. Loves oxford commas. Perpetually forgetful about adding them. Hates any assignment that requires him to add sub-headings. Detests tags but calls himself a raconteur. Winner of the Chidananda Dasgupta Memorial Award for Best Film Criticism 2021 by FIPRESCI INDIA.