There’s some heated competition in the Best Actor category at this year’s Academy Awards, and it’s been tough to place a frontrunner. With legal Oscar betting in New Jersey this year, here’s a rundown of the nominees and analysis of their likelihood to win.
|Sportsbook||Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)||Christian Bale (Vice)||Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)||Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)||Willem Dafoe (At Eternity's Gate)|
Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
American actor Rami Malek’s breakthrough role came as computer hacker Elliot Alderson in the USA Network television series Mr. Robot (2015–present). You may also know him for his supporting role on the HBO miniseries, The Pacific, and his voiceover work in video games like Until Dawn or the Netflix animated series BoJack Horseman. Now, the actor will forever be linked to Queen’s charismatic frontman, Freddie Mercury, after portraying him in Bryan Singer’s biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody.
Bohemian Rhapsody has become a player on the awards circuit, winning Best Motion Picture – Drama and earning Best Picture nominations from the Producers Guild and the Academy. Malek has earned several accolades along the way as well, including Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama at the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor. Since 2004, SAG and the Academy have aligned 13 times, which makes Malek the favorite here. However, he has some solid competition from another actor portraying a historical figure, Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in Vice.
Key awards for Rami Malek
Golden Globes: Best Actor – Drama
Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Christian Bale (Vice)
Best known for his iconic portrayal as Batman in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy and his memorable performances in films like American Psycho, The Fighter, and American Hustle, Christian Bale is one of the finest actors working today. His major career nominations include four Academy Awards (one win), four British Academy Film Awards, four Golden Globe Awards (two wins) and seven Screen Actors Guild Awards (two wins).
With a Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Globe and a Critics’ Choice Award for his impressive turn as Dick Cheney in Adam McKay’s Vice, Bale was looking like a lock for the Best Actor trophy, but Malek’s win at the SAG Awards gives the Bohemian Rhapsody star the lead. Still, there’s a possibility that the controversy surrounding Singer and his Queen biopic could hurt Malek’s chances and leave Bale, a notorious method actor who gained 46 pounds to play the former vice president, in prime position to snag his first Best Actor Oscar.
Key awards for Christian Bale
Golden Globes: Best Actor – Comedy or Musical
Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
Philadelphia-born actor Bradley Cooper is known for his work in films like The Hangover (2009), Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Cooper has been nominated for a total of four Academy Awards, becoming the 10th actor to receive an Oscar nomination in three consecutive years (2013, 2014, 2015).
As a producer, director, screenwriter and star of A Star is Born, Cooper has earned received numerous accolades alongside his co-star, Lady Gaga. In addition to being selected by both the National Board of Review and American Film Institute as one of the Top 10 Films of 2018, A Star is Born earned five Golden Globe nominations and eight Oscar nominations, including:
- Best Picture
- Best Actor
- Best Actress
- Best Supporting Actor
- Best Original Song
To develop his character’s musical style, Cooper took guitar, piano and voice lessons for six months to learn how to play and sing as blues-rock megastar Jackson Maine. It’s a great performance, maybe the best of his career, but unfortunately it seems that Cooper – and A Star is Born – is losing steam as the Oscar race comes to a finish. By the way, it’s incredibly rare for a filmmaker to direct themselves to a Best Actor win – it’s only happened twice in the history of the Academy Awards.
Key awards for Bradley Cooper
National Board of Review: Top Ten Best Films of 2018, Best Director
Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)
After earning Oscar nods for Eastern Promises and Captain Fantastic, Viggo Mortensen is back with another role that demonstrates his considerable range. In Peter Farrelly’s Green Book, Mortensen plays Tony “Lip” Vallelonga, an Italian-American bouncer tasked with driving African-American pianist Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) through a concert tour in the deep South.
Mortensen, beloved for his role as Aragorn in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, delivers a great performance as Vallelonga, earning him National Board of Review for Best Actor, but without the support of the Screen Actors Guild, it’s hard to imagine the Danish-American winning the Oscar. Currently, he’s a heavy underdog with BetStarsNJ listing him at +3500 and PointsBet at +4000.
Key awards for Viggo Mortensen
National Board of Review: Best Actor
Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate)
After being nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his work in Platoon (1987), Shadow of the Vampire (2001) and The Florida Project (2018), Willem Dafoe has earned his first-ever Best Actor nod for his mesmerizing performance as painter Vincent van Gough in At Eternity’s Gate.
The Academy loves a biopic, but with Bohemian Rhapsody, Vice and Green Book all duking it out over “based on a true story” bragging rights, things aren’t looking too hot for Dafoe. He picked up a Golden Globe nod but got snubbed by the Screen Actors Guild. At Eternity’s Gate just wasn’t a big enough player on the awards circuit to compete. Dafoe’s nomination is its lone Oscar nod and since 2010, every Best Actor winner has starred in a Best Picture nominee.
As a result, the line bets on Dafoe are outrageous. Hard Rock has the actor’s odds at +8000 while William Hill has it at a whopping +10000.
Key awards for Willem Dafoe
While Dafoe has been nominated for awards by the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice Movie Awards and the National Society of Film Critics, he has yet to score a major win this season.