The Oscar races are heating up once again as we get into the fall and winter film season. Several of the films  and performances receiving high praise and buzz have yet to be seen by many audiences. Yet, we are still able to take a look at the front runners in each category and update them on a regular basis as momentum changes. In the Oscar race, momentum is everything and as the season progresses, my predictions will adjust accordingly. Here’s my take on the Best Actor race.

This year has been filled with several great performances. Like most years, we have a few locks that will make the cut, some on the bubble, and some too early that we haven’t seen them yet.

Locks at this point probably include Casey Affleck and probably Denzel Washington. However, there are several fine performances in the fold here. Andrew Garfield has two the Academy will likely consider. There are a very diverse group of actors in this race. The standby’s are ever present like Washington and Tom Hanks. You have some who have been here before but never really had a shot like Ryan Gosling and Viggo Mortensen. And of course, there are newcomers like Garfield, Affleck, Edgerton.

The Academy does frequently like to mix and match the different categories. Last year we saw DiCaprio win his first. Yet he was mixed in with former nominees Matt Damon and Michael Fassbender. Yet, they were joined by newcomers like Bryan Cranston and even a former winner in Eddie Redmayne.

We still don’t know how Michael Keaton’s The Founder will play in but that is one to watch out for as well. There is also Adam Driver to consider who just earned a win for Paterson in the LA Film Critics Awards. Casey Affleck has so far swept all the relevant awards thus far.

I expect there to be a nice mix this year. Here are my predictions for now.

My Current Predicted 5
Casey Affleck, Manchester By The Sea (pretty much a total lock at this point)
Joel Edgerton, Loving
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Tom Hanks, Sully
Denzel Washington, Fences

Strong Contenders
Adam Driver, Paterson
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Andrew Garfield, Silence
Micheal Keaton, The Founder
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic

Possible Dark Horses
Warren Beatty, Rules Don’t Apply
Miles Teller, Bleed For This
Ethan Hawke, Born To Be Blue
Mark Wahlberg, Patriots Day

Highly Unlikely But Worthy
Don Cheadle, Miles Ahead
Colin Farrell, The Lobster

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