It is usually not so tough to predict the Oscar winners, especially since it is the last awards ceremony to take place and by then, you have a fair idea of who is most likely to clinch the trophy. However, this time is no cakewalk because we have five very versatile, able actors as Best Actor nominees — Riz Ahmed for Sound of Metal, Chadwick Boseman for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Steven Yeun for Minari, Anthony Hopkins for The Father and Gary Oldman for Mank.
Each actor has brought in something unique, original and honest to their respective roles. However, with Chadwick Boseman’s unfortunate death, the scale is a tipped on his side. Of course, this doesn’t take away anything from his stellar performance. Despite this, I am placing my bets on someone who has been underrated for far too long when it comes to these prestigious events or even some celebrity limelight. The Oscar for the Best Actor should go to…
Riz Ahmed for Sound of Metal
In the 2020 Amazon movie directed by debutant filmmaker Darius Marder, Riz Ahmed embodies the confusion and pain of someone who is quickly losing his ability to hear. Riz’s Ruben Stone is a nomad at heart. He is spirited, passionate about music and is a credible drummer. However, once he realises that he is on the verge of becoming deaf, Ruben does his best to fight the inevitable. It is a heartbreaking, poignant tale realised on screen with wonderful grit and compassion by Riz Ahmed.
The other nominees in the Best Actor category are:
Chadwick Boseman for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Throughout his short-lived career, Chadwick gave many fine performances, often playing Black heroes with great courage and charisma. In Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, he does the same. Boseman’s Levee was angry, passionate and eager to explore his musicality. He dreamt big dreams even though the prevalent culture of America did its best to clip his wings. A great performance by an artiste of great caliber.
Steven Yeun for Minari
Steven Yeun has always been a good actor. Yes, from his Walking Dead days till now, with his one-of-a-kind performance in Minari. In Minari, Steven plays David, who wants to pursue the great American dream of owning a house and making his name in the foreign land. Steven brings in a magical mix of rawness and gentleness to the role. David’s determination and hard work is all Steven. Even in David’s almost-delusional state of that pursuit, Steven never loses touch with his character.
Gary Oldman for Mank
That Gary Oldman is a fine actor is old news. This is Oldman’s third nomination in the Best Actor category. He previously won an Academy Award for his performance in Darkest Hour, an incredible performance in a slightly above average film. Mank is certainly a better movie, and Oldman’s lead performance as the alcoholic screenwriter Herman J Mankiewicz is a thing of beauty.
Anthony Hopkins for The Father
The extraordinary Anthony Hopkins has already won the Best Actor trophy for this year’s BAFTA. But will he take home an Oscar too? The actor’s performance is certainly Oscar-worthy. As someone who is losing touch with reality due to dementia, Anthony Hopkins is a wonder to behold. His commitment to the role is almost frightening as the real and reel begin to disappear a short while after the movie begins, and this is, in large part due to the actor’s central performance. Of course, the good writing helps case immensely.
The 93rd Academy Awards will take place on April 26 IST.