BEST ACTOR – DRAMA
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford, All Is Lost
CERTAINTIES: Chiwetel Ejiofor and Matthew McConaughey look unstoppable. Both are in movies that some Academy members have expressed reservations about, since they’re about grim subjects. But the power of these films is overcoming that reluctance, and while I always suspected Ejiofor would be a top contender, I no longer have any doubts about McConaughey making it to the big show. Hanks seems pretty solid, too.
SURPRISES: Idris Elba did impressive work as the iconic man who helped lead South Africa out of Apartheid. It’s about an unquestionably great man, but critics haven’t considered it a great movie. Elba’s performance has earned praise, but this is the first major award to recognize that.
SNUBS: Forest Whitaker for The Butler. There were no major awards for this movie, which is a sure-sign the HFPA didn’t like it very much, even if its blockbuster box office returns suggest moviegoers did. One day after re-entering the race with a Screen Actors Guild nomination, Whitaker falls back a little with this omission. Also left out: Michael B. Jordan’s intense, doomed young man from Fruitvale Station.
PRIZE FIGHTER SCORE: 5 for 5. The tricky one was that fifth slot — Idris or Forest? That was close.
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