Awards season is officially upon us and we're counting down the days until the Oscars on 24th February 2019. Here are our tips for the Best Actor contenders...
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- The 7 greatest soundtrack moments from A Star is Born
- 5 First Man scenes that you need to experience again in IMAX
The film A Star is Born
The star of The Hangover and Silver Linings Playbook has surely got it made this awards season. Having received laudatory reviews for his directorial debut (expect him to feature prominently in that category too), Cooper has also received acclaim for his soulful, moving performance as self-destructive musician Jackson Maine.
Channelling some truly remarkable chemistry with the equally impressive Lady Gaga as singer-songwriter Ally, the actor digs deep and finds melancholic reserves of sadness behind those A-list good looks. It's a powerful performance that deserves just as much attention as Cooper's skills behind the camera.
The film First Man
Gosling and director Damien Chazelle made movie magic in 2016 with the dazzling La La Land, a sumptuous love letter to the golden age of the Hollywood musical. It was the toast of that particular award season but was involved in a Best Picture mix-up with Moonlight – is the sense of residual embarrassment still strong enough for the Academy to honour their new movie First Man?
It's a close-up look at the tensions and dangers of astronaut Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 moon mission, and critics are pretty unanimous in their praise of Gosling's lead performance. It's a quiet, introverted take on a man who refused to see himself as a hero, forgoing Hollywood grandstanding in favour of something authentic.
The film Vice (released 25th January 2019)
Now here's an actor who loves transforming, whether it's his skeletal appearance in The Machinist, his beefy Batman in the Dark Knight trilogy or his bewigged, paunchy con-man in the Oscar-nominated American Hustle. Even so, Bale's appearance in new political comedy-drama Vice is truly remarkable, a role for which he's piled on the pounds and some truly convincing ageing make-up to play Dick Cheney, former US Vice President to George W. Bush.
Adam McKay's latest (and eagerly anticipated) directorial outing following The Big Short is a multi-generational look at Cheney's career, and Bale's sure-to-be-engrossing performance takes us inside the corridors of power.
The film Bohemian Rhapsody (released 24th October)
The Oscars love to reward an actor who plays a real person, let alone one as iconic as musician Freddie Mercury. The mercurial, eccentric Queen frontman would present a challenge for any actor, but Mr. Robot's Rami Malek makes it look effortless in decade-spanning musical biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.
Critics have agreed that Malek nails Mercury's distinctive vocal style and eccentric mannerisms, while also giving us a glimpse of the ill-fated soul whose life away from the stage was far from easy. Any Queen movie has a responsibility to honour the band's extravagance and also the lead singer's tragic death – and it sounds as if Malek has more than overcome this formidable challenge.
The film BlacKkKlansman
We'll always get the actors who have been manoeuvred into Oscars pole position, but it's always a good idea to plump for an outsider. Our choice is the blazing screen newcomer who got everyone talking this August in Spike Lee's terrific BlacKkKlansman, the true story of a black police detective who infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan.
As the policeman in question, John David Washington escapes his father Denzel's shadow to fashion a quietly charismatic and slyly funny hero, one whose intellect and intelligence says more than any amount of pyrotechnics could. Rocking the 'fro and crafting a compelling sense of moral conflict, Washington's performance deserves to be honoured.
The film Beautiful Boy (released 18th January 2019)
In 2018, young Timothée Chalamet stunned the world with his performance as the lovesick Elio in Call Me By Your Name. This tender romance hinged on the actor's sensitive turn as the bookish teen who falls for his father's research assistant (Armie Hammer), although he was ultimately beaten to the punch by popular favourite Gary Oldman (for Darkest Hour).
Chalamet might, however, have another shot with his lauded appearance in drug rehabilitation drama Beautiful Boy. He plays the addict son of Steve Carell's long-suffering father, and critics have agreed that although the film is a tad 'worthy', the authenticity of Chalamet's performance is never in doubt.
Which of these actors do you think has the best shot at the Best Actor Oscar? Tweet us your thoughts @Cineworld.
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