Best Actor in a Leading Role 2015

Updating Sept. 10, 2015



Drafting… stay tuned!



Michael Fassbender can win this, I imagine, if he bothers to campaign, but we’re not counting on that happening, are we? Johnny Depp looks utterly bland in Black Mass, but the Venice and Telluride response says otherwise, so maybe I should give it a fair shake once it hits in the States.



My official predictions include only performances in films set for distribution in the United States. The process of guessing who will and who will not make the cut always seems to be collaborative, so feel free to leave a comment (or a tweet) that addresses any relevant concerns.


  1. Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant (more)

  2. Eddie Redmayne for The Danish Girl (more)

  3. Michael Caine for Youth (more)

  4. Michael Fassbender for Steve Jobs (more)

  5. Johnny Depp for Black Mass (more)

Next in Line?

  1. Tom Hiddleston for I Saw the Light (more)
  2. Harvey Keitel for Youth (more)
  3. Tom Hanks for Bridge of Spies (more)
  4. Joseph Gordon-Levitt for The Walk (more)
  5. Idris Elba for Beasts of No Nation (more)

Other Possibilities

  1. Abraham Attah for Beasts of No Nation (more)
  2. Tom Courtenay for 45 Years (more)
  3. Will Smith for Concussion (more)
  4. Mark Ruffalo for Spotlight (more)
  5. Bryan Cranston for Trumbo (more)
  6. Ben Foster for The Program (more)
  7. Tom Hardy for Legend (more)
  8. Brad Pitt for By the Sea (more)
  9. Michael B. Jordan for Creed (more)
  10. Ian McKellen for Mr. Holmes (more)
  11. Joseph Gordon-Levitt for Snowden (more)
  12. Corey Hawkins for Straight Outta Compton (more)
  13. O’Shea Jackson Jr. for Straight Outta Compton (more)
  14. Chiwetel Ejiofor for The Secret in Their Eyes (more)
  15. Géza Röhrig for Son of Saul (more)

Long Shots

  1. Antonio Banderas for The 33 (more)
  2. Matt Damon for The Martian (more)
  3. Jesse Eisenberg for The End of the Tour (more)
  4. Christopher Plummer for Remember (more)
  5. Michael Fassbender for Macbeth (more)
  6. Jeremy Irvine for Stonewall (more)
  7. John Cusack for Love and Mercy (more)
  8. Bradley Cooper for Burnt (more)
  9. Jake Gyllenhaal for Everest (more)
  10. Jake Gyllenhaal for Southpaw (more)
  11. Dane DeHaan for Tulip Fever (more)
  12. Tom Hiddleston for Crimson Peak (more)


  • Paul Dano for Love and Mercy – Switched to supporting
  • Ralph Fiennes for A Bigger Splash – Set for 2016
  • James Franco for True Story – Came and went (more)
  • Jonah Hill for True Story – Came and went (more)
  • Jaeden Lieberher for Midnight Special – Out next year
  • Thomas Mann for Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Film never took off
  • Nick Nolte for A Walk in the Woods – Mixed reviews, donuts for dinner, maybe a Globe play
  • Joaquin Phoenix for Irrational Man – Not one of Woody Allen’s best moments
  • Robert Redford for Truth – Now in supporting
  • Robert Redford for A Walk in the Woods – Mixed reviews, donuts for dinner, maybe a Globe play; could help a campaign for Truth
  • Michael Shannon for Midnight Special – Out next year
  • Robin Williams for Boulevard – Came and went with little fanfare

In Limbo

I regard these performances as ineligible at the moment, because a) the films might not hit theaters this year due to distributors’ schedules or their not being ready, or b) the films lack stateside distribution altogether. But as anyone who follows this mess knows, things can change at a moment’s notice.

  1. Don Cheadle for Miles Ahead
  2. Andrew Garfield for Silence (more)
  3. Adam Driver for Silence (more)
  4. Tom Hanks for A Hologram for the King (more)
  5. Miles Teller for Bleed for This (more)
  6. Colin Firth for Genius (more)
  7. Édgar Ramírez for Hands of Stone (more)
  8. Josh Brolin for Hail, Caesar! (more)
  9. John Huston for The Other Side of the Wind (more)
  10. James Franco for I am Michael (more)
  11. Ethan Hawke for Born to Be Blue (more)
  12. David Oyelowo for Five Nights in Maine (more)
  13. Anton Yelchin for The Greens are Gone (more)
  14. Jason Bateman for The Family Fang (more)
  15. Alden Ehrenreich for Untitled Warren Beatty Film (more)
  16. Taylor Lautner for Run the Tide (more)


  • Kit Harington for The Death and Life of John F. Donovan – Pushed back
  • Lewis MacDougall for A Monster Calls – Hits next year
  • Matthew McConaughey for The Sea of Trees – Those reviews, though…
  • David Oyelowo for Nightingale – Ended up on television
  • Ken Watanabe for The Sea of Trees – Those reviews, though…


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