Best Actor 2014: Joaquin Phoenix for Inherent Vice

INHERENT VICE
A photo of Joaquin Phoenix in Inherent Vice (via The Film Stage).

Oscar History: Three nominations
Nominated: Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Gladiator (2000)
Nominated: Best Actor in a Leading Role for Walk the Line (2005)
Nominated: Best Actor in a Leading Role for The Master (2012)

Oscar Present?
Role: Larry “Doc” Sportello, a drug-fueled detective who looks into his ex-girlfriend’s disappearance in 1970s Los Angeles

Awards: N/A
Nominations: N/A

Festivals:

  • New York Film Festival (2014) – Centerpiece Gala

Why? Phoenix’s eclectic choices over the last several years show off his range and can easily make the case for his being due for a trophy. He returned to the Oscars with his last Paul Thomas Anderson collaboration – The Master (2012) – so maybe he can get in even if voters are less than high on the film itself.

Why not? Word on Inherent Vice suggests that it’s strong but perhaps way too much for Oscar voters. The New York Film Festival’s last few Centerpiece Gala selections – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013), Not Fade Away (2012), My Week with Marilyn (2011) – weren’t quite the talk of their respective years; Warner Bros.’ decision to give Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper an Oscar-qualifying run suggests that there might be little confidence in Vice as an awards player.

Ranking: No. 14 as of Aug. 15, 2014

More on the competition:
Best Actor in a Leading Role 2014

See also (pages coming soon):
Best Picture 2014: Inherent Vice (more)
Best Director 2014: Paul Thomas Anderson for Inherent Vice (more)
Best Supporting Actress 2014: Jena Malone for Inherent Vice (more)
Best Supporting Actress 2014: Katherine Waterston for Inherent Vice (more)
Best Supporting Actress 2014: Reese Witherspoon for Inherent Vice (more)
Best Supporting Actor 2014: Josh Brolin for Inherent Vice (more)
Best Supporting Actor 2014: Martin Short for Inherent Vice (more)
Best Adapted Screenplay 2014: Paul Thomas Anderson for Inherent Vice (more)

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