LAMB Devours the Oscars 2020: Best Actor in a Leading Role

Originally posted at The Large Association of Movie Blogs as part of their LAMB Devours the Oscars 2020 feature. Original link here.

I was so happy to take part in last year’s LAMB Devours the Oscars feature where I reviewed Green Book (which then went on to win Best Picture – huzzah!) so it’s great to be back again, this time discussing the Actor in a Leading Role category. I started a draft of this post a while ago starting off by saying something along the lines of how great the performances were, but how I thought it was very much a two-horse race and, well, you’ll believe me when I say I scrapped that draft.

Let’s take a look at the nominees, shall we?

Antonio Banderas, PAIN AND GLORY

It was a surprise to see Antonio Banderas here, I thought there was a chance Taron Egerton for Rocketman might just slip in after the Academy’s love for musical biopic Bohemian Rhapsody but regardless, Banderas put in an excellent performance.

Jonathan Pryce, THE TWO POPES

I haven’t seen The Two Popes in full yet, I’m not embarrassed to admit it’s not my usual kind of movie, but Jonathan Pryce’s performance has kept me engaged and it’s great that he’s receiving recognition for his efforts.

Leonardo DiCaprio, ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD

Leonardo DiCaprio has now received 5 nominations by the Academy for Lead Actor, which is an amazing achievement. Even though I don’t always love the movies he’s in, I can’t ever say he’s turned in a bad performance. I struggled with his character in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood to begin with but he’d won me over by the end.

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Adam Driver, MARRIAGE STORY

What happened, guys? Before the awards season started, if my Twitter feed was anything to go by, Adam Driver’s name was already etched onto that shiny statue, but now I’m having to watch him lose it every awards night. Bigger film buffs than me might be able to tell you if an Actor has ever lost all the big awards but gone on to take the Oscar, but I don’t think it’s going to happen on Sunday. It’s a shame, because his role in Marriage Story is fantastic. The anger and sadness he expresses feels all too real, and I’ve always believed Adam Driver can say more with his facial expressions than he can with words. If nothing else, I hope his nomination gives him a springboard into finding that role that will eventually win him the recognition he deserves.

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Joaquin Phoenix, JOKER

Being gutted about Adam Driver losing would be manageable if it weren’t for the fact I really enjoyed Joaquin Phoenix’s performance as the Joker. It’s been a very love or hate movie for most, and I can see both sides of the coin. For me, I never felt compelled to feel sorry for Phoenix’s character, Arthur. I felt saddened by what led him down the dark path he took, but never condoned his actions. Heath Ledger won an Oscar for the same character 11 years ago, and so it’ll be quite poetic when Phoenix wins.