2023 Oscars: Best Actor Predictions

Austin Butler and Bill Nighy hope to land their first Oscar nods against Oscar winners Brad Pitt, Colin Firth, and Daniel Kaluuya.

We keep updating these predictions through the awards season, so keep checking IndieWire for all our 2023 Oscar picks. Nominations voting is from January 12 to January 17, 2023, with official Oscar nominations announced on January 24, 2023. The final voting is March 2 through 7, 2023. And finally, the 94th Oscars telecast will be broadcast on Sunday, March 12 and air live on ABC at 8:00 pm ET/ 5:00 pm PT.

The State of the Race

Familiar faces lead the Beat Actor fray. Oscar winners back in contention include Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”) as a rural horse wrangler taking on an extraterrestrial threat in his “Get Out” director Jordan Peele’s “Nope” (Universal); Colin Firth engaging with Olivia Colman in Sam Mendes’ cinephile romance “Empire of Light” (Searchlight Pictures), Christian Bale rejoining director David O. Russell’s world in madcap comedy “Amsterdam” (20th Century Studios), and also reuniting with favorite collaborator Scott Cooper as a detective who meets the young Edgar Allan Poe (Harry Melling) in “The Pale Blue Eye” (Netflix). And Brad Pitt teams up with his “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” costar Margot Robbie in Damien Chazelle’s look at Old Hollywood, “Babylon” (Paramount).

Vying for their first wins are “Les Miserables” nominee Hugh Jackman, who stars as beleaguered parent in Florian Zeller’s adaptation of his play “The Son” (Sony Pictures Classics); and Adam Driver, who follows up his nomination in Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” with their latest film together, “White Noise” (Netflix), in which Driver plays Don DeLillo’s pretentious professor.



Several actors whose films premiered at Sundance and Cannes are hoping to land their first Oscar nominations. In Sundance debut “Living” (SPC), British thespian Bill Nighy plays a character drawn from Akira Kurosawa’s “Ikiru,” who changes his life when faced with death; Austin Butler earned raves as the King of Rock n Roll in Baz Luhrmann’s Cannes entry “Elvis” (Warner Bros.); and Park Hae-il plays a homicide detective in love with a murder suspect in Park Chan-wook’s Cannes director-winner “Decision to Leave” (Mubi).

Meanwhile, never-nominated comedy star Adam Sandler (though he came close with “Uncut Gems”) scored raves in sports dramedy “Hustle,” which Netflix is ​​promoting for awards, though it skipped the festival circuit.

Many films will complicate the season out of the fall festivals. These include AG Inarritu’s likely Mexican Oscar entry “Bardo (or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths)” (Netflix) starring Daniel Giménez Cacho as an artist returning to his home country; “Parasite” star Song Kang-ho, who plays an adoption agent in Hirokazu Koreeda’s “Broker” (Neon), which premiered in Cannes and next heads to TIFF; Brendan Fraser as an obese man trying to connect with his daughter in Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale” (A24); Colin Farrell reunited with “In Bruges” star Brendan Gleeson in Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees of Inisherin” (Searchlight); with “Chevalier” (Searchlight Pictures), “Cyrano” star Kelvin Harrison Jr. takes on the composer Chevalier de Saint-Georges, the illegitimate son of an African slave and a French plantation owner; and Jack O’Connell is the gardener who has sex with proper Emma Corrin in the latest iteration of DH Lawrence’s “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” (Netflix).


Contenders are listed in alphabetical order, below. No actor will be deemed a frontrunner until I have seen the movie.

front runners:
Austin Butler (“Elvis”)
Park Hae-il (“Decision to Leave”)
Daniel Kaluuya (“Nope”)
Bill Nighy (“Living”)
Adam Sandler (“Hustle”)

Christian Bale (“Amsterdam,” “The Pale Blue Eye”)
Daniel Gimenez Cacho (“Bardo (or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths)”
Adam Driver (“White Noise”)
Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)
Colin Firth (“Empire of Light”)
Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”)
Brendan Gleeson (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)
Kelvin Harrison Jr. (“Chevalier”)
Hugh Jackman (“The Son”)
Brad Pitt (“Babylon”)
Eddie Redmayne (“The Good Nurse”)
Song Kang-ho (“Broker”)

Long Shots
Timothée Chalamet (“Bones and All”)
Tom Cruise (“Top Gun: Maverick”)
Harris Dickinson (“Triangle of Sadness”)
Jalil Hall (“Till”)
Paul Mescal (“Aftersun”)
Jack O’Connell (“Lady Chatterley’s Lover”)
Robert Pattinson (“The Batman”)
Cooper Raiff (“Cha Cha Real Smooth”)
Banks Repeta (“Armageddon Time”)
Sam Worthington (“Avatar: The Way of Water”)

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