Film buffs everywhere have started to discuss who will take home statues for the 91st Academy Awards on Feb. 24. The biggest races are close, especially in the top-tier acting categories. The Best Actress race in particular is close, whereas Best Actor seems to be predetermined. Here are the actors and actresses vying for lead actor statues ranked from least to most likely to win:
Yalitza Aparicio (Roma)
Roma was the most artistic movie of 2018. The film didn’t focus on a complex plot, so Aparicio’s acting was at the forefront. She moved people to tears in her breakout role, and the Academy acknowledged her for that. A Mexican actress has not won in the Best Actress category, so the odds are stacked against her. That does not minimize her breathtaking performance, though, and hopefully this is just the first nomination of many for Aparicio.
Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
This is not McCarthy’s first rodeo: You might not realize she was nominated for her supporting role in Bridesmaids. In her Can You Ever Forgive Me? role, McCarthy portrays author Lee Israel who resorts to deception to get her stories published. Though McCarthy has nabbed several nominations for her performance, she isn’t the favorite to win in the tightest Best Actress race in recent history.
Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)
Gaga blew audiences away in her first feature film. Her portrayal as Ally was fierce and vulnerable, but the first-time nominee will likely lose to veterans. It’s definitely not fair politics come into play, but the likelihood of Gaga winning the statue is slim. We’ll still be crossing our fingers in hopes we are wrong.
Olivia Colman (The Favourite)
Colman’s interpretation of Queen Anne in Yorgos Lanthimos’ zany period film was captivating. She displayed every emotion known to man, and audiences felt bad for the situation she was put in. If anyone deserves to win the category, it’s Colman.
Glenn Close (The Wife)
Close has snagged two big wins at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors’ Guild awards for her role in The Wife. Close is a shoo-in to take home the Oscar on Feb. 24, but surprise support from other Academy members might push Colman to the top spot. It will undoubtedly be a close race, especially among the top three women.
Willem Dafoe (At Eternity's Gate)
Every year, someone gets nominated for a role average audiences have not really heard about. That’s not to discredit Dafoe’s talent, but there’s no chance the actor will earn the Best Actor statue.
Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
Cooper should win based on the fact he mimicked Sam Elliott's voice and transformed into a country superstar, but it’s likely the 7-time nominee will fall short. If there’s one category Cooper should have been nominated, it was Best Director. The way he tied the film together and demonstrated the themes of A Star Is Born through the cinematography was far more impressive than his acting.
Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)
Green Book has gotten a lot of love from the guilds, and it could sneak up on some bigger named films and grab a couple out-of-nowhere wins. It’s unlikely Mortensen will win in the category, but he shouldn’t be counted out.
Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Taking on Queen frontman Freddie Mercury is a tough job, but Malek filled the flamboyant performer’s platform shoes nicely. Malek was easily the best part of Bohemian Rhapsody, and that was solidified with his nomination.
Christian Bale (Vice)
Upon first glance, it might seem the reason Bale was nominated for his portrayal of former Vice President Dick Cheney was due to the weight gain and impressive makeup, but there is more depth there. The way he speaks and draws attention in every scene is impressive. It’s also easy to forget Bale is British, which everyone realized when he thanked Satan at the Golden Globes. With Bale racking up wins left and right, it’s almost guaranteed the Academy Award winner will add to his collection.