For Millennials. By Millennials.
With the 95th Academy Awards right around the corner, let’s look at the Best Actor nominees, and give you our Oscars 2023 Best Actor predictions.
Paul Mescal (Aftersun)
So the first actor on the list of our Oscars 2023 Best Actor Predictions is Paul Mescal for Aftersun. This 90s special film took place in a Turkish resort in the glorious summer. Where we find Calum (Paul Mescal), a 30-something-year-old father who tries to connect with his daughter. Calum, a divorcee tries to hide his depression and his struggles with life outside of fatherhood from his daughter (Frankie Corio).
The film offers a heartwarming performance from the duo. Paul Mescal (of ‘Normal People’ fame) gives us a performance that has gotten everyone talking. As with other young actors such as Austin Butler, Mescal takes this opportunity to claim much-deserved attention. The role offers depth into the struggles of a man trying his best to do one thing right (a theme we also see in ‘The Whale’) if that’s the only thing he can take comfort in doing.
The story of this Scottish Father-Daughter duo exposes us to the melancholic heartbreak that children of divorced parents go through, trying to make the best of a strange situation. At the core of it, it is an all-too-human story that is one of the most tragic circumstances into a beautiful visual symphony of emotions. Paul Mescal fits into the role very naturally and gives us (what some are calling) his best performance yet.
However, with the competition tough in this year’s Oscars, it seems unlikely that Paul Mescal‘s honest portrayal is not likely to bag him the trophy this year. That isn’t all bad. After all, Mescal will hopefully be giving the academy many more Oscar-worthy performances, hopefully with less fierce competition, in the years to come. He’s only just starting out.
Bill Nighy (Living)
Bill Nighy‘s performance is remarkable, something that isn’t a surprise. It is only English actors, with their Shakespearean training in theatre, who can bring finesse to their performances in a way that American actors somehow are not able. A gaunt figure, nearing his death, Nighy brings depth to a performance that hardly anyone could have done better.
However, even with such a performance, the competition makes it unlikely for Bill Nighy, an old white man, whose story is not one that is consistent with the political climate of the times. For these reasons, he is probably not the one taking the Oscars 2023 Academy Award home this year. That, however, is not reason enough for you to miss this heart-wrenching performance.
Austin Butler (Elvis)
The next actor we have on our list of Oscars 2023 Best Actor Predictions is Austin Butler for his marvelous acting in Elvis. Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis is a spectacle to behold. It does justice to the grand and chaotic life of the powerhouse, Elvis Presley.
Watching the film, with Elvis songs playing with reverb and isolated vocals add excitement that is worthy of a film about one of the most famous icons in pop culture to ever have lived. Watching the film is akin to being on anti-depressants: the colors are bright, the music is loud, the scenes are hazy, and there is happiness on the face but quiet desperation inside. I imagine that is what Elvis’ life must have felt like. Elvis was known to abuse prescription medication, something his mother started him on.
What to say about Austin Butler‘s performance. He became Elvis. So much so that he still hasn’t been able to shed the Elvis voice in press interviews since the movie came out. The accent is on point, the voice brings Elvis back from the grave, the moves on stage bear an uncanny resemblance and he nails the famous grin.
Having said all that, the film failed to give Butler the opportunity to have his ‘Oscar Moment’. You know, that scene that plays when they announce the nominees. I doubt there is any scene that qualifies him to bag the Oscars 2023 award because there was no moment of the sort that the Academy seems to love.
That raw, vulnerable, and explosive moment that audiences go wild for, was not available to Butler. This is also because the film isn’t focused on that kind of human portrayal of Elvis. It shows us Elvis in all his megastar glory. Unfortunately, I feel, that will not be sufficient for the Academy to give Butler his first golden trophy this year.
Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin)
So Collin Farrell is the next actor on our Oscars 2023 Best Actor Predictions list for the movie ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’. It is a simple story about two friends (ex-friends) in a village off the coast of Ireland. Padraic (Collin Farell) is devastated when Colm (Brendan Gleeson) decides to end his friendship with him. Padraic, who lives with his sister (played by Kerry Condon) is a simpleton who finds meaning in the simple things, such as his friendship with Colm.
When Colm decides to spend his remaining days as a stranger to Padraic, he does not understand. He tries his best to return to normalcy and refuses to respect Colm’s wishes, suspecting that he will change his mind. As events unfold, we are made to realize the cruelty of human behavior and the nature of pain and suffering. It is a story of isolation and facing one’s own mortality and insignificance.
Collin Farell‘s performance in the movie is a complete transformation. It’s not just the accent (which, being Irish, comes naturally to him) but his whole persona that is nothing like the usual confident alpha we are used to seeing him as. He adds depth to the character’s simplicity and confusion. We are made to feel for this man, despite being frustrated by his simplicity. Farell makes the village idiot loveable. This is no easy task. There are lots of moments from the performance worthy of the preview that runs when the nominees are announced. I’m excited to see which one they pick.
All-in-all, this is perhaps Collin Farell‘s greatest performance that arrives in an unlikely film, due to its simplicity. However, it is this simplicity that makes the performance stand out. Making a simple character interesting and giving it depth is the most challenging task for an actor. And for Farell, this one is a triumph.
We are guessing it is going to be a tough contest between Collin Farell and Brendan Fraser this year to win an Award in the Oscars 2023 Best Actor category.
Brendan Fraser (The Whale)
‘The Whale’ is what everyone is calling Brendan Fraser‘s big comeback moment. Darren Aronofsky’s adaptation of the Samuel D. Hunter brings to the screen the story of an obese man, Charlie, trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter (Sadie Sink) as he faces his own mortality. Almost all of the film takes place in the lead character’s apartment which makes it much more intense. It gives us the full experience of what the life of an obese person looks like up close.
Fraser’s performance is one for the ages. From start to finish, the film makes you uncomfortable but somehow you can’t stop watching. It’s a gripping performance for which Fraser put on lots of extra weight and put on additional prosthetics. That, however, is not what makes the performance spectacular. It is the honesty with which Brendan Fraser plays Charlie that makes the performance one that remains etched onto your brain.
His understanding of the nature of pain, shame, addiction, and love makes the performance remarkable on multiple levels. It is not a film about obesity at all. It is a film about love, how we are generous with it when we extend it to other people, and how we deprive ourselves of it. It is a film about wanting to save those we love while failing to save ourselves.
I think Brendan Fraser has shown us that it was a grave mistake to have put him in a box as the Adonis he has been famous for in his youth. I think he has shown us with this performance that he deserves the Oscars 2023 Best Actor award more than anyone else this year.
My prediction for the Oscars 2023 Best Actor winner is Brendan Fraser. Give the man his trophy and be done with it already! Cuz he definitely deserves it.