With 2022 coming to a close, 2023 & the following awards season are nearly here. 2022 has seen some incredible films & performances across the board from comedy to drama &, even horror, & speculation are growing more intense over which industry workers & films will be nominated for what awards.
When it comes to the award for Best Actor, there are plenty of Enormous names in the running from some of the year’s biggest films. Anthony Hopkins, Brad Pitt, Hugh Jackman, & Tom Cruise are all potential winners for their performances this year, but there are also plenty of newcomers & underdogs that could potentially take home the golden statue.
Austin Butler – Elvis
Baz Luhrmann’s biopic of Elvis Presley saw Austin Butler take on the role of the iconic singer & his rise to global superstardom. The film also focuses on the relationship between the singer & long-time manager Colonel Tom Parker played by Tom Hanks. Taking a ride through 20 years of the life & fame of Elvis with Luhrmann’s characteristic stylistic musical flare present throughout the film. The film plays a little fast & loose with facts, but it does build an impressive spectacle.
What sets Elvis apart from other musicians’ biopics is the central performance by Austin Butler. Initial reactions to Butler’s casting were mixed as he was a relative unknown, acting since 2007 but doing mostly tv work. Butler is dazzling in the film, magnetic & charismatic, & embodies the role perfectly. The fact that he holds his own & shines in a picture with Tom Hanks opposite him is a testament to his talent.
Gabriel LaBelle – The Fabelmans
The Fabelmans is Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical film following Sammy Fabelman (LaBelle) & his journey to find solace & truth in film. Dealing with a dysfunctional family, a secret, & growing up, all with the backdrop of post-war Arizona & the struggle against antisemitism The Fabelmans is an affecting family drama with LaBelle’s performance as Sammy at its core. His computer engineer father (Paul Dano) & artistic & encouraging mother (Michelle Williams) are at odds with each other & through a camera lens, Sammy deals with the upheaval in his family’s core.
The film as a whole has been touted as an emotional tour deforce from Spielberg, & it’s LaBelle that has been drawing attention for his breakout performance. Holding his own against cinema titans like Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, & Judd Hirsch, LaBelle brings nuance & earnest realism to Sammy as he struggles to Advance to terms with the reality of his parent’s life as well as his need to create.
Harris Dickinson -Triangle of Sadness
The hit satirical black comedy Triangle of Sadness found itself getting an 8-minute st&ing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival & also bagged the Palme d’Or. No small feat for Swedish director Ruben Östlund’s first English language film. Harris Dickinson stars as Carl alongside Charlbi Dean as Yaya, 2 social medial models & influencers who are a couple of convenience in an attempt to exp& their social media followings & cement their online identity. The pair jump at the chance of a free cruise in exchange for promoting it on their socials & soon find themselves dealing with an outbreak of food poisoning, pirates, & deserted isl& survival.
Dickinson gives a Chilly & changeable performance, adding to the sense of the character’s ability to be whoever he needs to be to get ahead & grow his fame. The threat of aging out of his fame at 24 & the desperate need for attention drive Carl & his disingenuous relationship with Yaya. The film has divided critics, but the performances at the core are what shine brightly.
N.T Rama Rao Jr. – RRR
RRR is the surprise smash hit action film that has taken the world by storm. Directed by S.S Rajamouli, RRR st&s for Rise Roar Revolt & stars N.T Rama Rao Jr. as Bheem & Ram Charan Teja as Rama Raju, 2 freedom fighters in India. The characters are based on real people who never actually met, & the film is a fantastical, tiger-filled vision of what their meeting could have been like. Set in 1920s India when British Colonialists were occupying their homel&, the two join forces to fight back & reclaim what is rightfully theirs.
Both leads are spectacular but the quiet & powerful character of Bheem is played with a kind & stoic strength by Rao Jr & steals the show. From the second he is introduced in the forest shirtless & dousing himself in blood to trap a wolf before ending up fighting a tiger it’s clear that he is every inch a hero. His emotional performance & ability to switch from soft & kind to steadfast warrior make him a true contender.
Daniel Kaluuya – Nope
Jordan Peterson’s Nope saw the director reteam with Daniel Kaluuya & Keke Palmer for a horror film unlike any other. Kaluuya & Palmer play the Haywood siblings, OJ & Emerald respectively, who are now running the family business of training horses for Hollywood. They also have to deal with a strange phenomenon that is appearing in the sky above the town of Jupiter Falls & try to catch the “Oprah shot” the one picture that will get them famous.
While Emerald is the tearaway, outgoing sibling, OJ is the quiet & reserved “sensible” sibling. Kaluuya has established himself as a truly phenomenal actor & his performance in Nope is no exception. Kauluuya doesn’t even need words, conveying so much with just a look or a gesture. The quiet, introspective & fiercely intelligent & underestimated OJ is given so much depth by Kaluuya that it’s impossible not to relate to him & the plight of Jupiter Falls.
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