Though all of us have our differences of opinion with Oscar, but sometimes the stars align and we get an Oscar lineup we adore. I’m quite fond of Oscar’s Best Actor list this year (have you voted today?) to the extent that my own ballot is 80% similar. That happens about once a decade (the last time was 2016). The one difference is my inclusion of Franz Rogowski, one of Europe’s greatest actors, for the Austrian prison drama Great Freedom. It was an Oscar finalist last Oscar season in Best International Feature but wasn’t nominated and then got a small US theatrical release in 2022. So while the film is now “old” (haha) it’s been impossible to shake for over a year now. Thanks in large part to Rogowski’s work. He outdoes himself with this portrait of a man so implacably committed to his own desires that you begin to wonder where the prison walls truly are. In short: he sells that alarming challenge of an ending.
Click on over to the awards to see the reasoning behind the rest of the ballot and the list of finalists and semi-finalists which includes a lot of performance that Oscar would not have deigned to look twice at. It was a strong year for rising actors but Oscar generally likes their contenders already famous and well into their leading man years.
As a bonus, the “Best Actor in a Limited Role or Cameo” is also posted for your pleasure or scorn depending on your feelings for these performances. This time there’s an actual Oscar nominee present since Judd Hirsch took a spot in Supporting Actor with the Academy. Love that for him as he packs such a punch in his two scenes. The other honorees are Tyler Merritt, David Lynch, Louis-do de Lencquesaing, and Julian Glover.