Here are my updated predictions for Best Actor for the month of April. Let's see how the race may begin to take shape.
Joel Edgerton, Loving: The film is competing in Cannes, has a proper distributor as well as touchy subject matter, is based on a true story, and an awards-friendly release date in November. When he made the rounds for Black Mass, that might've been the tip of the iceberg.
Andrew Garfield, Silence: He was a likely 6th for Best Supporting Actor for The Social Network and he's starring in a prestige picture by Scorsese. So that'd be one way to make up for his exclusion.
Michael Keaton, The Founder: His Birdman loss still stings and he was in the last two Best Picture winners. So he is on something of a hot streak, proving that his Birdman run wasn't just a one-off.
Nate Parker, The Birth Of A Nation: Judging by his big speech in the trailer, he may already have his Oscar clip prepped and ready to go.
Denzel Washington, Fences: He's a two-time Oscar winner directing and starring in the Broadway adaptation. Also, much like co-star Viola Davis, he won a Tony for the role he's playing the film. So if Davis is the Best Actress winner on paper, it only makes sense to nominate her co-star.
Casey Affleck, Manchester By The Sea: The film was a critical darling at Sundance. But will it be more than just a critical darling?
Michael Fassbender, The Light Between Oceans: Looks like a strong acting showcase. But will it be more than just an acting showcase?
Colin Firth, Deep Water: Welcome back nomination, perhaps?
Ryan Gosling, La La Land: He is a previous nominee in a musical about Hollywood.
David Oyelowo, A United Kingdom: Will the film, which doesn't have a U.S. distributor and deals with an interracial couple, be overshadowed by Loving?
Dev Patel, Lion: It looks like the film will be Harvey's top contender given its November release date. So it would make sense to nominate its lead star who missed out for the Oscar juggernaut Slumdog Millionaire.
Chris Pratt, Passengers: If the movie lights box office fire and is positively received, it could be more than just an inevitable tech play.
Will Smith, Collateral Beauty: Didn't make it for Concussion but who's to say he won't try again.