|"Would it help?"|
The easiest acting categories to call this year are the men's. In spite of what I thought about six weeks ago, Sylvester Stallone in Creed would appear to have this sewn up. I wasn't even sure he would get nominated, given that he didn't get a Screen Actors Guild nomination and that, despite the nostalgia for Rocky, he went on with that character way too long and was in a lot of schlock throughout the forty years since he first played the character. Also, from what I've read, he's not exactly a beloved figure in Hollywood.
But it turns out nostalgia will take the day, if only because I can't really make a great case for any of the other nominees. If Stallone were to be disqualified for some reason I suppose the winner would be Mark Rylance, who plays Russian spy Rudolf Abel in Bridge of Spies. Rylance steals the movie, with his exquisite underplaying, and is a well-respected, three-time Tony-winning actor.
As for the rest, I can't make a case. This is Mark Ruffalo's third nomination, and of all the actors in Spotlight he has the big scene. He also does an accent. But the film just doesn't seem to be building a lot of momentum. Frankly, I thought Michael Keaton deserved it more than Ruffalo.
Christian Bale is the only actor to get a nom from The Big Short, as the highly idiosyncratic hedge-fund manager who sees the housing bubble bursting ahead of anyone. Bale has won before, or I'd give him more chance, as the character has a lot of quirks that garner attention.
As for Tom Hardy, as the villain in The Revenant, this is his first nomination, and I expect he'll get a lot more. He was something of a surprise nominee, and though I found his survival-at-all-costs amorality fascinating, I don't see him winning.
Will Win: Sylvester Stallone
Could Win: Mark Rylance
Should Win: Mark Rylance
Should Have Been Nominated: Benicio Del Toro, Sicario