Updated On: November 06, 2023 by   Esraa Mahmoud   Esraa Mahmoud  

It is that time of the year again, people! The Oscars 2023 are upon us, and we are here to break down the nominees for the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Between the very expected ones and the real surprises, the Oscars 2023 nominations are —like always— a surprising treat that is hard to beat!

What is interesting about the Oscars 2023 nominees for the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role is that all five actors are nominated for the first time in this category. The Oscars 2023 ceremony is set to air on 12 March, and while all the nominees truly deserve it for their performances, let’s have an in-depth look at each nominee of the Oscars 2023 for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

Austin Butler — Elvis

Elvis is in the building, and he is coming to the Oscars 2023 for sure, thanks to the flawless performance of Austin Butler. Austin has been receiving rave reviews for playing the role of Elvis Presley, and he absolutely deserves it! Austin’s performance took us on a wild journey bringing to life the legendary Elvis, his dazzling moves, mesmerising looks, beautiful singing, and everything in between! He brilliantly captured the heart-rending paradox of the great Elvis’s story, with its ups and downs.

Before being nominated for the Oscars 2023, Austin received numerous awards, including Best Actor at the Golden Globe Awards and the Drama Movie Star of 2022 at the People’s Choice Awards, among others. He also won Best Actor in a Leading Role at the 76th British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA).

The film Elvis is a musical biopic of the life of Elvis Presley from his younger years as a kid until he became the music icon we all know. The film also sheds light on the troubling relationship between Elvis and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker.

Along with Austin Butler, the film stars Tom Hanks and Olivia DeJonge. It is directed by Baz Luhrmann, who co-wrote it with Sam Bromell, Craig Pearce, and Jeremy Doner. The film has been a critical success, gaining widespread acclaim, and it has also been a commercial success, becoming the 2nd highest-grossing music biopic of all time following the 2018’s hit Bohemian Rhapsody.

Just like Austin, the film has grossed many awards, like the Best Film award at the AACTA Awards, besides being nominated for three awards at the Golden Globes and eight at the Oscars 2023, including Best Picture.

Colin Farrell — The Banshees of Inisherin

We all have seen the superb talent of Colin Farrell before, but not like this, for sure! Farrell has shown himself at his best this year, and his performance in The Banshees of Inisherin was phenomenal! Farrell’s poignant portrayal of a guy unable to accept all the changes going on in his life is a reminder that he is one of the great actors who has never been nominated, and it is about time he gets his due.

Farrell’s performance has created Oscars buzz since the film’s premiere at the 79th Venice International Film Festival, where he won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor along with another award for the film’s director, Martin McDonagh, who went home with the Golden Osella for Best Screenplay award.

Before being nominated for the Best Actor in a Leading Role category at the Oscars 2023, Farrell had already won numerous awards, including the Best Actor award at the Golden Globes. The film also won two other Best Motion Picture and Best Screenplay awards at the Golden Globes out of eight nominations. Farrell was also nominated for the Best Actor award at the 76th British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA). These are only some of the many awards and nominations the film and Farrell received.

The critically-acclaimed black comedy was shot in Ireland, and it tells the story of two friends and how they both deal with the sudden end of their friendship. It could be said the film is a raw presentation of male loneliness through how the two friends handle the consequences of the end of their friendship.

The soulful friendship story of Banshees of Inisherin is directed by Martin McDonagh, who also wrote and co-produced it. The film stars Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, and Barry Keoghan.

Brendan Fraser — The Whale

Everybody’s childhood favourite actor Brendan Fraser is back with the most epic Remontada (comeback) at the Oscars 2023, starring in a tragic drama about the relationship between a teenage daughter and an ageing father who abandoned his family when he was young.

Steering clear from the kind of roles we all loved him in when we were younger, Fraser gracefully presents a portrayal of empathy that leaves the audience in tears. Fraser’s performance has been praised by audiences and critics alike. He has already won several awards for his role, to name a few: the Best Actor award at the 28th Critics’ Choice Awards and the Best Actor award at the AARP Movies for Grownups Awards, not to mention receiving the Best Actor award nomination at the 80th Golden Globe Awards, and the 76th British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA).

The film focuses on a series of troubling matters, including parental resentment of children and Obesophobia (social stigma of obesity) through the story of an English teacher who is morbidly obese as he tries to revive his relationship with his estranged daughter.

The film has been the recipient of many praises for its story and Fraser’s performance. However, the film also received some criticism for the usage of the prosthetic suit that Fraser wore and the not-so-great representation of people with obesity.

The Whale is directed by Darren Aronofsky and written by Samuel D. Hunter, based on his play of the same name from 2012. The stars of the film include Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, Ty Simpkins, Hong Chau, and Samantha Morton.

Paul Mescal — Aftersun

Paul Mescal is the youngest nominee among the Oscars 2023 nominees for the Best Actor in a Leading Role award. His performance in the indie drama Aftersun has gained critical and commercial acclaim, earning him an Academy Awards nomination.

Paul is no stranger to the awards scene, as he has previously scored a BAFTA TV award for his role in the hit miniseries Normal People—that’s right! That’s where you know him from!

The most potent and sensual drama about a young daughter’s holiday at her father’s house on the seaside, Aftersun, gave the world an outstanding new actor. Besides gaining an Oscars 2023 nomination for his performance in Aftersun, Paul was also nominated for the BAFTA Film Award.

The film follows the memory lane of a girl who reflects on a holiday she spent with her father when she was young, trying to find a way to reconnect with the man he has become now. The coming-of-age drama Aftersun is directed by Charlotte Wells, who also wrote the film’s screenplay. It stars Paul Mescal, Rowlson-Hall, and Frankie CorioCelia.

Just like its star, Paul, the film has received many nominations, including three nominations at the BAFTA. Charlotte Wells also won the Best First Film award at the Austin Film Critics Association, among many others.

Bill Nighy — Living

Yes, he finally got it! At the age of 73, Bill Nighy finally received his first nomination after decades of celebrated film and theatre work. His moving performance in Oliver Hermanus’ Living has given Bill Nighy a change of pace from his well-known thrilling roles like that of Love Actually—the festive season ritual of many of us!

There is no debate over the magnificent talent or hypnotising charm of Bill Nighy; the man has proven it over and over throughout his career. But in Living, Bill takes it to the next level, presenting what some critics consider his “career-best” performance!

Making headlines with his remarkable performance since the film’s premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, Bill Nighy has already won awards for his role, like the Best Lead Performance award at the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

Living follows the story of a man living in London in the 1950s, trying to experience life to the fullest after receiving the bad news of having a terminal illness. The film is based on the Japanese film Ikiru, which was released in 1952 and directed by Akira Kurosawa. The Japanese film, in turn, was based on Leo Tolstoy’s 1886 masterpiece novella, The Death of Ivan Ilyich.

The film is written by Kazuo Ishiguro and skillfully directed by Oliver Hermanus. Living stars Bill Nighy, Aimee Lou Wood, and Alex Sharp. Besides Bill’s Oscars 2023 nomination, the film has also been nominated for the Best Adapted Screenplay category at the Oscars 2023. 

Regardless of the winner, the amazing work of the five actors has truly earned them their place among the Oscars 2023’s nominees. As we wait for the magical night of the Oscars 2023, we can always rely on the past Oscar-winning gems to kill time!

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