Cate Blanchett (“TÁR”)
Cate Blanchett plays the rare successful female maestro to take up a baton and is at her best in “TÁR,” with writer/director Todd Field hanging on her face in nearly every scene. But the ugliness builds up as Lydia Tár desperately tries to regain the sense of control she craves. It’s impossible to look away from her. Blanchett has previously claimed two Oscars, one for her supporting role as Katherine Hepburn opposite Leonardo DiCaprio’s Howard Hughes in 2004’s “The Aviator.” She also won Best Actress for 2013’s “Blue Jasmine.”
SPOILERS: Michelle Yeoh has made history as the first Asian female star to compete for the Academy Award for Best Lead Actress and has competed with Blanchett the entire awards season. This could be one of the night’s closest calls. Michelle Williams is way overdue for an Oscar win after being nominated for Best Supporting Actress for 2006’s “Brokeback Mountain,” Best Actress for 2011’s “Blue Valentine,” Best Actress for 2012’s “My Week With Marilyn” and Best Supporting Actress for 2017’s “Manchester by the Sea.”
Elvis Butler (“Elvis”)
Austin Butler doesn’t only sound and sing like the King of Rock and Roll in “Elvis,” he summons the charisma of the late great Presley. Give Butler props for doing justice to his songs and delivering a top-notch performance.
SPOILERS: Colin Farrell has always been underestimated, but he’s received the best reviews of his career for “The Banshees of Inisherin.” But Brendan Fraser’s performance in “The Whale” is incredibly emotional as a reclusive English teacher, one who gorges to find relief from his severe obesity and lack of mobility, all while trying to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter for one last chance at redemption.