Johnny Depp, Leo DiCaprio – Which acting contenders this year are most due for their first win?

Black Mass Johnny Depp

Of the many storylines that begin during awards season, few are usually as compelling as the ones centered around who’s most due for an Academy Award. I think that it’s usually pretty satisfying to see a former bridesmaid finally become a bride, as it were. As such, below I’ve made up a list of ten actors or actresses who’ve previously been nominated for Oscars but have yet to win one who are in contention this year. I’ve more or less ranked them by how due they are, and just to be fair, I’ve excluded anyone who has already won a prize elsewhere (sorry Matt Damon, for example), or any of the myriad contenders who are seeking their first ever nomination by the Academy. Take a look below and I hope you enjoy!

Here now are the ten actors and actresses most due for their first Oscar win:

10. Bradley Cooper – With three acting nominations already under his belt, Cooper has now officially gotten the “due” label. A previous Best Actor nominee for American Sniper and Silver Linings Playbook, as well as a Best Supporting Actor nominee for American Hustle, he has two opportunities for a win this year. He’ll be in the Actor hunt with Burnt and the Supporting Actor hunt with Joy. It may not happen this year for Cooper, but it will eventually, you can count on that.

Carey Mulligan Suffragette
9. Carey Mulligan – I’m sure it surprises a lot of people that Mulligan only has one nomination, which was in Best Actress for An Education. She just missed in Supporting Actress when her strong work in both Drive and Shame essentially canceled each other out. This year she’ll hope that her performances in Far From the Maddening Crowd and Suffragette don’t do the same to her. Regardless, despite the solo citation previously, she’s due to take home the gold one day.

8. Will Smith – Here’s a case of someone who can not only remind the Academy of his existence, but cement his status as one of the all time great A-listers with a win. Previously nominated in Best Actor for Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness, that elusive victory has escaped him so far. This year he has Concussion, which is a pretty baity premise. Taking the Actor prize would certainly put him up there as one of our best movie stars ever, but either way…he’s due.

7. Jessica Chastain – Few actresses have burst on the scene and become due for a win as quickly as Chastain has. Over the past few years, she’s always seemed to have multiple projects in contention for awards, with that so far translating to only two nominations. One was in Best Actress for Zero Dark Thirty and the other was in Best Supporting Actress for The Help. She was snubbed last year, but being due for a win gives her a shot at a nod at least this year in Supporting Actress for The Martian. We’ll see if that nom happens, but a win is certainly in the cards for her soon.

6. Laura Linney – People are often surprised to find out that Linney has yet to take home an Academy Award. She’s been nominated three times before, in Best Actress for The Savages and for You Can Count on Me, as well as in Best Supporting Actress for Kinsey, but she’s never won. She’s one of our more overdue veteran actresses, so her candidacy this year for either Genius or Mr. Holmes in Supporting Actress is very much worth keeping an eye on.

5. Mark Ruffalo – One of the most likable people in Hollywood, it’s a shame that Ruffalo only has two nominations to his name and as such, he’s due. He’s been up for Best Supporting Actor twice, once for Foxcatcher and once for The Kids Are All Right. This year, he has another chance in Supporting Actor for Spotlight as well as a long shot Actor candidacy for Infinitely Polar Bear. It might not happen for Ruffalo this year, but at some point in the future he’s going to cake walk to an Oscar win.

the hateful eight bruce dern
4. Bruce Dern – An acting legend, very few are more overdue to be standing on the Oscar stage than Dern. A two time nominee, which is a crime, he’s having a bit of a career resurgence right now and the timing is perfect for a win. He’s previously been up for Best Actor for Nebraska and Best Supporting Actor for Coming Home, both of which would have been deserving wins. This year, he has a Supporting Actor case to make with The Hateful Eight. Right now, I actually have him winning. Stay tuned to see if it winds up happening for him…

3. Joan Allen – Multiple times, Allen has come close to tasting victory, but it has eluded her so far. A Best Actress nominee for The Contender as well as a Best Supporting Actress nominee for The Crucible and Nixon, she’s someone you fully expect to see win at some point in her career. She’ll be in play for Supporting Actress again this year with Room, so she’s got a chance. She’s very much due for a win, so we shall see if this can be the one for her or not.

Black Mass shooting Johnny Depp
2. Johnny Depp – For a while, it seemed inevitable that Depp was on pace to win an Oscar. Best Actor nominations for Finding Neverland, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street had set him up for victory, but then his interest in awards bait seemed to tail off. He’s back in the hunt this year with Black Mass, which has him as a top candidate in Actor right now. It’ll be fascinating to see if he can make it happen, since he’s certainly due.

The Revenant Leo DiCaprio

1. Leonardo DiCaprio – By and large, when you think of who is next in line for Academy Award glory, you think of DiCaprio. Three Best Actor nominations, for The Aviator, Blood Diamond, and The Wolf of Wall Street, as well as a Best Supporting Actor nomination for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape prove that much. For many, he’s the odds on favorite in Actor this year for The Revenant, and I’m not sure I can argue with that. We’ll know later this year if it’s likely to happen, but he’s pretty much the most overdue actor in Hollywood…

Honorable Mentions: Helena Bonham Carter, Glenn Close, Michael Fassbender, Ralph Fiennes, Diane Lane, and Ellen Page

Stay tuned to see if anyone can make it happen this year!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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