The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) is currently undergoing huge changes. James Gunn And Peter Safran as the new rulers of DC Studios. This means that the DC Cinematic Universe is undergoing something of a reboot after many films of varying quality. However, outside of the DCEU, when filmmakers do DC adaptations right, they create masterpieces. Christopher NolanThe Dark Knight trilogy and Todd Phillips“Joker” is proof of this.
Regardless of the overall quality, all of these films feature top-notch actors. Some of them were already Oscar winners or nominees when they starred in their DC films (Joaquin Phoenix, Viola Davis), some received Oscar nominations or wins following their DC roles (George Clooney, Tom Hardy), and some are still hunting for their first Oscar bids (Cillian Murphy). Regardless, the list of DC movie alumni stretches far and wide—and some of them could be at this year’s Academy Awards. Here’s the breakdown.
Ben Affleck – “Air”
Ben Affleck, or Batfleck, was a good Bruce Wayne/Batman in inappropriate films that didn’t suit his talents. He starred as the Caped Crusader in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Justice League, Zack Snyder’s Justice League and The Flash. Ultimately, he didn’t succeed. However, he succeeded at the Oscars. It won Best Original Screenplay with Matt Damon in 1998 for Good Will Hunting, before winning best picture with Clooney and Grant Heslov in 2013 for Argo. Two bets – two wins. Affleck may return this year with his biopic Air, which he stars in, directs and produces. The film tells the story of how Nike signed the contract Michael Jordan make Air Jordan sneakers. We think an acting or directing nomination would be a bridge too far for him this year, but Air is very popular and it’s certainly an enjoyable film with a great true story at the center that could lead to a Best Picture nomination . which Affleck will presumably be in the running to produce.
George Clooney – “Boys in the Boat”
Clooney was a very different Batman in the only Batman movie he appeared in, Batman & Robin. The film received bad reviews almost from Clooney. He redeemed himself and won two Oscars. The first was for Best Supporting Actor in 2006 for Syriana, and the second was for Best Picture for Argo. Clooney was also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2012 for The Ides of March (with Heslov and Beau Willimon) and in 2006 for Good Night, and Good Luck, for which he was also nominated for Best Director. In addition, he has three applications for the title of best actor – for “Michael Clayton” (2008), “Up in the Air” (2010) and “The Descendants” (2012). This year, Clooney returns as director with The Boys in the Boat, which tells the true story of the University of Washington rowing team in the 1930s. Clooney and the film aren’t currently among our projected Best Picture and Best Director nominees, but it could become a bigger awards player down the line.
Margot Robbie – “Barbie”
From Batman to Barbie, Robbie rose to fame playing Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad, a role she reprized in Birds of Prey and Suicide Squad. Robbie plays the lead role of Barbie, who experiences an existential crisis, in the film Barbie, which she also produces. We’re currently expecting her to be nominated for Best Actress and Best Picture as a producer on Barbie. These nominations will add to her existing two: 2018 for Best Actress for I, Tonya and 2020 for Best Supporting Actress for Bombshell.
Tom Hardy — “Cyclist Racers”
Next up is Hardy, who played the villain Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, the third and final installment in Nolan’s trilogy. Hardy will star in this year’s Jeff NicholsBiker Riders, an American epic about the lives of several members of a Midwestern motorcycle club. Hardy will likely be in the running for best supporting actor, a category he is familiar with after landing a bid there in 2016 for The Revenant. To date, this is his only Oscar entry. However, he is not one of our current projected candidates in this category.
Joaquin Phoenix – “Napoleon”
While Hardy played Bane, Phoenix took on another iconic Batman villain, the Joker, in Phillips’ character study Joker, which follows a man named Arthur Fleck as he begins a downward spiral into madness. Phoenix won Best Actor for the film in 2020, after competing in the category in 2006 for Walk the Line and in 2013 for The Master. He was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 2001 for Gladiator. Phoenix reunites with ‘Gladiator’ director Ridley Scott Another historical epic this year is Napoleon on Apple TV+. Phoenix stars in this biopic about the infamous French emperor and is close to our predicted Best Actor nominees.
Robert DeNiro – “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Phoenix starred in “Joker” with the legendary Robert DeNiro, who played comedian and TV show host Murray Franklin, Arthur’s idol and obsession. This year De Niro will play another supporting role in Martin ScorseseKillers of the Flower Moon tells the true story of the murders of several members of the Osage tribe in the United States in the 1920s. We expect De Niro to be one of the top contenders for Best Supporting Actor this year. He is currently in second place in our odds table, second only to Robert Downey Jr. (“Oppenheimer”). De Niro is seeking his ninth Oscar nomination. He was nominated for Best Actor five times – in 1977 for Taxi Driver, 1979 for The Deer Hunter, 1981 for Raging Bull, 1991 for Awakenings and 1992 for Awakenings. Cape Fear.” He also received nominations for Best Supporting Actor in 1975 for The Godfather Part II and in 2013 for Silver Linings Playbook. He was also nominated for Best Picture for The Irishman. He won for “Raging Bull” and “The Godfather Part II.”
Viola Davis – “Air”
Davis is a four-time Oscar nominee, up for Best Supporting Actress in 2009 for Doubt and 2017 for Fences, and nominated for Best Actress in 2012 for The Help and 2021. for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”; she won in the Fences category. Davis returns this year with Air, in which she plays Michael Jordan’s mother. Deloris Jordan. Davis’ role is small and quiet, but we know these roles do well in the Best Supporting Actress category (Judi Dench won for “Shakespeare in Love.” Ruby Dee was nominated for an American Gangster Award). Additionally, the category is pretty barren this year. Davis’ name and presence could land her a fifth nomination. She’s not currently among our presumptive nominees, but don’t expect her name to drop anytime soon. Davis played an uncredited role as Amanda Waller, the woman in charge of the team, in Suicide Squad and The Suicide Squad, as well as in Black Adam.
Jeffrey Wright – “American Fantasy”
American Fantasy just won the People’s Choice Award at TIFF. The film tells the story of an author who becomes angry when his latest book does not do well while another writer’s work tops the bestseller lists. Wright played Lt. James Gordon in The Batman – Gordon is an ally of the Gotham Police Department. Robert PattisonThis is Batman. Wright has never been nominated for an Oscar before, but he’s moving up our Best Actor odds chart.
Cillian Murphy — “Oppenheimer”
Another actor vying for his first Oscar nomination is Murphy, who stars in Nolan’s Oppenheimer biopic, which tells the story of how… J. Robert Oppenheimer created the atomic bomb. Murphy is number one in our Best Actor odds chart. Murphy starred in Batman Begins as the villainous Scarecrow, and also reprized the role for a cameo in The Dark Knight Rises.
Christopher Nolan — “Oppenheimer”
Nolan’s name was mentioned frequently on this list. He may not be an actor, but he’s definitely a Washington graduate—perhaps the most important one on this list. He wrote and directed Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises – the best Batman films of all time – and also produced Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League” and “Zack Snyder’s Justice League”. Nolan somehow didn’t receive an Oscar nomination for any of these Batman films (his Best Director/Best Picture snubs for The Dark Knight are egregious), but he has five submissions to his name. In 2002, he was nominated for Best Original Screenplay for Memento (with his brother Jonathan Nolan) and in 2011 for “Beginning”. He was also nominated for Best Picture for Inception and Dunkirk in 2018. His only Best Director bid also came for Dunkirk. However, we think Nolan will score three more Oscar nominations for Oppenheimer this year – for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. In fact, we’re currently predicting that Nolan will actually win Best Picture and Best Director. This could be a big year for Nolan.
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