Best Actor Predictions 2015 OscarsWith the 2015 Oscars almost here, Moviefone will be releasing a set of staff predictions each day this week (in countdown fashion) for the four major categories. We kicked it off yesterday with Best Actress, and now turn our attention to a hotly-contested race: Best Actor.

We've already given you the beat on the 2015 Oscars race, so now let's break down our favorites to win the award. Here, we've listed the actors we expect to win, and then, more importantly, who we think should win.

Tim Hayne
Who Will Win: Eddie Redmayne. The actor's transformative performance as physics genius Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything" is, perhaps, the most talked about of the year, and it's already earned him a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award. The only person who could possibly upset the race at this point is Bradley Cooper, whose performance in "American Sniper" has been celebrated by audiences to the tune of more than $300M at the box office.

Who Should Win: Michael Keaton. If not for his performance in "Birdman," than for his career as a whole. Keaton is the dark horse in this race, for sure, but his dramatic (and comedic) turn as, basically, a version of himself in Alejandro González Iñárritu's dark comedy is fantastically nuanced and powerful. No disrespect to Redmayne, but it's pretty early in the 33-year-old's career; let's give the Oscar to someone who's filmography includes iconic turns in "Beetlejuice," "Batman," and, one my personal favorites, "Mr. Mom."‚Äč

Alana Altmann
Who Will Win: Eddie Redmayne, but by a narrow margin. A physically transformative portrayal of a real-life figure will most likely trump an actor playing an... actor. (Hello, "Birdman.") The visually stunning "Theory of Everything" is the kind of Oscar-friendly biopic that lands its leading men gold. See: Colin Firth in "The King's Speech," Jamie Foxx in "Ray," and Daniel Day-Lewis in "My Left Foot" and "Lincoln." The same logic could be used for Bradley Cooper and Benedict Cumberbatch's roles, but Redmayne's face looked all different and stuff.

Who Should Win: Michael "Birdman" Keaton. He flies high (JK -- I'll spare you those bird puns!) shines while bringing tormented washed up Hollywood actor Riggan Thomson to life in a way we couldn't imagine another actor doing. Whether you enjoyed the overwhelming, chaotic meta-ness of "Birdman" or not, it's hard to deny his riveting performance. Keaton musters his own special blend of magical manic restlessness while embodying vulnerability, bitterness, and the universal fear of failure. To not give him this award would be a total fowl. (Sorry, we had to.)

Jonny Black
Who Will Win: Michael Keaton. "Birdman" director Alejandro González Iñárritu said prior to the film's release that he wanted Keaton for the role because he could navigate drama and comedy, adding "a meta-dialogue to the film." Keaton was thrown the perfect pass and he delivers, beautifully handling the self-loathing and struggles of former superhero star Riggan Thomson. There's no denying Eddie Redmayne's momentum leading up to the Oscars after taking home a Golden Globe and a SAG award and, frankly, there's no denying his talent -- he's unbelievable in "The Theory of Everything." Redmayne could take the Oscar home and it would hardly be a steal, but Keaton's long history with the Academy will give him the win by a nose.

Who Should Win: Michael Keaton. Ehhh... Eddie Redmayne? Redmayne turns in a hell of a performance, one that is now getting the backlash label of "physical acting," but who are we kidding? The young Brit let Stephen Hawking's struggles, emotional and physical, seep into his being and he delivers a raw and moving performance. Ultimately, though, Michael Keaton just is Riggan Thomson. Is there anyone else you can even imagine in that role? It's impossible to take your eyes off him and he should take home the Oscar.

Who's your pick? Tell us in the comments below, and find out which star wins Best Actor when the Oscars air live Sunday, February 22 at 7 ET / 4 PT on ABC.

categories Movies, Oscars