Will This Finally be Michael Keaton’s Year at the Oscars?

First screenings of ‘The Founder’, a supposed troubled film which has been bounced all over the place looking for the right release date, have made clear Michael Keaton is a likely contender for the Academy Award. As Ray Croc, who found overnight success making McDonalds the massive corporation it became, Keaton knocked out critics at press screenings and could be headed for another run at the Oscar.

The Weinstein Company, always an Oscar player, has moved the film more than once this year, at one point showing great confidence in the film as an Oscar player, but then not placing it in any of the major festivals. Now it will be released before Christmas, and it could make an impact in the upcoming critics and guild awards, the Golden Globes and then the Oscars.

Keaton, once best known as Batman (1989) for Tim Burton, made a startling comeback with a brilliant Oscar worthy performance in Birdman (2014) only to lose the Oscar he deserved to Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything (2014). Last year, he was part of the ensemble of Spotlight (2015), and looked to be a strong candidate for supporting actor. Then he stunned everyone winning the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor, and seemed to be headed towards another Oscar nomination.

It did not come, Keaton was victim of a terrible snub. The heart and soul of Spotlight (2015) he should have been a supporting actor nominee at the very least.

There is little doubt to me he should have won for Birdman (2014), a sensational performance from an actor believed to be career dead. He was nothing less than electrifying in the movie, going toe to toe with method genius Edward Norton.

‘The Founder’ is said to be a good movie, nothing more, elevated by his performance in to something more, something greater. Keaton dominates the film, brings an alarming intensity to his character, lifting the picture higher than it deserves to be.

In a year when they are saying the Best Actor race is lean, it certainly seems to be filling up at the last-minute. Casey Affleck (Manchester By the Sea) was a given for most of the year, Denzel Washington (Fences) is a lock, Warren Beatty (Rules Dont Apply) has muscled his way in, Tom Hanks (Sully) looks strong, leaving a fifth spot for Keaton, that is if Ryan Gosling does not get in for ‘La La Land’, or Joel Edgerton for Loving. Should Robert De Niro strike a chord for the sentimental vote in The Comedian, the Best Actor race could be loaded with potential career achievement Oscars, which I loathe entirely. If Keaton was going to win it should have been for Birdman (2014) and this year belongs to Casey Affleck.

Read More: Every Best Actor Oscar Winner Since 2000, Ranked