Robert Pattinson gave his best performance to date this year in Good Time. He’s gotten a Gotham Award nomination for it, and an Independent Spirit Award nod, too. People have noticed him doing Good Work this year (he also gave a solid performance in James Grey’s Lost City of Z). And RPattz, noticing that people are noticing him, is doing the award season shuffle. He was the GQ Men of the Year event, which isn’t really about awards, except how every appearance this time of year is about awards. It’s about getting your name out, your name and your project, and allowing people to write your name, your project, and your nominations and broadcast it far and wide: Gotham/Spirit Award nominee Robert Pattinson from Good Time, pictured at the GQ Men of the Year event.

But what are his odds, really? Not great. Best Actor is medium-competitive this year, in that the front runners are clear: Gary Oldman and Daniel Day-Lewis. Early voting has been all over the place, spreading the love around in a year without a masterpiece but a lot of really good movies and MANY strong performances. But when it comes to the Academy, which despite aggressive membership initiatives remains mostly old, white, and male, Oldman and DDL are the top locks. Timothee Chalamet is a good bet, too, for Call Me By Your Name, the token youngster nominee. (The Academy loves nominating and awarding ingénues but is much stingier with rewarding young men, especially for romantic performances. Chalamet should get a nod for the final shot of CMBYN alone, but he won’t win.) Another strong contender is Tom Hanks, for The Post. 

The fifth spot is where the competition is, and it’s a cluster of Jake Gyllenhaal, James Franco, Daniel Kaluuya—surging as Get Out is racking up year-end honors—Denzel Washington, and Hugh Jackman. Pattinson has to bust through that group, and he has to do it with a movie that relatively no one has seen. Good Time was a limited release in late summer, it does not have a sweet box office story, and the Academy screening was sparsely attended. There’s no real momentum for the movie itself, which in turn dings Pattinson’s chances. 

But he’s out here hustling anyway, which I appreciate. Because even if it doesn’t happen this year, which it probably won’t, people do notice this. They notice him at these events, they notice him gamely hanging around an Academy Q&A, they notice him getting the fringier nominations. This is the stuff that paves the way for bigger nominations down the road. Pattinson might face the same hurdle Leonardo DiCaprio did, overcoming the teen idol stigma, so it might take some time for him to get there. But he will get there, because Pattinson has something DiCaprio doesn’t: He’s a better f*cking actor.