Johnny Depp wins Best Actor next year at the 2011 Oscars for his role in Bruce Robinson's The Rum Diary.
Now obviously I'm lining myself up for a probable mighty tumble over the coming months when 2010 really kicks into gear as... A) I haven't seen the movie or read the script and B) there's hundreds of movies featuring dozens of Academy recognised actors to be released but think about it. Possibly Depp's bravest ever screen performances came in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in '98 when he took on the enormous task of portraying a drug addled Hunter S. Thompson, and it this role that truly defined him with critics as an experimental actor who was willing to challenge himself to the limits of his craft. Hunter S. Thompson, like Ed Wood, like Edward Scissorhands - is someone that speaks strongly to Depp and he relates to him in a spiritual way, not unlike Sean Penn did with his 2009 Best Actor winning Harvey Milk performance say or Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela. He'll be working with Bruce Robinson, a director who Depp has long admired (Withnail & I is often cited as one of his favourite movies) and who will no doubt get the best out of Depp here because he's a terrific actor's director, much in the same way a Roman Polanski or David Cronenberg is. The Rum Diary, I am led to believe, is kind of a love triangle between washed-up journalist Paul Kemp (Depp, who is playing Thompson's alter-ego at the age of 22, somehow), his beautiful and free spirited girlfriend Chenault (Amber Heard) and Aaron Eckhart's Sanderson; a wealthy landowner who believes everything, including Chenault, has a price. The movie is aiming for a September release, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a bow at Cannes. The Academy wasn't quite ready for Depp in the late '90's but they have since nominated him three times and if it wasn't for the a particularly strong competition this year, he might have been in a with a shot for Public Enemies. The Academy's love for Johnny has been building, and if they were willing to nominate him in a mainstream Disney movie and a musical/comedy/horror like Sweeney Todd - then they'll fall head over heels with a serious drama like The Rum Diary. Don't be fooled into thinking Tim Burton has ruined Johnny Depp's career because he is still capable, and if we only get to see it once in every other movie (with him not giving up the Jack Sparrow gig either), then so be it. This kind of Depp is worth waiting for.