Who Would Win an Oscar Nominated Actor Fight?

Well, we might as well ask now.

Will Leitch
4 min readMar 29, 2022


Like many of the rest of you, I’m still a little stunned by what happened Sunday night at the Oscars. I have no hot takes on this incident; I’m pretty certain the world has exhausted them all. But I do feel like I sort of have to ask now: Who would win in an Oscar fight?

Let’s do some brackets. If this seems silly to you, hey, I’m not the one who slapped a guy in front of billions of people right before I accepted a Best Actor Oscar.


Cumberbatch-Garfield is an all-timer: Whoever deigns to throw a punch probably wins there. I’ll give it to Cumberbatch: Seems more ambitious. I’m not sold on Smith’s fighting technique, but I do think he can take Benedict freaking Cumberbatch. Don’t sleep on Bardem here: He used to be a rugby player. Denzel was only a basketball player — he played for P.J. Carlesimo, the guy Latrell Sprewell choked — but I dunno: I just think Denzel’s got enough ferocity and tricks up his sleeve to win this one. And after last night, I think it’s clear: He’d whup Will Smith’s ass. Winner: Denzel Washington.


Dunst is tough, but Buckley has an inch and a half size advantage and is Irish; she wins. As fierce as Dench is, she’s only five-foot-one, and also she is 87 years old. DeBose is a wonderful story, but all told, I’ll take Buckley in the semis. But Ellis was raised on a farm in Mississippi. She has ways to destroy you that you never ever knew existed. Winner: Aunjanue Ellis


I just hope poor reedy Smit-McPhee survives that first-round matchup. I actually like Simmons over Kotsur too, if just because he used to play football. The real final is that…



Will Leitch

I write about these tumultuous times 2x a week. Author of five books, including “How Lucky.” NYMag/MLB.. Founder, Deadspin. https://williamfleitch.substack.com