Morgan Freeman – ‘Invictus’
Firstly, you have to take the lead actor in any Clint Eastwood film seriously as a major Oscar contender. Secondly that actor is Morgan Freeman who many people would like to see win a prize for lead. Thirdly Freeman is playing Nelson Mandela who is one of the most respected and well liked icons in the world. He is in.
George Clooney – ‘Up in the Air’
When is comes to charm, Clooney has it in spades. He is also well respected and liked and has two high profile films out this year. This is the most likely to see him get a nomination playing a business man falling in love. Every female voter is going to be in fantasy land with this one.
Matt Damon – ‘The Informant’
Damon has been under the radar for a while now, and is for some reason snubbed a lot, even though he is a very solid actor. Here he gains weight and seems to have a lot of fun playing a bumbling idiot in a true story (the Academy LOVES true stories). Will this been seen as too light weight for Oscar? Could Damon be Oscar vanilla?
Colin Firth – ‘A Single Man’
The man has worked with a lot of people. He as been around for ages and been very well respected, but just never been able to cross over and get that elusive Oscar nomination.
This could all change now with a career best performance in ‘A Single Man’ that has got critics very excited and Firth a lead actor prize at the Venice Film Festival. Not shabby at all
Robert Duvall – ‘Get Low’
When people start saying that an legendary actor gives a wonderful performance in a little film not many people have heard of, you may want to take note. If that actor is Robert Duvall, then you definitely have to.
The man is loved and is already getting great reviews for his small role in ‘The Road’. A serious contender.
Daniel Day-Lewis – ‘Nine”
This really is the big question mark. On one hand this is one of the best actors ever. He is consistent, delivering awards worthy performances most of the time. I do not think the question of if he can sing is relevant as the man will make sure he will deliver. The big question is how is the film and how meaty is his role?
Jeremy Renner – ‘The Hurt Locker’
Although the performance has already been nominated for last years Independent Spirit Awards, it will be considered for this years Oscars. The praise for the performance in unanimous, he is the real deal. All he needs is a mega campaign to keep him floating about in voters minds.
Clive Owen – ‘The Boys are Back’
This is shaky. The film has not been shown, so nothing really is known. It is a heart warming story of a single father raising his two sons after the death of his wife. Will be nice to see Owen in a sensitive role, and he could pull it off all the way to an Oscar nomination. Once the film is seen we will know more.
Johnny Depp – ‘Public Enemies’
They really like him it seems. He has three nominations under his belt, but how much do they like him? The reviews for the film were good, but not great, just as they were for his performance. Will the really let him win for this? Will they really nominate him again to go home empty handed again?
Michael Douglas – ‘Solitary Man’
He hails from an acting dynasty, but that second Oscar nomination has been very elusive indeed.
Another player coming out of Toronto with critics say it is a career best performance.
Not everyone agrees however, and that could hurt him. There are a lot of other contenders wanting one of the five spots.
Hugh Dancy – ‘Adam’
One of those small films that is all about the performance. There is usually one of these lurking about in the Best Actor category (Jenkins, Gosling, Howard) and they often make it in when push comes to shove. He has been a solid actor getting noticed in all that he does. Is it too soon though?
Sam Rockwell – ‘Moon
Had a hard task in the film, he is basically the only person in the film, and he carries it with great skill and realism. The reviews were very good, especially for the performance. His only problem is that not a lot of people saw the film, and how often do sci-fi performances get nominations, especially in small sci-fi movies?
Sharlto Copley – ‘District 9’
He is deserving. You are with him through the entire film and manages his character shifts like a pro. By the end of the film he is not the same person and he never puts a foot out of place. It is his film debut and he improvised a lot of the dialogue himself.
Again this is sci-fi and summer. It is actresses who get nominated on their film debut, not actors. A long shot.