oscars 2012: those men and their acting…

BEST LEAD ACTOR: First thing’s first – let’s talk about the guys waiting in the wings for the leading actor category.  Tommy Lee Jones may ride some goodwill for his co-star in Hope Springs, and Colin Farrell seems like the type of actor who’ll eventually be nominated – perhaps for the so-far-well-received Seven Psychopaths. And why is it that no one seems to be talking about two-time Oscar winner Sean Penn starring in the finally released This Must Be the Place? Maybe his lack of buzz is a bad sign. Some lesser-known, stateside at least, actors might make some waves – Jean-Louis Trigninant has a plum role in Amour, and reportedly Tom Holland turns in a tour de force in the ever-rising The Impossible. His doomed romance efforts last year with Mia Wasikowska fell flat, but perhaps Gus van Sant’s last-minute entry Promised Land could get Matt Damon another nod. Finally, the weekend is proving relatively positive for Looper, though can anyone see leading action star of the flick Joseph Gordon-Levitt scoring a nod here? For me, Hugh Jackman is just outside the top contenders for Les Miserables (I just don’t buy the buzzy chances), leaving 10 men vying for the five spots.
Surefire Nominees: John Hawkes (The Sessions) and Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
Nearly There: Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) and Denzel Washington (Flight)
Today’s No. 5: It’s tough to say – there are a few likely candidates, but I’m going for Anthony Hopkins (Hitchcock) today
Potential Goodwill Coattail Riders: Ben Affleck (Argo) and Bradley Cooper (Silver-Linings Playbook)
Spoilers: Richard Gere (Arbitrage), Brad Pitt (Killing Them Softly) and Bill Murray (Hyde Park on Hudson)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: A lot will depend on the penchant for category misplacement here, as my frontrunner is pictured to the right (and having now seen the film he’s clearly a co-lead… c’est la vie). Waiting in the wings? Dwight Henry has made an impression in Beasts of the Southern Wild, though perhaps not quite as much as his young co-star. Depends on how the film does in other categories, I suspect. Matthew McConaughey came off well with critics thanks to his mentoring role in Magic Mike, and Nate Parker has been getting best in show reviews for the surging Arbitrage. Garret Hedlund is making waves for On the Road, though I suspect he’s too young to stick the landing here, and Russell Crowe could connect for Les Miserables, though his rock style may not jive with the overall feel of the movie. Lincoln‘s Tommy Lee Jones and Joseph Gordon-Levitt may not have the big parts they need to make the final cut, and though the chatter is minimal on the final two mentions here, John Krasinski could muster his big-screen breakthrough in Promised Land, and Ray Liotta is no stranger to awards love, particularly for his usual fare as in Killing Them Softly.
Surefire Nominees: Phillip Seymour Hoffman (The Master) – though it’s still unclear where he’ll be campaigned – and Alan Arkin (Argo)
Nearly There: Robert de Niro (Silver-Linings Playbook) – doesn’t it seem like they’re itching to bring him back into the fold? And when better than with a critically adored ensemble piece? – and David Strathairn (Lincoln)
Today’s No. 5: I’m starting to think that enough love for The Sessions could land William H. Macy here. I’m going out on a limb – thoughts?
Tight Spoilers: Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained) – if he makes it in, he could very easily get that long-gestating win, but I’m thinking the nomination is most of the battle – and Ewan McGregor (The Impossible) – something’s telling me he’s the type that may never see a nomination
Rounding Out the Top 10: Christopher Walken and Woody Harrelson (Seven Psychopaths) and Bryan Cranston (Argo)

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