I can’t recall a group of five performances this strong in which the outcome was so obvious. It’s a shame that no one is really talking about the triumphs of the other non-hyphenated actors in this category because in the prediction business, all we care about is who has a shot.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
- (15%) Bradley Cooper – “Silver Linings Playbook”
- (50%) Daniel Day-Lewis – “Lincoln”
- (20%) Hugh Jackman – “Les Misérables”
- (10%) Joaquin Phoenix – “The Master”
- (5%) Denzel Washington – ”Flight”
Prediction: Daniel Day-Lewis – “Lincoln”
You might be wondering how I only give DDL 50 percent of the vote, but these other performances were likely to be favorites of different voters who would like to see someone who hasn’t won an Oscar — or two — get recognized for some fine work. Still, a majority will pick Daniel Day-Lewis for his absolutely convincing, magnetic and natural performance as Lincoln — a big difference from the insanity of his Oscar-winning performance for “There Will Be Blood.” This role is testament to just how good of an actor he is.
After winning the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical, Hugh Jackman is my runner-up in this category. “Les Mis” was an acting showcase and Jackman excelled at giving the necessary intimate performance. His performance of “Who Am I?” is that Oscar-worthy moment.
The actor with the most Oscar-worthy moments was definitely Joaquin Phoenix. “The Master” deserved its three acting nominations but its lack of popularity in such a dense, crowded field this year means not enough people will have seen it to give it any accolades, none more deserving than Phoenix for playing the troubled Freddie Quell.
Bradley Cooper was quite impressive in “Silver Linings Playbook” and that film’s rising stock assures he will get a good chunk of votes too. Playing someone with a bipolar disorder can just as easily seem fake as it can seem like surefire Oscar bait. Similarly, Denzel Washington played an alcoholic, and the Oscar winner has always been a staple in the Best Actor category in all awards bodies this year for his performance in “Flight.” I still haven’t seen it, but he’s definitely on the outside looking in.