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2013 Awards Season: Oscar Highlight: Best Lead Actor

February 21st, 2013

With our annual Oscar Prediction contest underway, now is the best time to look at the nominees and try and figure out who the favorites are and which films should just feel honored to be nominated. This week we will look at the four acting categories, continuing with Best Lead Actor. This category is not truly competitive, but I'm supporting an underdog.

(Note: All previous awards listed are only for acting and not other categories. However, they are for supporting and lead acting.)

Best Lead Actor

Bradley Cooper for The Silver Linings Playbook
Tomatometer Score: 92% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: One Golden Globe, Two SAGs, and One Independent Spirit Award
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None (One Pending)
Actor's Previous Major Nominations: None
Actor's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: If Bradley Cooper wins an Oscar in his career, The Silver Linings Playbook will be seen as the film that proved he could really act and likely will be the film that lead to him being cast in his future Oscar-winning role. Personally I want him to win, but I know he's a long shot.

Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln
Tomatometer Score: 89% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: One Golden Globe and Two SAGs
Movie's Previous Major Wins: One Golden Globe and One SAG
Actor's Previous Major Nominations: Four Oscars, Six Golden Globe, and Three SAGs
Actor's Previous Major Wins: Two Oscars, One Golden Globe, and Two SAGs
Notes: Daniel Day-Lewis is the clear favorite here, as he's won both the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama and the SAG. It is rare that an actor will win both of those and not go on to win the Oscar. The only major strike against him is the number of previous wins. There's a small chance Oscar voters will think he's won enough and give it to someone else. Even with that, he's still an overwhelming favorite.

Hugh Jackman for Les Miserables
Tomatometer Score: 70% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: One Golden Globe and Two SAGs
Movie's Previous Major Wins: One Golden Globe
Actor's Previous Major Nominations: One Golden Globe
Actor's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: Despite winning the Golden Globe, I don't think Hugh Jackman has a shot at the Oscar. Hell, I'm 90% sure he only won the Golden Globe over Bradley Cooper because too many voters think musicals are more award worthy than romantic comedies, just because.

Joaquin Phoenix for The Master
Tomatometer Score: 86% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: One Golden Globe
Movie's Previous Major Wins:None
Actor's Previous Major Nominations: Two Oscars, Two Golden Globes, and Four SAGs
Actor's Previous Major Wins: One Golden Globe
Notes: The Master earned three Oscar nominations in acting categories. Unfortunately for Joaquin Phoenix, it is not a favorite to win any of them. He isn't the longest of the long shots here, but Daniel Day-Lewis is the overwhelming favorite.

Denzel Washington for Flight
Tomatometer Score: 78% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: One Golden Globe and One SAG
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Actor's Previous Major Nominations: Five Oscar, Six Golden Globe, and Three SAGs
Actor's Previous Major Wins: Two Oscars and Two Golden Globes
Notes: This was a bit of a surprise nomination. While Denzel Washington has a proven track record during Award Season, this film had almost no Awards Season buzz before its release and its reviews were only good, not great. (Les Miserables did earn even weaker reviews, but it was seen as a potential Awards Season favorite the minute it was announced, and that kind of buzz can carry a film, even if the reviews are not as impressive as everyone assumed they would be.) With two Oscars already, there's little hope the voters will give him a third for a film that was only good, but not amazing.

Conclusion: Lincoln might not be the big winner on Oscar night, but Daniel Day-Lewis should take home his third Best Lead Actor Oscar of his career, which would be the record. This fact is the only thing that makes me think one of the other nominees have a chance. Perhaps enough voters will think he's had enough wins already.


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Filed under: Awards Season, Lincoln, Les Miserables, Silver Linings Playbook, The Master, Flight, Denzel Washington, Bradley Cooper, Daniel Day-Lewis, Hugh Jackman, Joaquin Phoenix