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Oscar Contest: Category Highlight: Best Actor

March 5th, 2010

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. Today we look at Best Actor in a Lead Role, which is yet another category with a runaway favorite.

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

Best Actor in a Lead Role

Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart
Tomatometer Score: 93% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Independent Spirit Awards, Golden Globe, and SAG
Movie's Previous Major Wins: Golden Globe and SAG
Actor's Previous Major Nominations: Two Independent Spirit Awards, Three Golden Globes, Two SAGs, and Four Oscars
Actor's Previous Major Wins: One Independent Spirit Award
Notes: This is a great movie and Jeff Bridges' performance is at the heart of the film's critical success. Add in two previous major award wins and the fact that he has so far gone zero for four at the Oscars and he's practically a lock to win on Sunday. I hate the so-called "Career achievement awards" that are handed out to make up for past mistakes, as this just creates a new mistake that will need to be "corrected" later on. However, in this case Jeff Bridges deserves to win.

George Clooney for Up in the Air
Tomatometer Score: 90% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globe and SAG
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Actor's Previous Major Nominations: Two Golden Globes, Ten SAGs, and Two Oscars
Actor's Previous Major Wins: One Golden Globes, Four SAGs, One Oscar
Notes: George Clooney has won numerous awards for his acting, mostly as part of the ensemble drama E.R.. Even with this impressive history, some are arguing that this is his best performance ever. Additionally, the film's overall reviews are amazing and the buzz has helped the film expand truly wide and earn more than $80 million at the box office. That said, it just seems like Jeff Bridges' year.

Colin Firth for A Single Man
Tomatometer Score: 85% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Independent Spirit Award, Golden Globe, and SAG
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Actor's Previous Major Nominations: Two SAGs
Actor's Previous Major Wins: One SAG
Notes: Colin Firth is the single biggest reason this film earned such strong reviews. Also, despite given great performances in a number of excellent movies, he's never gotten the Awards Season praise some think he deserves. This could help him win, as some voters might say, "It's his turn." But that sentiment probably won't be enough. The film's reviews are not as good as some of its competitors', and its box office numbers are the weakest in this category.

Morgan Freeman for Invictus
Tomatometer Score: 77% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globe and SAG
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Actor's Previous Major Nominations: One Independent Spirit Award, Four Golden Globes, Three SAGs, and Four Oscars
Actor's Previous Major Wins: One Independent Spirit Award, One Golden Globe, One SAG, and One Oscar
Notes: This is the weakest film on this list in terms of Tomatometer score while its box office did not live up to expectations. Additionally, Morgan Freeman has recently won an Oscar, so voters won't be tempted to give it to him here to make up for past mistakes. Of this group, I think he's probably the least likely to win the award.

Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker
Tomatometer Score: 97% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Two SAGs
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Actor's Previous Major Nominations: One Independent Spirit Award
Actor's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: The Hurt Locker has earned some of the best reviews of any movie all year long and it has been a major player throughout Awards Season. That said, Jeremy Renner hasn't been sharing in that success. In fact, he didn't even pick up a Golden Globe nomination (he's the only one here not to). Meanwhile, Jeff Bridges has been winning just about everything, and it looks like that will include the Oscar on Sunday

Conclusion: Best Actor in a Lead Role is a category that should be more competitive than it is given that all five actors have picked up multiple previous nominations. However, only Jeff Bridges has been winning any of the major awards and most think he will continue that streak.

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Filed under: The Hurt Locker, Up in the Air, A Single Man, Invictus, Crazy Heart