Daniel Day-Lewis is a lock as best actor but the supporting race is less clear
Last Thursday I handicapped the best supporting actress and best actress races. Now it is time to look at the gents in the running. Most experts assume that Daniel Day-Lewis in going to back up his third Oscar for Lincoln, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t applaud his competition as well as the less obvious supporting actor race.
Nominees for Best Supporting Actor
• Alan Arkin, Argo
• Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
• Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
• Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
• Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Nominees for Best Actor
• Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
• Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
• Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
• Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
• Denzel Washington, Flight
Oscar loves Bobby D but not lately. A two-time winner (supporting for The Godfather Part II and best actor Raging Bull), his seventh nomination this year is his first since Cape Fear in 1992. Some critics have accused De Niro of phoning in his performances in the last decade, but his terrific, hilarious performance in Silver Linings Playbook is a spectacular return to top form.
His toughest competition will come from another Oscar favorite, Tommy Lee Jones, who was outstanding as a passionate abolitionist in Lincoln. Waltz won in a Tarantino film, Inglorious Basterds, in 2010 and his performance in Django Unchained, while delightful, is too similar to his previous performance. Alan Arkin is the best thing in Argo, a film I didn’t like as much as most. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is also a dark horse in the race, since The Master didn’t earn that many nominations. One thing you won’t get from this category is a first time winner. All five are previous Academy Award winners.
Prediction: Robert De Niro
Preference: Robert De Niro
With his recent win from the British Academy Awards Daniel Day-Lewis has picked up a staggering 32 awards so far for his performance as Lincoln. The Academy Award will soon follow, making him the first three-time best actor winner in the history of the Academy Awards. A five-time best actor nominee he won previously for My Left Foot and There Will Be Blood.
Playing a president certainly wins out over playing a bi-polar romantic but Bradley Cooper, thought of in some quarters as a lightweight pretty boy, earned a lot of attention and respect for his performance in Silver Linings Playbook. I didn’t like his movie but Denzel Washington was terrific as a drunk in Flight, and the Academy loves convincing drunks.
They also love people with handicaps (just ask Day-Lewis) and therefore I was outraged that John Hawkes’ magnificent performance as a man in an iron lung in the touching Sundance hit The Sessions didn’t earn his expected nomination. I’m not a fan of Les Miz, but Jackman was the best thing in it. Joaquin Phoenix doesn’t like awards and despite announcing that, he earned the final spot for his excellent performance in another film I didn’t like, The Master.
Prediction: Daniel Day-Lewis
Preference: Bradley Cooper
Next Tuesday: An Oscar wrap-up with best screenplays, best picture, best director and quick picks for the rest of the categories.
There was some history made at the 2013 Academy Awards and if Captain Kirk comes back from the future with an Oscar headline regarding host Seth MacFarlane, it will read: He didn’t suck. This was an Oscar evening that shared the good vibrations around in an appropriate manner.
Here is the finale of my three-part preview of the Academy Awards, which take place this Sunday, Feb. 24 on ABC, with Seth MacFarlane as the host.
This is an exciting year for predicting the Oscars because except for a couple of mortal locks, it is a wide-open battle in the major races. So let the speculation begin. I’ve decided to weigh in with a weekly series of articles on the Academy Awards, which will be handed out on Sunday, Feb. 24.
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