Academy Award Preview: The Gentlemen

Daniel Day-Lewis is a lock as best actor but the supporting race is less clear

By Lori Hoffman
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Feb. 14, 2013

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Daniel Day-Lewis.

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
• Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
• Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
• Christoph Waltz, Django 

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.

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