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Oscar Nominations 2012: Best Actor Predictions

We still have another month – and several major announcements – to go before the Oscar nominations are announced, but the year-end film honors revealed thus far give us a good picture of what to expect from the Academy this year, particularly in an unusually heated Best Actor race.


The Locks

French unknown Jean Dujardin is assured his first Oscar nomination for The Artist, the silent black-and-white flick that’s currently the Best Picture frontrunner. He could very well win the Oscar for his leading turn as well. However, he’s not necessarily locked for anything other than the mention, as he has not one, but two of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars right on his tail.

Brad Pitt
carried Bennett Miller’s Moneyball from being a merely good film to near greatness with his incredibly nuanced star performance. He won the New York Film Critics Circle’s Best Actor prize in combination with his (supporting) turn in Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. That good favor could help Pitt finally nab Oscar gold.

Right behind him, however, is his "Ocean's" series co-star and industry favorite George Clooney for The Descendants, Alexander Payne’s family dramedy that stands a decent shot at winning Best Picture. As was the case two years ago for Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air, Clooney has snagged some of the best reviews of his career. It should also be noted that he recently won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the 2005 film Syriana

The Field

Michael Fassbender’s had a stellar year. He even took home our award for Best Year by an Actor/Actress. Once thought to be a contender for David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method for his role as Carl Jung, he actually picked up more awards momentum for leading the controversial drama Shame as a sex addict. The Screen Actors Guild didn’t give him a mention, but he won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s Best Actor honor for his vast body of work this year – including X-Men: First Class. His work in Shame also picked up notices from the Broadcast Film Critics Association and Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Last, but not least, we have Leonardo DiCaprio, whose great performance in J. Edgar overcame the bad reviews for the film itself. Even though buzz for his work dwindled upon the film’s disappointing box-office numbers, he’s been mentioned by all of the necessary groups thus far. It doesn’t hurt that he’s an industry favorite who hasn’t been nominated in quite some time.

The Dark Horses

Despite a riveting performance in A Better Life, Demián Bichir was just a long shot in the eyes of many Oscar prognosticators, and while he’s definitely not locked and loaded for recognition, a surprise nomination from the Screen Actors Guild certainly gives hope for this great performance to catch the eye of Oscar.

Michael Shannon
shocked most everyone in 2008 with his nod for Revolutionary Road, mainly because no one seemed to pay attention beforehand. He’s back in the running again for Take Shelter, but the Jeff Nichols indie has a much lower profile than the Sam Mendes-helmed domestic drama.

And whatever happened to the buzz for Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy? Many thought him to be a major contender. Some worried that the supposedly quiet nature of the subdued thriller would hurt his chances. As it turns out, the naysayers may have been right.

Bigger long shots come in the form of Thomas Horn and Ryan Gosling. The former leads the Stephen Daldry drama Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and while that film lost tons of traction recently, it might cement its contender status with DGA and BAFTA mentions. Even so, Horn might not be an afterthought when all is said and done.

Concerning Gosling, he’s got both Drive and The Ides of March. He earned a Golden Globe nod for the latter, so that’s probably his better chance at finally nabbing a second Oscar nod. However, is The Ides of March really much of a contender anymore? Gosling could very well split votes for both performances, receiving no nomination in the end.

That’s it for this week in Oscar. Thanks for reading our latest Oscar post. Check back with us next week for more Oscar coverage. If you’re curious, you can check out the major predictions we made at the beginning of December here.


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