It feels like there are just a few performances left to close out the Best Actor race. Let’s talk about what we know and what we don’t know.
What we know for sure:
George Clooney turns in, by most accounts so far, one of the best performances of the year.
Jeremy Renner is in danger of becoming a dark horse but gave one of the best performances of the year. He should not be forgotten.
Matt Damon gave one of his best performances in The Informant.
Colin Firth is long overdue for Academy attention and could be the best reason to recognize A Single Man, which closes the AFI Fest.
Michael Stuhlbarg is not well known yet but he’s a theater guy and the SAG will likely remember him.¬† His inclusion may depend on how much the Academy takes to A Serious Man.
Sharlto Copley for District 9 – would be a well deserved nod, to be sure, but might not be well known enough here.
Clive Owen – another actor who is long overdue and whose film, The Boys are Back will strike an emotional chord, if nothing else.
Michael Sheen in the Damned United
Viggo Mortensen in The Road
Still to come:
Morgan Freeman in Invictus
Daniel Day Lewis in Nine
Robert Downey, Jr. in Sherlock Holmes
Robert DeNiro in Everybody’s Fine
Mark Wahlberg in The Lovely Bones
Update: Kris Tapley writes in to let me know that Plummer will compete in supporting for The Last Station. So the two who voted for him in our poll can add your vote to a different contender by entering them in the comments.
Despite how good they are, the Best Actor race, like the other acting races and the Best Pic category, are as much driven by popularity and star power than they are about the performance itself. It is an increasingly competitive category, far more competitive than Best Actress, because white men dominate Hollywood. It’s really as simple as that. And unfortunately this year, black actors are mostly nowhere to be found.
Make sure to vote in our poll on the right hand column.