Colin Firth for “The King’s Speech”
This film has been gaining lots of buzz ever since it was screened at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals. Its leading man has been giving excellent performances for years now. As Mr. Darcy in the BBC adaptation of “Pride And Prejudice” he had women and some men swooning. He gained his first Oscar nomination last year for the lackluster film “A Simple Man”. From all accounts this film is more of a winner. He plays the part of King George IV of Britian who had a debilitating stutter to overcome in order to rule England with any success. Think of Helen Mirren’s triumph playing the Queen a few years back, then you can be assured that Mr Firth may be standing at the podium giving a speech all of his own.
James Franco for 127 Hours.
James Franco came to my attention with his wonderful performance as James Dean in the TV movie “The James Dean Story”. Since then he has turned up in many varied roles. He was excellent as boyfriend to Sean Penn in “Milk” and he stars as Alan Ginsberg in the upcoming film “Howl”, He has also been dabbling in a bit of performance art – part of which included an appearance in the daytime soap opera “General Hospital”. He seems to be everywhere at the moment even turning up as Julia Robert’s younger boyfriend in the debacle “Eat Pray Love”. But it seems it is this tour-de-force performance that has the awards pundits blabbing. He plays the part of real life mountain climber Aaron Ralston who became trapped under a boulder for nearly 5 days, his only way to survive was to cut his arm off with a blunt pocket knife. Gruesome indeed!
Javier Bardem for Biutiful
Javier Bardem is one of my favorite actors of late. He can make an appearance in a dud film (Eat Pray Love) and still exude charm and make the most of a part. In this role he plays the part of a gangster on the road to redemption before his impending death. It’s a dark part in a dark film that may hinder his chances at a win with the conservative Academy. He won the best actor prize earlier this year at the Cannes film festival. He is a previous Oscar winner for his turn in the Coen Bros. classic “No Country For Old Men”. He and his glamourous and equally talented girlfriend Penelope Cruz will look gorgeous on the red carpet, thats for sure 🙂
Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network.
Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg the founder of Facebook has a good chance of a nomination. It is very difficult to make an unlikeable character interesting on screen. He achieves this with great skill. I was mesmerized by his performance. In the past his turn as the son in “The Squid And The Whale” was equally impressive. The film is a critical and box office success so expect him to ride the award train to the Oscars.
Jeff Bridges for True Grit.
Expect Jeff Bridges back again after last years deserved best actor win for “Crazy Heart”. This time he takes on the iconic John Wayne part of Rooster Cogburn in the Coen Bros. remake of the classic western. Back to back Oscars are hard to win, but I do think a nomination is on the cards for this very talented actor.
Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine.
Ryan Gosling is another of my fave actors of the moment. His breakthrough performance as a drug addict in “Half Nelson” earned him his first Oscar nomination. For his 2nd shot at the golden man he plays husband to Michelle Williams in this relationship drama following the pitfalls of marriage. It had recent controversy when it was rated NC-17 for an emotionally intense sex scene. Controversy of course garners attention. The film has been shown at both the Cannes and Sundance festivals and the reviews have all lauded the performances of Mr Gosling and his co-star.
Robert Duvall for Get Low.
Veteran actor Robert Duvall is in with a chance with this film. He plays the part of a hermit who comes down from the woods to plan his own ‘living’ funeral. The film premiered at the 2009 Toronto film festival and had a delayed release which may hinder his chances. The reviews for his performance and the film have been excellent so expect him in with a chance. The Academy loves the oldies. Duvall won best actor for “Tender Mercies” back in 1984.
OTHERS IN WITH A CHANCE
Mark Wahlberg for The Fighter.
Leonardo DiCaprio for Shutter Island & Inception.
Stephen Dorff – Somewhere.