Christian Bale – The Fighter.
Long overdue for award recognition in my own opinion. Playing the crack addict brother of boxer Mark Wahlberg, Bale once again has physically transformed to create the character (he did the same in “The Mechanist”). Since the film was seen last week all the attention is leading to a nom for Bale who overshadows Wahlberg.
Andrew Garfield – The Social Network.
English actor Andrew Garfield impresses as the betrayed best friend of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Soon to be seen as the new Spiderman in a reboot of the series, Garfield also appears this year in the English ensemble drama “Never Let Me Go”, he is certainly making his mark and hopefully the Academy will acknowledge his impressive performance here. Ain’t bad on the eye too!
Geoffrey Rush – The King’s Speech.
Previous Oscar winner Rush seems perfectly cast in this role. As an Aussie actor not doing well in his chosen career he becomes the speech therapist to the stuttering King Of England. Rush is always good when the role requires a big serving of ham. He will certainly be riding the gravy train that this film is providing for many.
Mark Ruffalo – The Kids Are All Right.
Mark Ruffalo is another long deserved actor to hopefully gain some Academy recognition. He lost out on a nomination for his excellent turn in “You Can Count On Me” his breakthrough role. As the carefree sperm donor to the uptight lesbians he lays on all the charm and sex appeal required to woo audiences. Perhaps not enough dramatic gravitas to actually win, but I am sure he will join his co-stars in being nominated at least.
Ed Harris – The Way Back.
If there is a veteran award on offer then hand it to Ed Harris. He has been up for an award 4 times in the past. He is always reliable to give a great and honest performance and may be in with a very good chance of winning. Playing a tough-as-nails American who escapes with a motley group from a Russian Gulag. Director Peter Weir steered him to a nomination in “The Truman Show” – perhaps he will help him find his way to the podium this time.
John Hawkes – Winter’s Bone.
A character actor who has appeared in many good films over the years. Hawkes is both frightening and compassionate in this role as the uncle with a meth addiction warning the distraught heroine hunting for her missing dad to be careful. I expect he may not make it to the nom selection he sure deserves to be there and even win!
OTHERS IN WITH A CHANCE.
Justin Timberlake – The Social Network.
Sam Rockwell – Conviction.