The Academy Awards: Best Actor is turning into a Clash of the Titans that may wipe out the second tier great actors we’ve gotten used to seeing in recent years. Right now, the line up includes Daniel Day Lewis for “Lincoln,” Denzel Washington for “Flight,” Bradley Cooper for “Silver Linings Playbook,” and Anthony Hopkins for “Hitchcock.”All except Cooper have Oscars already.
That would leave only slot open. And who would it be? The possibilities start with Ben Affleck, whom we’ve seen in “Argo.” But looming out there is the chance that Hugh Jackman is sensational in “Les Miserables.” Whoops! That would knock out John Hawkes, who’s so good in “The Sessions.” And it would leave a question mark for Joaquin Phoenix, top notch in “The Master.”
In past years, Phoenix and Hawkes would have been certain nominees from the get-go. But 2012 has turned out to be a bumper crop year for movies.
It’s the same problem in Best Supporting Actor, where Robert DeNiro will be up for “Silver Linings” in a lovely, unexpected performance. Philip Seymour Hoffman remains a knockout in “The Master.” Tommy Lee Jones is strong for “Lincoln.” Alan Arkin is a favorite already from “Argo.” All are prior Oscar winners. And then there are the unknowns: Russell Crowe could be up for “Les Miz.” Leonardo DiCaprio will be on the hunt for a nod from “Django Unchained.”
That leaves little wiggle room for newcomers, like the tiger from “Life of Pi.” I’m hearing that after the success last year of Uggie the faithful pooch from “The Artist.” the tiger already has a publicist and a campaign!