Really, the Lead Actor race looks to be somewhat sewn up. There are logically seven contenders, with like a .01% chance of anyone else getting brought into the conversation.
Five of those seven are getting nominated, and as has been clear for the past few months, it’s probably going to be Day-Lewis, Hawkes, Jackman, Phoenix and Washington. Hopkins is recently being thrown into the race thanks to the release of Hitchcock a year early, and we all know how AMPAS loves mimicry. Sadly, for Hopkins, this race, while smaller than Actress, is tighter. The actors involved here are all prestigious (to a degree) but more importantly there isn’t a light performance or role in the group. The lightest would appear to be Cooper (thanks to the film itself) which is why I place him in seventh place at this point.
Things could change, sure, but at the moment I don’t see that happening.
I’m still glad to be the first one out there who called the Jackman win. I still see that happening in a big way. Les Miserables is going to be huge, and Jackman will benefit from that.
Day-Lewis has the reviews, while more tepid than expected, to get a nomination. He won’t win, although some think he should. The overall consensus on his performance is that it is strong by overshadowed. Phoenix has some raves and certainly very strong reviews that could constitute a win were his film and character not so controversial, and the fact that his off screen persona isn’t the greatest (and his stint a few years back with the whole ‘I’m quitting acting’) so I think he’ll get some real critical attention and then possibly a win at the BFCA, but after that I think he’ll get shafted for more palatable fare. Hawkes has the reviews and the likable factor going for him. He could be a threat, but really I see this as the Jackman horse, with a possibility of a Washington spoiler if he gains more traction. The reviews have been kind (hardly raves) but enough to get him a nomination and a possible Globe win, and if he nabs a surprise SAG (not betting on it, but it is possible) then I could see him poised to come just short of the Oscar.
That’s how I see it now.