This category seems to have six really likely candidates vying for five spots, and that’s pretty much it. The Globes are more prone than other awards bodies to merely include all six, which would be completely unhelpful for predicting later races and narrowing these contenders down. Sean Penn (Milk), Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler), and Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon) should be safe, even if their films don’t earn Best Picture nominations. The next three, two of who should make the cut, are Leonardo DiCaprio (Revolutionary Road), Richard Jenkins (The Visitor), and Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino). DiCaprio will need positive buzz and love for his film, Jenkins will need people to remember him (screeners that went out should help), and Eastwood’s buzz should only go up after the National Board of Review named him Best Actor. Brad Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and Hugh Jackman (Australia) should yield awards attention to their respective films rather than the performances. I doubt Benicio Del Toro will make the list unless his double-feature film (Che) really takes off. Ditto Daniel Craig whose film (Defiance) doesn’t even come out in limited release until December 29th.
FRANK LANGELLA, FROST/NIXON
SEAN PENN, MILK
LEONARDO DICAPRIO, REVOLUTIONARY ROAD
RICHARD JENKINS, THE VISITOR
MICKEY ROURKE, THE WRESTLER