Saturday, February 13, 2010

Oscar Winner Predictions: Best Actor in a Leading Role

The competition: Jeff Bridges’ aging musician (Crazy Heart), George Clooney’s traveling transition man (Up in the Air), Colin Firth’s 60s professor (A Single Man), Morgan Freeman’s Nelson Mandela (Invictus), and Jeremy Renner’s bomb technician (The Hurt Locker).

Previous winners: Sean Penn, Daniel Day-Lewis, Forest Whitaker, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jamie Foxx
Who should win: Firth
Who will win: The past two winners were collecting their second trophies, and last year, Sean Penn, who had already won only five years before, eclipsed comeback kid Mickey Rourke. Along those same lines, Clooney could do the same thing and beat out Bridges. The difference is that Bridges seems to be the clear favorite and never really went anywhere – this is his fifth nomination and he’s never won. It’s his turn. Firth has no chance, tragically, because Bridges takes all of his buzz away and his film didn’t receive any other nominations. Freeman won in 2003 and this year, his film got shut out of the Best Picture race, so he won’t win either. The one nominee with the potential to upset is breakthrough performer Jeremy Renner, whose turn as a fearless bomb expert might be just as much of an underdog as his film seems to be. Bridges should have this one locked up, so don’t put too much faith in that surprise actually happening. (One random statistic that works against Bridges: with the exception of Whitaker, every winner in this category since 1995 has had their film nominated for Best Picture. That doesn’t actually mean anything, but it’s somewhat interesting.)

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