Last year’s nominees: Javier Bardem, Jeff Bridges, Jesse Eisenberg, Colin Firth, James Franco
This year’s locks: Jean Dujardin (The Artist), George Clooney (The Descendants), Brad Pitt (Moneyball)
Very likely: None
Possible: Michael Fassbender (Shame), Leonardo DiCaprio (J. Edgar), Gary Oldman (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), Demian Bichir (A Better Life)
Unlikely: Ryan Gosling (Drive), Michael Shannon (Take Shelter), Woody Harrelson (Rampart)
The rundown: There’s no way that Dujardin, Clooney, and Pitt are missing out. After that, however, it’s anybody’s guess. None of the other actors in this category are likely to have major support for their films in other categories, meaning that it will depend largely on their status as a star or respected performer. Despite his Globe and SAG nominations, DiCaprio is far from a sure thing, and could easily be snubbed. Oldman’s film was highly acclaimed, and Bichir scored a SAG nod. Shannon earned some critical praise, but not enough, and Harrelson’s film has appeared virtually nowhere. I think that Fassbender will be able to snag a slot, but he’s not guaranteed either.
One possible crazy scenario: Ryan Gosling makes it in – for “The Ides of March.”
Forecasted winner: Dujardin