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FOR BEST ACTOR:
Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln
Consider the two-time Oscar winner the current frontrunner in the race. That’s because while lots of actors have played America’s 16th president on screen, only Day-Lewis makes you feel as if just maybe this is what it would be like if we could actually see and hear Abraham Lincoln in the flesh. In his deeply felt and extraordinarily intelligent performance, Day-Lewis’ Great Emancipator is crafty, caring, funny, a loving father and husband, and all too worn down by the enormous burdens of his office. Going against him: We’re coming up empty here, other than that the actor already has taken home two golden statues (for My Left Foot and There Will Be Blood) and racked up two additional nominations and, well, maybe some voters are jealous.
Anthony Hopkins in Hitchcock
Hopkins has a blast playing director Alfred Hitchcock, giving us a sly portrait of the artist as a middle-aged man looking to get his creative juices flowing again by turning a mediocre novel called Psycho into a masterful cinematic shocker. Thanks to a fat suit and prosthetics, the Welsh-born actor indeed looks a lot like the famous heavyweight British director, but the real icing on the cake is Hopkins’ dead solid perfect channeling of Hitch’s orotund speaking voice. Going against him: See Mirren. Same reasons. The film is slight and he already has an Oscar (for The Silence of the Lambs).
Daniel Craig in Skyfall
Why not? The movie is both a critical success and a ginormous box office hit and Craig is a big reason for both. In his third outing as James Bond, he completely makes the iconic role his own, banishing memories of previous 007s with the possible exception of Sean Connery. In this latest Bond flick (the 23rd film in the series), released to coincide with the series’ 50th anniversary, Craig shows off his considerable acting chops – every scene he has with Judi Dench is a marvel – as much as his action hero skills. Going against him: No actor has ever been nominated for an Oscar for playing the British super spy.
Tom Holland in The Impossible
Hollywood is often leery of giving nominations to kids but 16-year-old Holland nearly steals this affecting drama right out from under Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, who play his parents in the film. He gives an achingly touching performance as a boy desperate to find and reunite his family after the tsunami in Thailand in 2004. (Holland first gained notice playing Billy Elliot in the musical of the same name on London’s West End.) Going against him: It’s his first movie role and he’s a sprout.
Alan Cumming in Any Day Now
The Scottish star, using a tough guy American accent, shines in a warmhearted dramady based on a real life story about a gay couple in the 1970s who had to fight the legal system to retain custody of an abandoned youth with Down’s Syndrome, for whom they were caring. Cumming, who often pops up in supporting roles, is in nearly every scene here and gives the film a huge injection of heart and soul. Going against him: The indie film is receiving only limited distribution.
Which Brit stars would you most like to see nominated for an Oscar this year?