Oscar 2012, Best Actor: With Malice Toward None

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The Best Actor race has, for intents and purposes, a mortal lock as winner. Few would disagree that Daniel Day-Lewis, as Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln, has this all sewn up. But still…

No one has won three Best Actor awards. Not Tracy, not Gable, not Olivier, not Bogart, not Nicholson (he has won three, but one was supporting). Will there be any hesitation from voters on checking off Day-Lewis’ name, in that, at 55, he’s not old enough or megastar enough to have made history?

Probably not. He certainly deserves it. Had he only won one Oscar he’d be as much as a slam dunk as he was for There Will Be Blood. But part of me holds out a sliver of possibility that someone could create a gasp-worthy moment that will rock Oscar nerds’ worlds.

Who would it be? I see two possibilities. One is Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. He seems to Mr. Nice Guy, and the role was an arduous one, plus he can sing! If anyone wavers on anointing Day-Lewis as the Best Actoriest actor of all time, they may stray to Jackman.

Or Bradley Cooper, for Silver Linings Playbook. Ten years ago, the best actor category was made up of four men who had won Oscars, and the upset winner was the new guy, Adrien Brody. There might be a movement toward Cooper, who had lots of big moments in the film, and is a star on the rise.

Beyond those three, I don’t see anyone else winning. Joaquin Phoenix has garnered a lot of critical praise for The Master, though I found him nails-on-a-chalkboard annoying. If the award is for most acting, he would get it. Phoenix getting nominated should to rest the theory that talking bad about the Oscars hurts you. He, like Mo’Nique a few years ago, blasted the whole campaigning aspect of it. She won; he won’t.

Last is Denzel Washington, for Flight. I liked his performance very much, but it’s highly doubtful that he would win his third Oscar for this role, in a film that didn’t really take off (pardon the pun). Actors playing drunks win a lot of Oscars, but not this year.

Will win: Daniel Day-Lewis

Could win: Hugh Jackman

Should win: Daniel Day-Lewis

Should have been nominated: John Hawkes, The Sessions

About Jackrabbit Slim

Location: Vegas, Baby! I’m much older than the other whippersnappers here, a baby boomer. I tend to be more snobbish about film, disdaining a lot of the multiplex fare for “cinema.” My favorite films: Woody Allen’s oeuvre (up until about 1990), The Godfather, The Graduate, A Hard Day’s Night, Pulp Fiction. Politics: Well, George McGovern was my political hero. I’m also a prickly atheist. Occupation: Poised to be an English teacher in Las Vegas. For many years I was an editor at Penthouse Magazine. My role on this blog seems to be writing lots of reviews and being the resident Oscar maven.

6 responses »

  1. History will be made for one of the greatest actors ever. I didn’t know this would be his third. And I just saw a young him in Gandhi. Didn’t know he was in it.

  2. New rule, Slim: it will no longer be called the “Academy Awards”. Just ‘Oscar’, apparently.

  3. The one reason I think that Jackman might walk away with it is that he’s so universally liked and has done an extraordinary amount of campaigning (as far as I can tell). He clearly wants it horribly, whereas Day-Lewis seems laid back about the whole endeavor per usual.

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