This article is part of our Oscar Week Series, where you will find breakdowns and predictions for all of the major categories.
The most illustrious of all the individual awards except for all the others, Best Actor is a coveted prize sought after by everyone working in the industry including actors, producers, gaffers, best boys, and that guy in your high school that plans on moving out to L.A.
Winning means joining the ranks of Daniel Day-Lewis, Sean Penn, and a host of the best of the best.
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
[Will Win] Some are calling this a legacy win considering how long Bridges has been in the game, but it’s not like he was snubbed for The Big Lebowski or anything. With Bad Blake, Bridges has nailed down a character that is interesting to watch for the entire run time. However, the win might surprise audiences who have never seen the flick.
George Clooney, Up in the Air
There will be a lot of momentum for Clooney to win this year, but even with a strong performance, his doesn’t quite match up with the others on the list. He’s had and will have more opportunities, but he’ll have to turn in a performance where he’s not just Clooney playing Clooney in order to grab a Best Actor to place next to his Best Supporting Award.
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Another standout with a character study, Firth has gotten a metric ton of acclaim for his role here in A Single Man. And, just like Bridges, he’s deserving of the praise. And, just like Bridges, the win would surprise everyone who hasn’t seen the film. Honestly, it’s a horse race between Firth, Bridges and the man featured below.
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
[Should Win] Renner is a young talent that dominated the screen in an incredibly difficult role. He’s intense to the point of frightening while still being endlessly likable. With his performance, he shows shades of Daniel Day-Lewis’s role as Daniel Plainview. Still, he’s young, and that may count against him, but we’ll definitely see him on this list again in the future.
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
The true legacy vote, if Freeman wins it won’t be purely for this performance. He did a stand out job as Nelson Mandela, and I actually predicted this back when the film was announced, but that performance is a diamond in a rough film.