The Oscars – Best Actor Previewed

The Nominees:

Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”
George Clooney in “Up In The Air”
Colin Firth in “A Single Man”
Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”
Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”

Who Will Win?

This year’s Best Actor award seems likely to go to Jeff Bridges, following that Oscar tradition of rewarding someone because it’s ‘their time’. This is Bridges’ fifth nomination and some would fervently argue he should have already been given a little gold chap for one of those past performances or his un-nominated yet iconic turn as The Dude. He isn’t a certainty but his role as Bad Blake is one that you’d expect the Academy to like, a boozy country singer who’s made a mess of his life but may have one last shot at redemption. Wait a minute, I hear you say, Mickey Rourke’s wrestler wasn’t a million miles away from that description. Yes, but, Bridges isn’t going to drop the F-bomb on stage that it wad feared Rourke was, and poor old Mickey also had to contend with the spectre of Brokeback Mountain guilt that ensured Penn won it by a nose (pun intended).

Who Should Win?

I say this without an ounce of British bias (honestly, I hate how the British media treat the Oscars like the Olympics) but Colin Firth’s performance in A Single Man is, for my money, the strongest in the field. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve not always been his biggest fan in the past, he’s tended to riff on his early defining role Mr. Darcy on too many occasions rather than offer anything original. But with A Single Man, Tom Ford absolutely transformed Firth was heartbreaking as a man bereaved, seeing the world afresh throughout what might prove to be his final day on this Earth. Firth may still be a good outside bet as he did manage to bag the BAFTA a fortnight ago and that will hopefully be fresh in the voters’ minds.

The Dark Horse?

While most of the attention for The Hurt Locker is going the way of Kathryn Bigelow for Best Director as well as significant buzz for Best Picture allowing Jeremy Renner to go under the radar somewhat. Renner was garnering an array of plaudits for his performance when the film was released and I’m sure that won’t escape the voters. He may even piggyback on the success of the film in the other categories and grab this award right out of Bridges’ hands.

And the rest?

The other nominees are George Clooney and Morgan Freeman for their roles in Up In The Air and Invictus respectively. Clooney plays himself very well, but then again, how hard is it to play yourself. Morgan Freeman on the other hand plays Nelson Mandela adequately, neither should trouble the voters on this occasion.

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