Our obsession about that silly little award show coming Sunday won’t stop. So in that vein, I am continuing my previews of 13 categories I care about in the next 6 days. Today, we move to the men that grace our screen, the leading ones and the supporting actors.
Keep it Simple, Stupid: Daniel Day-Lewis. There really isn’t much to say here. Probably less than 10% of Hollywood, including every attendee at the Oscars, believes someone other than Day-Lewis should win. With Daniel, we never know how many more chances we will get to see him, so that’s one of about 100 reasons he deserves to win here. More than any other award on Oscar night, if Daniel doesn’t win, it will be the largest upset.
The Main Competitor: George Clooney. He’s beautiful, he’s in a movie that the Academy obviously loves, he’s obviously loved himself by the Academy (see: Syriana) and he is as articulate as anyone south of Day-Lewis. Most of all, he’s a good human being. I didn’t love “Michael Clayton”, and I’d be bothered if Clooney stole it from Day-Lewis, but if he does, I’ll just say, “couldn’t happen to a nicer guy” and move on.
If They Split the Vote: Tommy Lee Jones. Look, there’s no chance they split the vote. But I put TLJ here as a point to show that the Academy obviously loved this performance, and I do bet that in some years, it would be more than enough to win the gold statue.
Bryan’s Preference: Daniel Day-Lewis. I’ve called it the best acting performance since “Scent of a Woman”, and I’m not backing down. I saw someone call it overacting somewhere on this here Internets, and my jaw dropped to the floor. It was a big role that called for big acting, but I never found it to be overdone.
Bryan’s Pick: Daniel Day-Lewis. ‘Nuff said.
Best Supporting Actor
Keep it Simple, Stupid: Javier Bardem. Again, we’re going on trend here: Bardem has won almost, almost, every single precursor in this award. The Academy loves the movie, and if they love the movie, I’m sure they love the real star of the show (sorry, Brolin). Bardem’s performance is one that I don’t think we’ll forget — he was the villain that kept “No Country” on its feet for me.
The Main Competitor: Hal Holbrook. And yet, so many Oscar prognosticators aren’t going for Bardem, because they believe sentimentality will win out on Oscar night. Emotion, or maybe nostalgia is the better word, as Holbrook seemingly deserves some recognition for a half-century devoted to his craft. And I’ve heard many people say that Holbrook’s scene in the car, saying goodbye to Chris McCandless, is the scene of the year. That counts for something.
If They Split the Vote: Casey Affleck. I might be wrong here, but I don’t think Affleck is too large an underdog to win. I am not really sure by what “If They Split the Vote” means, but I’ve heard many others use it, and if there’s a category that might split the vote, it’s this win. So does that allow Affleck, whose screen time probably exceeds even Bardem’s, and who “Assassination of Jesse James…” was really about, to win? Probably not, but I don’t think it is outside the realm of possibility.
Bryan’s Preference: Casey Affleck or Javier Bardem. Both were nasty villains in their own way, and both characters will stick with me personally. I’m probably rooting for Affleck in the sense of “go Underdog!”, but I’ll be happy for Bardem when he wins, and I certainly think he deserves it.
Bryan’s Pick: Javier Bardem. My Oscar picks this year are certainly all centered around things making too much sense not to win. Bardem fits that bill.
[Coming tomorrow: the ladies, and again, we’ll hit the leading girls and the supporting ones.]