Login

2013 Oscar Nominees Profiled: Best Actor

Image for 2013 Oscar Nominees Profiled: Best Actor

It’s that time of year again, as Hollywood’s finest find themselves, with alarming regularity, donning outfits that cost more than your house and jewellery worth more than you will earn in a lifetime. But awards season is all building to one supreme event, the Empire Awards Oscars on February 24. Ahead of that milestone, we assess the chances of each nominee in the major categories, and see who’s looking good ahead of the big night...

See also: Best Picture Profiles
See also: Best Adapted Screenplay Profiles See also: Best Original Screenplay Profiles See also: Best Supporting Actor Profiles See also: Best Actress Profiles
See also: Best Supporting Actress Profiles See also: Best Director Profiles

Film: Flight

Why He Will Win

1 A two-time past winner (Best Actor for Training Day; Best Supporting Actor for Glory), Denzel has the pedigree and poise to be a credible candidate. 2 His performance in Flight is terrific: he’s credible as both life-wrecking alcoholic and life-saving hero. 3 Who doesn’t love Denzel Washington? C’mon, people!

Why He Won't Win

1 The film itself doesn’t seem to be so highly regarded, which might hurt his chances. 2 Can an alcoholic beat a President, a bipolar sufferer, a rage monster and a singing convict? 3 Daniel Day-Lewis.
Film: Silver Linings Playbook

Why He Will Win

1 It’s a charismatic central performance as a bipolar sufferer, and one that’s a big step outside Cooper’s usual wheelhouse. 2 With four acting nominations for the film, the Academy’s thespian members appear to love the movie – which should bode well for Cooper. 3 He’s a newly-minted A-lister, and the Oscars do have a history of rewarding such figures (albeit mostly in the Actress category).

Why He Won't Win

1 He’s a bit too young: most Best Actor winners are comfortably north of 40, and you can be sure that if Cooper wins for this, DiCaprio’s going to be sitting at home feeling very hard done-by. 2 He’s still best known as “that guy from The Hangover” and probably has a few more respectable indie movies standing between him and a win. 3 Daniel Day-Lewis.
Film: Lincoln

Why He Will Win

1 His performance is astonishing even by Day-Lewis standards, with the actor completely disappearing into the character. We’ve never seen anything like it. 2 He’s generally acknowledged as the greatest actor of his generation, and he’s even been charming and merrily doing the awards rounds this season – at which he’s won everything going so far. 3 Daniel Day-Lewis.

Why He Won't Win

1 Er, jealousy? 2 What if everyone assumes that everybody else voted for DDL and they cast a throwaway vote for, say, Cooper? 3 There’s been a ridiculous and largely manufactured controversy about his voice, so that maybe? We’re clutching at straws here.
Film: Les Misérables

Why He Will Win

1 Jackman’s performance essentially holds up the whole musical, carrying the 17-years of the story and most of the emotional development – and he makes it look easy. Well, easy-ish. 2 He sings, he cries, he waves a gun and saves a kid – surely all the essential steps to win Hollywood’s heart. He already landed the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy, for what that’s worth. 3 Everyone loves Hugh Jackman; he’s the nicest man in Hollywood.

Why He Won't Win

1 There appears to be little momentum behind him judging by the season’s early awards shows; the Globes has never been much of an indicator. 2 He’s still best-known for Wolverine rather than the sort of Serious Thesping that Oscar likes. 3 Daniel Day-Lewis.

Film: The Master

Why He Will Win

1 Phoenix is extraordinarily good in The Master, fury dripping from every pore and animal instincts threatening to burst out at any moment. 2 If Hollywood wants to look hip, cool and edgy, he’s the guy to go for. 3 It might discourage him from further Method experimentations with rap, a result devoutly to be wished.

Why He Won't Win

1 The film was not much seen and not much loved by Academy voters. 2 Phoenix hasn’t exactly been campaigning hard for a win, avoiding much of the pre-Oscars hoopla. 3 Daniel Day-Lewis.

More from Empire