Last Update: 9/22
1. Colin Firth, The King’s Speech (prev: 1)
He was finally welcomed to the club last year with A Single Man (for which he arguably should have won), and he gets one of the baitiest roles of the year with King George VI. The film should provide Firth moments to shine both dramatically and comedically, and the film is on-track for a boatload of nominations.
2. James Franco, 127 Hours (prev: 2)
Franco has been steadily creating a pretty good resume over the years, and his performance in Milk a few years back garnered significant Oscar buzz (though he ultimately missed out on the nod). He’ll be in basically every minute of the film, which gives him plenty of opportunity to impress viewers, and reviews out of Toronto have been near-rapturous.
3. Paul Giamatti, Barney’s Version (NEW)
The film got a pretty good response at Toronto, and Giamatti received raves for his performance as the less-than-loveable lead character. Giamatti is an actor that everyone loves, and this race is missing a good dramedy performance. Even if the film is unable to make a dent in any of the other categories, I could see him being nominated.
4. Javier Bardem, Biutiful (prev: 3)
Though the film received middling reviews when it premiered at Cannes this spring, Bardem’s performance did not. His seems to be the kind of towering, career-best performance that voters won’t be able to ignore (even if they ignore the film itself).
5. Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network (prev: 24)
The Best Actor category is strangely resistant to young talent (unlike Best Actress), though if early reviews are accurate Eisenberg’s central performance as Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg will be the stuff of star-making legend. Which doesn’t guarantee a nomination, but definitely gives him an edge.
6. Robert Duvall, Get Low (prev: 6)
7. Jeff Bridges, True Grit (prev: 7)
8. Stephen Dorff, Somewhere (prev: 10)
9. Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine (prev: 4)
10. Aaron Eckhart, Rabbit Hole (NEW)
11. Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter (prev: 9)
12. Leonardo DiCaprio, Inception (prev: 15)
13. Jake Gyllenhaal, Love and Other Drugs (prev: 8 )
14. Jim Broadbent, Another Year (prev: 16)
15. Sean Penn, Fair Game (prev: 17)
16. Matt Damon, Hereafter (prev: 11)
17. Kevin Spacey, Casino Jack (prev: 18)
18. Ben Affleck, The Town (NEW)
19. Ewan McGregor, Ghost Writer (NEW)
20. Leonardo DiCaprio, Shutter Island (prev: 25)
21. Johnny Depp, The Tourist (NEW)
22. George Clooney, The American (prev: 19)
23. Sam Riley, Brighton Rock (prev: 20)
24. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jack Goes Boating (NEW)
25. Jim Sturgess, The Way Back (prev: 21)
James McAvoy, The Conspirator (prev: 5) – moved to 2011
Ed Harris, What’s Wrong With Virginia? (prev: 12) – moved to 2011
Colin Farrell, The Way Back (prev: 13) – moved to supporting
Johnny Depp, The Rum Diary (prev: 14) – moved to 2011
Colin Farrell, London Boulevard (prev: 22) – moved to 2011
Ewan McGregor, Beginners (prev: 23) – moved to 2011