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2013 - The Leading Men


  1. Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street OR The Great Gatsby)
      The fact that he hasn't been nominated since Blood Diamond (2006) even though delivered excellent performances in The Departed (2006), Revolutionary Road (2008), Shutter Island (2010), Inception (2010), J. Edgar (2011), Django Unchained (2012), is weird. In 2013 he reteams with Baz Luhrmann (Romeo + Juliet) to play the iconic Jay Gatsby, and with Martin Scorsese (Shutter Island, The Departed, The Aviator, Gangs of New York) for the Jordan Belfort biopic. Long story short, if he can't get at least a nomination now, it will be official : the Academy has a problem...with him.
  2. George Clooney (The Monuments Men)
      Even though he has been nominated for Best Actor three times, he never won, and he came remarkably close with The Descendants. Could this be his year ?
  3. Colin Firth (The Railway Man)
      Playing a World War II victim definitely sounds like an Oscar-role, and once again with The Weinstein Company in his corner, this might just garner him his third Best Actor nomination.
  4. Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club OR Mud)
      Basically the press has already started his Oscar-campaign when they made a big fuss about his weight loss for Dallas Buyers Club. After his great work in the last two years, I have no doubt that his performance will be nothing short of extraordinary...question is will the film be fittingly great to back him up ?
  5. Tom Hanks (Captain Philipps OR Saving Mr. Banks)
      After losing his mojo for the last couple of years, it seems he is about to get it back, the real question is whether he will be a contender for his Greengrass-film or his iconic role (Walter Disney)...or if they downgrade the second to supporting, maybe for both ?
  6. Chiwetel Ejiofor (Twelve Years a Slave)
      He has been making the rounds for years, proving more than once his worth as a remarkably talented actor. McQueen's ambitious odyssey could be the big break he so richly deserves.
  7. Benedict Cumberbatch (The Fifth Estate)
      He is heading for a brilliant year, playing Julian Assange in this, the villain in Star Trek : Into the Darkness, the best male part in August: Osage County, and a baity role in Twelve years a slave. I firmly believe he will be one of the strongest Oscar contenders next season, whether it will be in lead (The Fifth Estate) or supporting (everything else) or both, now THAT is the question.
  8. Steve Carrell (Foxcatcher)
      Playing against type is something the Academy tends to respond to, and what can be more against type for this funnyman than a homicidal schizophreniac ?
  9. Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale)
      He received rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival and with Harvey Weinstein in his corner, he could be easily the acting revelation of the year.
  10. Forest Whitaker (The Butler)
      If Lee Daniels delivers a great film, Whitaker WILL be back in the Oscar-game with the role that seems like his best since The Last King of Scotland.


  1. Hugh Jackman (Prisoners)
      Playing a father with a vengeance worked out perfectly for Sean Penn exactly 10 years ago and Jackman will definitely have some leftover goodwill as (arguably) the runner-up of the previous season. Question is will Prisoners be as strong of a film as Mystic River was ?
  2. Michael Fassbender (The Counselor)
      Playing the title character in a Ridley Scott film paid off for Russell Crowe, let's see how it works out for the utterly brilliant Michael Fassbender.
  3. Daniel Brühl (Rush)
      Playing the iconic Niki Lauda sounds what Oscar dreams are made of, especially if you have an Oscar winner as your director (Ron Howard).
  4. Ethan Hawke (Before Midnight)
      Although it is a low-key role, far from the flashy Oscar-bait performances the others will give, I believe there is a chance the Academy will finally recognize this quiet little 'franchise' in the main categories and that includes Best Actor.
  5. Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis OR Therese Raquin)
      This up and comer seems to have a make or break year in 2013, if he pulls it off, he can instantly join the A-list. It will be interesting to see how he fares.
  6. Josh Brolin (Oldboy OR Labor Day)
      After receiving his first Oscar nomination in the supporting category for Milk, he could be back in the Awards game with the cult character from Oldboy OR the criminal role from Labor Day...could latter be just a supporting turn ?
  7. Bradley Cooper (Serena OR The Place Beyond the Pines OR Untitled David O. Russell)
      His best shot is with Serena, and if he makes the cut, he will have the advantage of being the previous year's runner-up (or something like it).
  8. Mathieu Amalric (Venus in Fur)
      His role in the play is fantastic, and after ignoring his stunning work in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, it would be high time to recognize his talent, but in the end the film might be too low-key for the Academy's taste.
  9. Joaquin Phoenix (Her)
      Coming off a career-best performance and third Oscar nomination, he is obviously very hot right now, so if Spike Jonze's quirky 'Her' hits all the right notes, he could be back in the Best Actor race in no time.
  10. James McAvoy (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby OR Trance)
      Danny Boyle's Trance sounds like a great acting showcase for him, but then again, with 'Eleanor Rigby', he has his very own film (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby : His) and that could be gold for this criminally underrated actor, and also his ticket to his long overdue first Oscar nomination.
  11. Colin Farrell (Winter's Tale)
      It is still not clear what we can expect from this film, but if it hits, it will hit big and that will largely depend on Farrell's individual work.


  1. Casey Affleck (Ain't Them Bodies Saints)
      Early word from Sundance suggests 'Saints' is his best film and role in years. Could it be his first Best Actor nomination ?
  2. Christian Bale (Knight of Cups OR Malick OR Out of Furnace OR Untitled Russell)
      If Knight of Cups is all about him, then he might have a juicy role on his hands, although Out of Furnace looks great, as well.
  3. Mark Ruffalo (Can a song save your life ?)
      If John Carney can deliver Once-quality, this will be a VERY well-written and executed role and after his first Oscar nomination only two years ago (The Kids are all right) AND the smash hit last year (The Avengers), he could raise the profile of this little indie A LOT. But what's up with his character ? I assume he plays the dejected music business executive who forms a bond with a young singer-songwriter new to Manhattan, but according to IMDB he plays himself ? Hopefully that's a mistake.
  4. Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
      Playing the alcoholic lead is always a great acting challenge...and this character is written and directed by Alexander Payne.
  5. Liam James (The Way, Way Back)
      Apparently he is the lead, but based on early reviews it seems the big name supporting players, especially Sam Rockwell, stole the show, and even if they hadn't, the Academy seems to have a strict policy against youngsters in Best Actor.
  6. Tom Sturridge (Effie)
      He has been around for a while and proved his worth more than once, so if the role works, he will receive acclaim, question is will that be enough for mainstream recognition ?
  7. Steve Coogan (What Maisie Knew OR The Look of Love OR Philomena)
      He seems to be heading for a great year, I think his best shot is Philomena but I also believe he will be campaigned in supporting for that one.
  8. Ryan Gosling (Only God Forgives OR The Place Beyond The Pines OR Untitled Malick)
      In 2013 he will be reunited with his Drive AND Blue Valantine directors, so it's safe to assume he will have a VERY acclaimed 2013 and after the Academy ignored his stunning performances in the two films mentioned above, they might just go for him this time.
  9. Daniel Radcliffe (Kill your darlings)
      It's unclear whether he can pass for lead, but playing Allen Ginsberg in a critically acclaimed indie film does sound rather 'Oscary', so with the right push, he could be looking at his first Oscar nomination.
  10. Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now)
      He was, well, spectacular in Rabbit Hole so I was pleased to see him score another excellent role, and if the film's tiny distributor (A24) can provide a great campaign, he might get close, but even if he does, he will still face the Academy's youth-discrimination in Best Actor.
  11. Paul Rudd OR Emile Hirsch (Prince Avalanche)
      Sounds quirky enough and Berlin-reviews were very favorable, but it doesn't feel like this is a film the Academy would embrace...although clearly not impossible, either.
  12. Kyle Catlett (The Young and Prodigious Spivet)
      Once again, child performances have a tough time in this category, but if Jeunet delivers a masterpiece, Catlett might become a stronger contender than expected.


  1. Jeremy Renner (Lowlife)
      He has probably one of the most impressive post-Oscar career at the moment and there is no reason to expect him to stop any time soon, so if the material is great, he will be, as well.
  2. Jude Law (Dom Hemingway OR Side Effects)
      After losing his mojo a few years ago, he successfully got it back with the smash franchise Sherlock Holmes, a critically acclaimed part in Anna Karenina and two well-received Soderbergh films (Contagion, Side Effects), so a third Oscar nomination can't be far away. Could it be for playing notorious safe-cracker Dom Hemingway who after spending 12 years in prison for keeping his mouth shut, is back on the streets of London looking to collect what he's owed ?
  3. Liam Neeson (The Third Person)
      Not much is known about this film, but the VERY vague synopsis suggests that it could be a great acting showcase for the talented cast.
  4. Adrien Brody (The Third Person)
  5. James Franco (The Third Person OR Oz, the Great & Powerful)
      Ditto (plus they rarely go for big tentpole performances unless you play a drunk pirate.)
  6. Matt Damon (Elysium)
      Nominating him for a sci-fi would be very surprising from the Academy, but if the role is right, it could be nonetheless a GREAT decision.
  7. Jake Gyllenhaal (Prisoners)
      The role reminds me of Kevin Bacons' in Mystic River and though expertly executed, in the end 'the detective' was overshadowed by 'the father with a vengeance'. Also, if Jackman goes lead, they could easily place Gyllenhaal in supporting.
  8. Ben Affleck (Runner Runner)
      After his most succesful film to date (Argo), he might have reached Clooney-territory when they will nominate him every time they can.
  9. Domhnall Gleeson (About Time)
      After an excellent supporting turn in Anna Karenina, he is suddenly a leading man in this, and if his previous performance is any indication, he will nail it.
  10. Philip Seymour Hoffman (A Most Wanted Man)
      One of the best working actors today, Hoffman is always an instant contender, what I honestly don't know whether he will be placed in lead or supporting for this.
  11. Jesse Eisenberg (Night moves)
      IF the film doesn't end up obscure and little seen...
  12. Peter Saarsgard (Night moves)
  13. Antonio Banderas (Los amanted pasajeros)
      Foreign language performances always have a tough time piquing the Academy's interest but one in a comedy, sounds like an impossible mission already.
  14. Robert De Niro (Malavita)
      Robert De Niro playing the patriach of a mafia clan ? I've just realized he should be MUCH higher on the list, but then again, Luc Besson has a tendency to make simple popcorn films and if that will be the case here, the role might not be substantial enough for widespread acclaim.
  15. Brad Pitt (World War Z)
      Obviously this kind of performance has never been the Academy's thing, but if it is a well-received BO hit, it could still help him in supporting for either Twelve years a slave OR The Counselor.


  1. Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
      A lead role in a Wes Anderson film is automatically considered one to look forward to, but one played by the criminally underrated Ralph Fiennes, basically guarantees something truly special.
  2. Russel Crowe (Noah)
      If they move up the film that will mean test screenings were very succesful and if that happens, Crowe could be not only a nominee but the winner of this category.

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