As soon as the Academy Award nominations were announced, one trophy's winner was a given. When it comes to this year's Best Actor category... there is that man who was Lincoln, and then there is everyone else.
As soon as we saw the first Lincoln trailer, we were completely overtaken by the power of Daniel Day Lewis and his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln. Then, we saw the film and a thought came over Movie Fanatic: It doesn't matter who else gets nominated, just give the Oscar to Lewis! Award show voters have wholeheartedly agreed as the actor has taken every trophy since award season started. Lewis' take on the 16th president is nothing short of a miracle. The way he captures the passionate individual who sought to change the lives of millions of people by freeing the slaves, as well as the family man dealing with familial drama, is the stuff of legend.
There are four other actors in this category and if one of them wins, it will be considered the biggest upset in Oscar history. The man with the biggest chance has to be Hugh Jackman. His role in Les Miserables got him the Golden Globe for Best Actor, Comedy or Musical. As we stated in our Les Miserables review, Jackman is one of the highlights of the stage-to-screen effort. His singing was impeccable and his acting was off the charts of excellence. Although the chance he wins is slight, if anyone gives Lewis a run for his money, it will be Jackman.
Joaquin Phoenix may not have been the titular man of The Master, but he was the master of Paul Thomas Anderson's film. Simply watching The Master trailer and it is easy to see why Phoenix earned his latest Oscar nomination. Although he will almost assuredly not win, one thing is for sure: Phoenix will wear the title of Oscar winner before he is finished.
Bradley Cooper gets the "just glad to be nominated" award in this category. The man who once toiled as Jennifer Garner's roommate in J.J. Abrams' Alias, has come a long way. He commanded every scene in Silver Linings Playbook and even went toe-to-toe with icon Robert De Niro, who played his father. As shown in the Silver Linings Playbook trailer, Cooper is a man who suffered a breakdown, but is out of the hospital and trying to make the most of his life. It is an impassioned performance and should announce Cooper as much more than a pretty face.
If there was an actor that we wish could take home the trophy this year, but won't, it's Denzel Washington for his uncanny work in Flight. He simply astounds as an alcoholic, drug-addled pilot who manages to land a crashing plane while high out of his mind. Washington has never played a character like this and his talents for portraying complexities is a miracle. But alas, he is deep down on the "could they win" list for Oscars 2013. Want more on Washington in this role... get teased by this thrilling Flight trailer.