This is quite possibly the most wide-open category of the night. This award could go to any of the five nominees, and none of them would be entirely undeserving. All of them have won before, which means that there’s no clear favorite. So, let’s have a look, then! Shall we?
Our first nominee is Alan Arkin for Argo. It’s ironic that he had such little screen time in his winning role in Little Miss Sunshine, because he has about as much in this movie. I imagine that he only won because the academy felt that it could be his last time. I think this nomination is really just awarding the movie more than they are Arkin. He’s a relatively respected actor in Hollywood, but I think that he’s the least likely to win. But hey, if he loses, he already knows what he’s going to say.
The next nominee is Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook. De Niro has won twice: for The Godfather Part II and Raging Bull. I’m surprised to find out that a lot of people think that De Niro is the frontrunner for the award, seeing as how he’s had the longest amount of time since his last win. He’s good, but not Oscar good. I think that the academy feels that he’s already had his due and will give it to someone who has only won once.
Someone like Phillip Seymour Hoffman for The Master. Hoffman’s win came from Capote, and his portrayal of Lancaster Dodd has won the Critic’s Choice award, and rightfully so. It is by far my favorite to win, somehow managing to be both scary and welcoming at the same time. You could make the argument that, because the film is not a best picture nominee, it doesn’t stand a chance. But I trust Hoffman to pull of a win here, because when a category shows no clear frontrunner, you may as well vote for the one you like the best.
Not to be forgotten is Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln. Jones earned his Oscar for The Fugitive, and he could pull out a win here considering he already has a Screen Actors Guild award. However, he and Sally Field are both pushed aside for Day Lewis, who soaks up most of the attention. Jones doesn’t even really give you something to admire, as he doesn’t really step outside his comfort zone and is the same here as he is in every other movie he’s in. Don’t completely rule him out, though.
And last but not least is Christolph Waltz for Django Unchained. True, Waltz earned his Oscar three years ago for playing a similar role in Inglorious Bastards, but he surprisingly earned both a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for his performance. However, people are rather split on the film, with many saying they would rather see Leonardo DiCaprio or Samuel L. Jackson receiving a nomination. But is his performance any good? I guess you’ll just have to wait until tomorrow to find out…
Will Win: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Runner’s Up: Christolph Waltz, Django Unchained
Should Win: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master