Welcome to this year's most boring category. There are four actors who are pretty much locked up for nominations, and there is no way you could come up a more unexciting list. Alan Arkin is very good with one-liners and shows it in Argo, but I find it hardly an awards-worthy performance. Similarly, Robert De Niro has been in such a terrible place in his career for the past few years, he is poised to be nominated for basically not sucking in Silver Linings Playbook. Tommy Lee Jones is also a lock for his emotional performance in Lincoln, while Philip Seymour Hoffman, despite pretty much being a lead, will also be nominated for The Master.
And even if some of these performances are very good, tell me if that isn't the most boring list of names you've ever heard. They aren't just all previous Oscar winners, they also feel like very obvious choices from the Academy's part. All of this becomes all the more tragic when you consider how many amazing performances are fighting for the fifth spot in this category.
We have Matthew McConaughey, whom I really don't like in anything, giving the performance of his career with his delightfully trashy turn in Magic Mike. Even if I'm not a fan of his performance, Javier Bardem's performance in Skyfall also looks like something a little more lively than that list. And if we start looking into more unlikely contenders, we could really have a tremendous category: Dwight Henry (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Ezra Miller (Perks of Being a Wallflower), Michael Fassbender (Prometheus), Jude Law (Anna Karenina), Christopher Walken (Seven Psycopaths) and Garret Hedlund (On the Road) would all be welcome in my book.
The person most likely to earn that fifth spot seems to be Leonardo DiCaprio, for playing the villainous Calvin Candie in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained. I too think he could get the nomination, but there seems to be little consensus that Leo is the best performance in that movie: co-stars Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson have also gotten raves for their roles. With little consensus, all three might end up snubbed. I'm going with a bold prediction, this probably won't come true, but it would be nice to see McCounaghey earn a nomination for this performance.
Who Should Be Nominated? Michael Fassbender (Prometheus), Garrett Headlund (On the Road), Dwight Henry (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Samuel L. Jackson (Django Unchained), Jude Law (Anna Karenina)